Behind double-double from sophomores Terran Petteway and Walter Pitchford, Nebraska nearly cut a 20-point second-half deficit to five before falling to No. 22 Iowa, 67-57, Tuesday evening.
Nebraska trailed 55-35 with 8:16 left, only to go on a 20-5 spurt behind the play of Petteway and junior Deverell Biggs, pulling within 60-55 after a Petteway 3-pointer with 1:45 left. The Huskers trailed 61-55 and had the ball with under a minute left, but a costly turnover ended the run, as Iowa 6-of-8 foul shots in the final 47 seconds to hold on for the win.
Nebraska (8-5, 0-1 Big Ten) shot just 30 percent from the field, but stood tall against the Big Ten’s best rebounding team. The Huskers out-rebounded the Hawkeyes, 44-42, behind career highs from both Petteway and Pitchford. Petteway led Nebraska was a game-high 20 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, while Pitchford posted his second double-double in the losing effort with 13 points and a season-high 12 rebounds.
Roy Devyn Marble led Iowa (12-2, 1-0 Big Ten) with 13 points, while Aaron White had 13 points, including nine in a 16-3 Hawkeye run to close the first half and seven rebounds.
In the first half, the Hawkeyes took control over the final minutes, overcoming a six-point deficit with a 16-3 spurt over the final eight minutes. The Huskers did a good job defensively, holding Iowa to 46.2 percent shooting and out-rebounded the Hawkeyes, 27-21 in the first half. The Huskers struggled from the floor, hitting just 26 percent from the field, including 2-of-9 from 3-point range.
Nebraska led 7-6 early behind strong play from Petteway and Pitchford, but Iowa went on a 7-0 run to take a 13-7 lead on a Marble basket off a putback.
Nebraska fought back, using a 13-1 surge to take its largest lead of the half at 20-14 on a Biggs jumper with 9:03 left in the half. Biggs came off the bench for a pair of baskets in the spurt, which featured 11 straight points from the Huskers over a span of 4:21, and finished with 12 points and a pair of steals.
The Huskers pulled to within 32-27 after a Pitchford puback, but Iowa made an effort to get the ball inside and two straight Adam Woodbury baskets pushed the lead back to 10 at 37-27 and forced a Husker timeout. Woodbury had six of Iowa’s first seven points of the second half and finished with eight points.
Nebraska kept battling, getting to within 46-35 after a pair of Pitchford free throws, but Iowa took control, running off nine straight points capped by a steal and dunk by White to make it 55-35.
The Huskers made one last run behind the play of Biggs, who had seven points in a 13-4 run to pull Nebraska within 59-48. The Huskers took advantage of a poor foul shooting night by Iowa, as the Hawkeyes went just 22-of-39 from the stripe to get back into the game. Trailing 60-48, Petteway keyed a run of seven straight points with a conventional 3-point play before his 3-pointer from the top of the key cut the Iowa lead to five.
The Huskers return to action on Saturday, when they face No. 3 Ohio State. Tipoff is set for 11 a.m. (CT) and the game will be on the Husker Sports Network and televised nationally by the Big Ten Network.