Huskers give up 95 points in blowout loss to Penn State

By  | 

The Nebraska men’s basketball team posted its highest point total in more than a month Tuesday night, but the Huskers ran into a hot-shooting Penn State squad in a 95-71 loss at the Bryce Jordan Center.

James Palmer Jr. led Nebraska with 24 points – including 15 in the second half – as the Huskers topped the 70-point mark for the first time since a 70-64 win over the same Penn State squad on Jan. 10. Isaiah Roby had one of the most efficient nights of his career, scoring 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting, and Thomas Allen added 11 points for Nebraska (15-12 overall, 5-11 Big Ten).

Nebraska shot 47.5 percent from the field and was 6-of-18 from the 3-point line, including 6-of-12 in the second half. But Penn State hit 56 percent of its shot, the best shooting night by a Husker opponent in 61 games. The Nittany Lions set season highs in points (95), field goals (35) and shooting percentage (55.6), all of which were the most Nebraska has allowed this season.

Lamar Stevens scored a game-high 29 points for the Nittany Lions (10-16, 3-12 Big Ten) and Rasir Bolton added 21. Josh Reaves and Mike Watkins chipped in 10 points apiece.

Nebraska trailed by 19 at the half, its largest halftime deficit of the season. The Huskers allowed 44 points to a hot-shooting Penn State team, tying for the most points NU has allowed in a first half this season. Penn State hit six 3-pointers and shot 50 percent in the half, while the Huskers were 0-of-6 from the 3-point line and shot just 40 percent. Nebraska also committed seven turnovers and allowed eight offensive rebounds, as the Nittany Lions scored 14 points off turnovers and added 13 second-chance points.

Each of Penn State’s first six shots were 3-pointers. The Nittany Lions missed their first four attempts, but made six of their final nine 3-pointers of the half. Lamar Stevens hit two 3-pointers and scored eight points during a 10-0 Penn State run that turned a one-point deficit into a 13-4 lead four minutes into the game. Nebraska pulled to within five at 17-12 before going nearly five minutes without a point. Penn State took advantage with a 7-0 run that stretched the lead to 12. A 6-0 spurt four minutes later put the Nittany Lions on top 35-18, and Penn State scored the final four points of the half to take a 44-25 lead into the locker room.

Nebraska came out strong in the second half, scoring the first five points of the period. But Penn State settled back in, using a 7-0 run to build a 57-35 lead, marking the Huskers’ first deficit of more than 20 points this season. The Nittany Lions stretched the lead to 25 six minutes into the half. Allen scored five straight points to cut the lead back to 20 with 12:09 to play, but Nebraska was never able to get closer than that. Penn State made eight consecutive shots over the next seven minutes to build an 83-55 advantage with less than six minutes remaining. The Nittany Lions built their largest lead of 29 with 2:04 to play following their 11th 3-pointer of the night. Nebraska scored seven of the game’s final nine points, with all seven points coming from the Husker bench.

The Huskers shot 55.2 percent in the second half, but Penn State was 18-of-29 from the field (62.1 percent) in the final 20 minutes, including 5-of-7 from the 3-point line and 10-of-11 at the free-throw line.

Nebraska returns home this weekend, when the Huskers host No. 15 Purdue Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m., and the game will be televised by the Big Ten Network, which the Husker Sports Network providing live radio coverage.