The Nebraska men’s basketball team continued its late-season surge with a 76-57 rout over Purdue Sunday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The Huskers (16-10, 8-6 B1G) have won five straight conference games for the first time since 1999 and improved to a Big Ten-best 13-1 at Pinnacle Bank Arena this season.
Nebraska, which has held its last five foes under 40 percent shooting, held the Boilermakers to just 30.2 percent shooting, including 3-of-16 from 3-point range. The Huskers, who have won seven of their last eight games, used stifling defensive pressure with a 10 steals, including three each from Benny Parker and Shavon Shields. NU forced 14 Purdue turnover which led to a commanding 19-0 advantage in points off turnovers.
Sophomore All-Big Ten candidate Terran Petteway continued his stellar play, leading the Huskers with a game-high 29 points on 10-of-19 shooting, including a perfect 8-for-8 from the charity stripe. It was the 10th time Petteway scored at least 20 points in a game this season, and he is averaging 26 points per game over the last three contests.
Petteway was one of three Huskers in double figures, as sophomore Shavon Shields chipped in 18 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season, while Walter Pitchford added 10 points and five rebounds.
The Huskers’ recent success has been keyed by the defense, as Sunday marked the sixth time in the last seven games that Coach Miles and his team have held opponents to under 60 points.
After a sluggish offensive start for both teams, the Huskers were able to find their rhythm, taking a 34-25 lead into the half. After starting the game by missing nine of their first 10 shots, Nebraska shot 11-for-19 the rest of the half.
Nebraska took control in the final eight minutes of the half, using a 7-0 run capped by a Petteway fast break layup to take a 21-14 lead and stretched that advantage to 30-20 on Shields’ three-point play with 1:04 left in the first half. Purdue cut the lead to six, but David Rivers closed the half with three points, including a tip in off his own free throw attempt to beat the first half buzzer.
The Huskers were on point defensively, holding Purdue to just 6-of-27 shooting from the field and 1-of-9 from three-point range in the opening half. Only a perfect 12-of-12 shooting from the Boilermakers from the line in the opening 20 minutes allowed the visitors to stay within striking distance.
Nebraska too over early in the second half, as Shields’ 3-pointer started a 10-1 run, extending the margin to 19 points after a Petteway 3-point play with 11:23 left. In the second half, the Huskers eventually pushed the margin to 27 points, at 67-40 with 7:37 left before cruising in the final minutes.
NU will be back on the court Wednesday night as the Huskers travel to the Champaign to take on the Fighting Illini at 8 p.m. The two teams battled earlier this year, resulting in a 67-58 Huskers win at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Feb. 12. The game will be televised by BTN and carried on the Husker Sports Radio Network.