Lincoln – Shavon Shields had 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Nebraska defense turned in another stellar effort, as the Huskers topped Northwestern, 54-47 Saturday afternoon.
Shields led three Huskers in double figures with 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor to pace three Huskers in double figures. The sophomore, who recorded his second double of the season, had 13 if his points in the second half, as Nebraska built an 11-point lead and held on in the final minutes.
Shields scored five of his points in a 13-5 surge after Northwestern pulled to within 36-33, as the Huskers (17-11, 9-7 B1G) built an 11-point lead after Shields’ 3-point play with 3:46 left.
Northwestern (12-17, 5-11) made one last charge behind Alex Olah, who scored a game-high 20 points in the loss. The 7-footer scored six straight points to make it 49-44 with 2:03 left before Shields stemmed the tide with a jumper to push the lead back to seven.
After Drew Crawford’s 3-pointer and a Husker turnover, Nebraska held a slim 51-47 lead before Benny Parker made the defensive play of the game. The 5-foot-9 guard drew a charge against Sanjay Lumpkin with 29 seconds left to give the Huskers’ possession. Shields then split a pair of free throws to push the lead to five before his dunk with five seconds left sealed the season sweep over the Wildcats.
Walter Pitchford and Terran Petteway joined Shields in double figures with 10 points apiece, while Pitchford finished one rebound shy of a double-double. Parker, in addition to his charge, also provided an offensive spark with seven points. Nebraska enjoyed a commanding 40-39 advantage on the glass, its best rebounding margin in Big Ten action.
Nebraska held Northwestern to 33 percent shooting, the seventh straight foe under 40 percent, in picking up nine conference wins for the first time since 1998-99. The Huskers, who are 14-1 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, can finish no worse than sixth in the Big Ten heading into the final weekend.
The Huskers took control early, using a 17-5 spurt to build a nine-point lead after a Shields jumper with 7:25 left in the half. The Wildcats fought right back, using a 6-0 spurt behind Tre Demps and Drew Crawford to cut the lead to 17-14 after Crawford’s jumper with 4:41 left in the half.
Nebraska which shot 37 percent in the half, could never completely seize momentum, building leads of eight and seven points in the final three minutes of the half, but the Wildcats, who had four of their seven field goals from 3-point range in the first half, chipped away as Demps hit a buzzer beater to make it a four-point game at the break.
Drew Crawford finished with 11 points and six rebounds, while Demps added 10 points for Northwestern.
The Huskers head to Indiana Wednesday night in search of their 10th Big Ten win of the season. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. (CT) and the game will be televised on BTN and on the Husker Sports Radio Network.
*-Nebraska Improves to a Big Ten best 14-1 at home, including 7-1 in conference play.
*-The seven game home conference win streak is NU’s longest since an eight-game streak spanning the 1981-82 and 1982-83 season. It is also the 11th time in school history Nebraska has had a seven-game conference home win streak.
*-Nebraska now has seven conference home wins, the most since the 1965-66 team went 7-0 in Big Eight action. It is only the fourth time in school history that Nebraska has won seven or more conference home games in a season (also 1923-24 and 1915-16).
*-Nebraska is now 9-7 in the Big Ten, marking the first time since the 1999-2000 that Nebraska has won at least nine conference games in a season. Nebraska will finish .500 or better in conference play for the first time since 2008-09
*-Nebraska’s crowd of 15,978 is the largest crowd in school history, breaking the 15,949 against Arkansas State on Dec. 14.
*-Shavon Shields had his second double-double of the season and third of his career with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
*-Nebraska held Northwestern to 33.3 percent shooting, the seventh straight opponent under 40 percent. It is the first time NU has seven straight conference foes under 40 percent since at least the 1990-91 season.
*-Nebraska sweeps the regular-season series with Northwestern for the first time since joining the Big Ten.