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Nebraska 88, Purdue 72

Nebraska 88, Purdue 72

ASSOCIATED PRESS

LINCOLN, Neb. - Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg had a single word to describe the Huskers biggest win in 40 years, the Huskers 88-72 upset of No. 1 Purdue.

Hoiberg called it “incredible.”

“I’m just so proud of the guys for coming out and getting off to a really good start,” he said. “This is a huge win for our program, to come out here and knock off what I think is the best team in the country. It shows us what we’re capable of doing.”

Nebraska (13-3, 3-2 Big Ten) last defeated a No. 1 team 41 years ago, when it beat top-ranked Missouri 67-51. The Huskers last win over a No. 1 in Lincoln was a 74-73 victory over Michigan in 1962.

The Huskers got the win, Hoiberg said, with the fast start fueled by forward Rienk Mast, who scored Nebraska’s first seven points and led the defense that locked down Purdue’s Zach Edey, who had just two points in the first half.

“It doesn’t get much bigger than this one, the No. 1 team, the reigning National Player of the Year,” Mast said. “I just see that as a challenge and luckily, the shots were going in in the beginning and gave the team a little spark and everybody started believing.”

Nebraska built an 11-point halftime lead by holding Purdue scoreless for the final 3 1/2 minutes of the first half, scoring 13 unanswered in a run that began with a pair of 3-pointers by Keisei Tominaga and ended with seven straight from Sam Hoiberg, the coach’s son.

“That was the difference in the game,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said of the Nebraska halftime lead. “We had a couple good fights there in the second half to where pulled within single digits and one time we got it to two, then they pushed it right back to double digits.”

Purdue hit its first four 3-pointers of the second half as it sliced the Nebraska lead to 51-50 on Braden Smith’s free throws with 13:51 left. But the Huskers countered with a 14-2 run to go up by 13 on C.J. Wilcher’s 3-pointer with 11:52 remaining.

The Boilermakers surged again, cutting the Nebraska lead to 68-62 on Lance Jones’ driving layup with 9:09 left. The Huskers responded with a 3-pointer by Wilcher that started a 20-10 game ending run.

Nebraska fans stormed the floor at the buzzer, Hoiberg got doused with water both on the court and off, and the Huskers relished the rare win over the top ranked team.

“It was huge, man, a great thing to see,” Wilcher said. “To be a part of this game, just see the growth of our program, to be a part of this is a great experience. It’s kind of like full circle from where we came from my first year. It was great. It was dope. I’ve never experienced that kind of game.”

BIG PICTURE

Purdue: The Boilermakers continued a long-running pattern Tuesday by losing when they have more than 12 turnovers. Purdue turned it over 14 times against the Huskers.

Nebraska: The Huskers are now 24-4 when scoring more than 80 points under coach Fred Hoiberg. Nebraska is 19-6 over its last 25 games dating to Feb. 1, 202


January 9, 2024





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