Isaiah Roby added 16 rebounds and five blocks to his game-high 19 points, and Nebraska (15-11, 5-10) throttled Northwestern (12-13, 3-11) down the stretch defensively to push the Wildcats under .500 for the first time all season.
Vic Law had 15, and Dererk Pardon recorded a double-double, but Northwestern struggled to score all game and couldn’t handle a late defensive switch from the Cornhuskers.
The first half continued a negative trend for the Wildcats, who have combined to score 45 points in the first 20 minutes of this week’s pair of games. Law led all scorers with ten, but every other Wildcats combined to shoot just 6-23 from the field.
Despite holding the Huskers without points for a 4+ minute stretch late in the half, Northwestern trailed 28-23 at the break.
To start the second half, the Wildcats looked like a different team. Thanks to threes from Pardon and Anthony Gaines, plus an old-fashioned three point play from Law, Northwestern took a one point lead, their first since the beginning of the first half, with 13 minutes to go.
But Nebraska responded. An Isaiah Roby three begat a layup from Tanner Borchardt, and the Huskers had reclaimed a five point lead. Both teams cooled off from there, taking things into the under-8 timeout with the Wildcats trailing by three. By that point, though, Roby had begun to own the second half.
Out of the timeout, Nebraska brought a 1-3-1 zone. Northwestern couldn’t handle it. The Wildcats failed to score across the ensuing 3:45, allowing Nebraska to go on a 9-0 run that effectively iced things.
AJ Turner finally broke the drought with a jumper, and some late scoring pushed the Wildcats across the fifty point plateau. But make no mistake, this was another ugly offensive performance for a struggling team.
Northwestern actually won the rebounding battle 42-41, but were ice-cold from three (5-25), and never put more than a couple of successful offensive possessions together.
Gaines scored ten to go along with seven rebounds, and Pardon put up 13 and 12. But every player shot fifty percent or below from the floor, and the Wildcats added 15 turnovers for good measure.
James Palmer Jr. chipped in 13 and six assists for Nebraska.
Northwestern will nest look to end their losing streak on Wednesday night against Ohio State in Columbus.