Nebraska

Nebrasketball Loses Big to Illinois

The Illini closed off the perimeter, allowing just seven three-point attempts from Nebraska and preventing the Huskers from establishing the post. Illinois big men Dain Dainja and Matthew Mayer smothered the Big Red on the inside, combining three blocks in half.

Another key to the struggles of the Nebraska offensive was the absence of Derrick Walker. Walker picked up two fouls midway through the first, forcing him to play just six minutes. Sam Griesel kept the Huskers afloat during Walker’s absence. Griesel had nine points and two assists by the end of the half.

After the game, coach Fred Hoiberg said Illinois played a great defense. “Believe them, they got us out,” Hoiberg said. “They took away our shooters and played derrick and we couldn’t get anything going.”

Illinois’ offense wasn’t much stronger. The Illini shot 33 percent from the floor and a miserable 4-16 from 3 in the half. But Illinois found much offense in the charity flick.

In the first half, 24 fouls were called, distributed evenly between both sides. Illinois went 10 of 16 off the line and Nebraska went 3 of 7.

While NU couldn’t get into a rhythm on offense, in part due to the stop-and-go nature of the half, the Huskers finished the half within striking distance, 34-23.

Nebraska came out of the dressing room on a 6-0 run to cut the lead to five, but the Illini dominated from there. Illinois went on a 21-6 run to take a 55-35 lead with 10 minutes left. During that run, Illinois went off the field on 9 of 12.

The Huskers cut the lead to 11 after an 11-2 run in which substitute Wilhelm Breidenbach scored all the points. NU flirted with a comeback for the remainder of the second half but never reduced Illini’s lead to single digits.

Illinois didn’t stop putting down shots in the second half. The Illini shot 58 percent from the field in the second half and pulled away at the very end, exiting Pinnacle Bank Arena with a 26-point road victory

Terrance Shannon Jr. was the player of the match. Shannon had 25 points and 14 rebounds for the Illini on 10-of-17 shooting. Dain Dainja had a masterful play on defense, totaling three blocks and limiting Walker to five points.

Griesel led the Huskers with 12 points, along with six rebounds and two assists.

Nebraska advanced to 9-8 in the year and 2-4 in the Big Ten. The Huskers’ next game is against national No. 3 Purdue.

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