Nebraska overcomes 18-point deficit in second half to upset No. 6 Wisconsin 80-72 in overtime
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska came back from an 18-point second-half deficit to knock off No. 6 Wisconsin 80-72 in overtime on Thursday night, the second top-10 opponent the Cornhuskers have beaten this season.
Rienk Mast scored early in overtime to give the Huskers the lead for good, and when time expired the students spilled onto the court for the second time this season. The first was Jan. 9 when the Huskers beat then-No. 1 Purdue 88-72.
C.J. Wilcher scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half, Mast finished with 20, and the Huskers (16-6, 6-5) improved to 6-0 at home in Big Ten play.
It was Nebraska’s biggest comeback since erasing a 19-point deficit against Iowa in 2013. Since 2000, Wisconsin had been 120-0 when leading by 15 or more points at halftime.
AJ Storr matched his season high with 28 points to lead the Badgers (16-5, 9-2). Max Klesmit and Chucky Hepburn had 13 apiece.
The Cornhuskers were down as many as 19 in the first half but were able to come back as Wisconsin, which shot 55% in the first half, dipped to 36% in the second and got sloppy with the ball.
Brice Williams' two free throws in the final minute of regulation gave Nebraska its first lead at 67-65. Storr's layup tied it and Mast and Williams missed two shots in the last 20 seconds.
Nebraska capitalized on a run of eight Wisconsin turnovers over eight minutes in the second half to tie it at 52. The Badgers were ahead 63-56 after Klesmit scored 11 points over two minutes.
But Nebraska came back again, got the game to overtime and posted one of its biggest comebacks in program history.
Wisconsin: The Badgers had as many turnovers (9) as field goals (9) in the last 20 minutes of regulation.
Nebraska: The Huskers posted their second win over a top-10 opponent in the same season for the first time since 2013-14.
Wisconsin: Hosts No. 2 Purdue on Sunday.
Nebraska: Visits No. 14 Illinois on Sunday.
HUSKERS POUND PAST PURDUE
By: NU Athletic Communications
Lincoln - Alexis Markowski and Darian White each scored 14 points to lead a balanced offense with five Huskers in double figures, as Nebraska worked its way to a 68-54 women's basketball win over Purdue on Wednesday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Natalie Potts added 11 points, six rebounds and a game-high four steals, while Kendall Moriarty matched her career high with 11 points off the bench. Jaz Shelley rounded out the five Huskers in double figures with 10 points, a game-high nine rebounds and four assists to help Nebraska improve to 6-4 in the Big Ten and 14-7 overall. Purdue slipped to 2-8 in the conference and 9-12 on the season.
Markowski, who added seven rebounds and three assists on the night, pushed Nebraska out to a 19-17 lead with 10 first-quarter points to set the tone for the Big Red. She also started the second quarter strong with back-to-back buckets before a spectacular kickout pass to Shelley for a three-pointer in transition, followed by another assist to Potts to help the Huskers take a 10-point lead midway through the second period.
Markowski finished the first half with all 14 of her points on the night, and actually had a hand in 19 of Nebraska's 25 points to close the first quarter and start the second.
Purdue rallied late with seven straight points from Abbey Ellis to end the half and cut Nebraska's lead to 32-29 at the break. Ellis finished with a game-high 15 points to go with six rebounds for Purdue.
After Purdue shifted its focus on shutting down Markowski, White emerged in the second half to score 13 of her 14 points on the night from her guard position. Moriarty and Potts both contributed seven points after halftime, while Shelley scored five points in each half.
Nebraska, which won each quarter, outscored the Boilermakers 22-14 in the third to push its lead to 54-43 heading to the final period. The Huskers then opened the fourth by punishing Purdue on the offensive glass, including a second-chance three-pointer from Shelley and a second-chance jumper by Potts on back-to-back possessions to give Nebraska its biggest lead at 61-45 and force a Purdue timeout with 7:36 left.
The Nebraska defense was solid throughout the night, holding Purdue to 29 points in the first half and just 25 in the second half. The Huskers were plus-13 on the glass in the final 20 minutes, finishing the game with a 44-32 edge on the boards.
For the game, Nebraska hit 42.4 percent (25-59) of its shots, including 7-of-22 three-pointers (.318) and 11-of-17 free throws (.647). The Huskers held Purdue to just 36.1 percent (22-61) from the floor, including 4-for-21 (.190) from long range and 6-of-8 free throws. Purdue did win the turnover battle, 13-12.
Caitlyn Harper, who finished with 10 points, was the only Boilermaker other than Ellis to manage double figures.
Nebraska will take aim at another Big Ten Conference home win on Saturday when the Huskers play host to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Tip-off between the Big Red and Rutgers is set for 2 p.m. (CT) with tickets on sale now at Huskers.com. The game also will be televised statewide by Nebraska Public Media with a live video stream for subscribers of B1G+. The game will be available across the Huskers Radio Network, including free live audio on Huskers.com and the Huskers App.