Evanston, Ill. – Walter Pitchford and Terran Petteway combined 25 second-half points, as Nebraska overcame a six-point halftime deficit to knock off Northwestern, 53-49, Saturday afternoon at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Petteway led all scorers with 17 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out a season-high four assists, while Pitchford scored 13 of his career high 15 points in the second half, as Nebraska improved to 12-10 on the season and picked up its first road win of the season.
Nebraska, which shot 25 percent in the first half, shot a blistering 56 percent in the second half, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range, while holding the Wildcats (12-12, 5-6 B1G) to just 37 percent on the day.
Trailing 22-16 at the break, Nebraska opened the second half on a 14-5 spurt, as Pitchford scored eight points to help the Huskers build a 30-27 lead.
The Huskers (12-10, 4-6 B1G) took control later in the half, as Shields and Benny Parker combined for eight straight Husker points to take a 40-32 lead with 8:28 left. The Wildcats trailed 44-36, made one last run as two straight Drew Crawford 3-pointers and a basket from Tre Demps tied the score at 44 with 3:52 left.
On Northwestern’s next possession, Pitchford was fouled on a defensive rebound, and the sophomore made two straight free throws to put the Huskers up 46-44 with 3:10 left. On the Huskers’ next possession after a Wildcat miss, Pitchford came up clutch, as Petteway found the 6-foot-10 forward for a 3-pointer to give Nebraska a five-point lead.
The Wildcats pulled to within 49-46 on a pair of JerShon Cobb free throws with 1:53 left before Petteway delivered the dagger, a long 3-pointer from the wing as the shot clock expired to put the Huskers up 52-46, and helping to snap the Wildcats’ 2-game win streak.
Cobb led Northwestern with 14 points and four assists while Drew Crawford was held to 13 points on 4-of-13 shooting.
The first half featured strong defense by both teams, as neither team shot above 40 percent in a half that was within one possession for most of the 20 minutes. Nebraska was held to just 25 percent shooting in the first half, including 2-of-11 from long distance, while Northwestern shot just 38 percent in the half.
Early on, it was Ray Gallegos keying an early run, as the senior scored five straight points to give Nebraska an 8-6 lead after his steal and layup. Northwestern came back with a 10-2 run of its own keyed by 3-pointers from Cobb and Alex Olah, as the Huskers went nearly six minutes between field goals. Nebraska pulled to within 3 points on two occasions, the last being at 19-16 after a pair of Petteway free throws, but Demps’ 3-pointer with 33.2 seconds left in the half – his first points of the game – gave the Wildcats a six-point halftime lead.
The Huskers return home Wednesday night to take on Illinois at 8 p.m. The game will be televised on BTN and on the Husker Sports Radio Network. A limited number of tickets are available on Huskers.com or calling 800-8-BIGRED during business hours.
*-The 49 points allowed by Nebraska tied for its second-best defensive performance of the season (47 vs. Western Illinois)
*-Nebraska picks up its first road win and snapped a 12-game road losing streak dating back to last season.
*-Walter Pitchford finished with a career-high 15 points, topping his previous best of 14 against Western Illinois. Pitchford has now been in double figures in each of the last four contests.
*-Today marked the first time this season when Nebraska trailed at the half.
*-Terran Petteway led Nebraska in scoring (17), rebounds (eight) and assists (four), as his four assists ties his season and career high.