West Lafayette, Ind. – A six-minute dryspell without a field goal late in the second half proved costly, as Nebraska fell at Purdue, 70-64, at Mackey Arena Sunday afternoon.
The Huskers, who were down by six in the second half, used a 16-7 surge to fight back and take a 58-55 lead with 6:43 remaining after Terran Petteway split a pair of free throws, but could not hold off Purdue down the stretch.
Ronnie Johnson, who had 14 points took over, scoring five points in 9-0 run to give Purdue (11-5, 1-2 B1G) the lead for good. The guard hit a floater and then two free throws to put Purdue up 59-58 before baskets by Sterling Carter and A.J Hammons and another Johnson free throw put the Huskers in a 64-58 hole with 1:04 left.
Petteway ended the spell with a basket with 43 seconds left, but were unable to cut into the deficit as Purdue hit 6-of-8 from the line in the last minute to hold on. Petteway led three Huskers in double figures with 19 points and a game-high nine rebounds, while Ray Gallegos and Deverell Biggs added 10 points apiece in the loss.
Hammons led Purdue with 18 points as Purdue shot 46 percent, while holding the Huskers to 41.4 percent.
Nebraska trailed 48-42 with 13:14 left before the Huskers made a run, keyed by Leslee Smith and Biggs off the bench. Baskets by Smith and Biggs pulled the Huskers within two before a 3-point play from Petteway on NU’s next possession cut the lead to 50-49. Biggs then had a steal and hit two free throws to give the Huskers a 51-50 lead and cap a 9-2 run.
The teams would trade baskets until Tai Webster’s steal and layup made it 57-55 before Petteway’s free throw with 6:43 left gave the Huskers their largest lead of the half.
In the first half, Nebraska led 9-6 after a Gallegos jumper and were up 14-13 after a Gallegos 3 with 11:29 left in the half, but a Travis Carroll basket after a scramble and a 3-pointer from Kendall Stephens gave Purdue a 18-14 lead.
The Huskers trailed 20-15 before Webster found Smith for a dunk to start a 6-2 spurt to pull within 22-21 after a Smith layup. The Huskers, who held Purdue to 38 percent shooting in the first half, were within striking distance, cutting a five-point lead to 35-32 at the break after a Gallegos basket.
The Huskers return to action next Monday, Jan. 20, when they host No. 3 Ohio State at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. and there are a limited number of tickets remaining at Huskers.com or by calling 800-8-BIGRED.