Nebraska (8-6, 0-1) built a 12-point second half lead over Northwestern Wednesday afternoon in their first Big Ten game of the season, but it wasn’t enough as Northwestern rallied to win 81-72.
“It was just a really disappointing game. I thought our fans were great. It was a good college basketball game for a long time,” said Coach Tim Miles after the game. “Down the stretch I thought we got hesitant after Andrew (White III) went on his little burst and run. It seemed like after that no one wanted to shoot.”
A back and forth game looked to turn in the Huskers’ favor early in the second half. Senior guard Benny Parker hit his fifth three-pointer of the contest, then followed that up with a break-away lay-up to give Nebraska a 12 point edge less than three minutes into the half.
Northwestern used a huge second half effort from freshman forward Dererk Pardon to not only get back into the game, but build a lead. Pardon, who was playing just the second game of his career, scored a game-high 28 points and pulled in 12 rebounds. Seven of those rebounds were offensive, many leading to easy points for Northwestern.
“We went small and I knew that would hurt our rebound a little bit, with Jack (McVeigh) and Nick (Fuller) for a few possessions,” said Miles on the rebounding problems. “We were up nine and I think they scored 34 points on 19 possessions and we didn’t get a stop the last ten possessions until they ran out the clock.”
Benny Parker had a career game for the Huskers, scoring 17 points along with a team-high seven assists and five rebounds. The Huskers were led in scoring by Andrew White III, who poured in 22.
Parker said he felt the tide turned with a lack of intensity after Nebraska built it’s double-digit second half lead. “I think we got kind of comfortable at that point. I think coming out of that time out we would have had a couple of turnovers and they hit a couple of three’s after that,” said Parker. “I wasn’t thinking the game was over but I think some people just got comfortable at that point in time of the game.”
Nebraska returns to action Saturday, hosting Indiana at Pinnacle Bank Arena.