Sophomores Terran Petteway and Walter Pitchford combined for 27 points, while Nebraska turned arguably its best defensive effort of the season in a 60-49 win over Miami in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge Presented by DICKS’s Sporting Goods.
Petteway scored all 14 points in the second half, while Pitchford keyed a decisive second-half run after Miami trimmed a 16-point Nebraska lead to 36-31.
Nebraska, which improved to 6-2 on the season, held the Hurricanes to just 32 percent shooting on the night and forced 13 turnovers against the Hurricanes, who saw their two-game win streak snapped.
Nebraska led 36-20 with 12:05 left before the Hurricanes went on an 11-0 spurt, as a pair of 3-pointers from Rion Brown and 3-pointer from Davon Reed cut the Husker lead to 36-31. Miami had a chance to trim the lead further on its next trip, but Manu Lecomte missed the front end of a 1-and-1, and Nebraska took advantage. On its next possession, Pitchford’s 3-pointer ended a nearly five minute scoreless span for the Big Red. On Miami’s next possession, Pitchford drew a charge and the 6-foot-10 sophomore hit a pair of free throws, pushing the lead to 41-31.
That marked Miami’s best chance to come back, as the Huskers weathered a second half which saw Miami hit 6-of-13 from beyond the arc. Nebraska kept the lead with solid foul shooting, going 15-of-19 in the final 20 minutes to hold Miami at bay.
The first half was a defensive struggle, as Nebraska took a 22-13 lead into the locker room. The Huskers, who never trailed, held Miami to 24 percent shooting and just 1-of-12 from 3-point range in the opening 20 minutes.
Pitchford got the Huskers going early, scoring five early points as Nebraska built a 7-2 lead. Miami fought back, pulling even at 11 with 8:57 left, but the Huskers took control with an 11-2 spurt to close the first half. Nebraska scored five straight points as Tai Webster drove the lane for a basket before the freshmen found Shavon Shields for a 3-pointer on the Huskers’ next possession to give NU a five-point lead. Ray Gallegos then made his biggest contribution of the night, as the senior guard hit two straight 3-pointers to push the margin to nine points at the break.
Miami closed to within 27-20 on a Brown basket with 16:27 left before Petteway keyed a 9-0 Husker spurt. The sophomore scored five straight points, as Nebraska built its largest lead of the night at 36-30 after a Gallegos basket with 12:05 left, bringing the Pinnacle Bank Arena crowd to its feet.
Brown single-handedly kept Miami (5-4) in the game, scoring 23 of his game-high 25 points in the second half.
The Huskers will hit the road on Sunday afternoon, as they travel to Creighton for a 5 p.m. matchup with the Bluejays.