Heading into halftime, the IU men’s basketball team (13-8, 3-5) had a comfortable 32-19 lead over the Nebraska Cornhuskers (11-9, 3-5). Twenty minutes of game time later, the final scoreboard showed something much different.
Nebraska had won, 60-55.
IU’s largest lead of the game came late in the first half, when it led by 16 points against a Nebraska team that has just one loss at home this season.
The Hoosiers struggled mightily in the second half, managing only 23 points in a
frustrating half that saw IU’s turnover issues creep up on them again.
The game was running smoothly for the Hoosiers during the first half. Sophomore guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell and freshman guard Stanford Robinson combined for 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field.
With the Hoosiers in a scoring lull midway through the first half, Ferrell and Robinson hit back-to-back banked 3-point shots. IU went 4-of-9 from beyond the arc, while Nebraska went 2-of-8.
Nebraska’s Terran Petteway, the Big Ten’s second-leading scorer in Big Ten play, was limited to five points on just four shot attempts in the first half.
At halftime, Nebraska Coach Tim Miles took to Twitter to express what he felt his team needed to do to get back into the game.
“They banked in those two threes, and we lost our composure and fractured,” he posted on the social media website. “We have to regroup and bounce back in the first five minutes.”
Nebraska’s players listened to their coach.
After shooting just 34.8 percent from the field in the first half, Nebraska went on a 20-8 scoring run to start the second half.
After scoring just 19 points in the first half, Nebraska scored 17 in the second half’s first four minutes and 11 seconds.
IU’s first defensive stop came five minutes and 28 seconds into the half.
Both teams struggled with turnovers in the first half, yet Nebraska cut down on its giveaways in the second half.
The Cornhuskers turned the ball over three times in the second half, while the Hoosiers committed seven turnovers.
For the game, the Hoosiers turned the ball over 19 times, the team’s second-most in Big Ten play.
As Nebraska and Petteway chipped away at IU’s lead, the Hoosiers were unable to answer.
Though the Hoosiers made one more field goal in the game than the Cornhuskers, Nebraska made more three more 3-pointers and four more free throws than the Hoosiers.
However, the Hoosiers still found themselves in the game towards the end.
Ferrell scored his only second half points off a 3-pointer with less than a minute remaining.
The made field goal cut Nebraska’s lead to 58-55 with 50 seconds
The Cornhuskers missed several free throws in the game’s final minute to give the Hoosiers a chance at redeeming themselves.
Down four, Robinson drove to the lane and was fouled with 29 seconds left in the game.
He missed both free throws.
Freshman forward Noah Vonleh struggled Thursday.
Coming off two straight double-doubles in Big Ten play, Vonleh scored seven points and pulled in just three rebounds.
He had a plus/minus ratio of minus 13 against Nebraska, the lowest of any IU player.
The first half proved the vast potential this Hoosier team has, while the second half showed just how far it has to go.
— John Bauernfeind