Despite Saturday’s tough home loss to Purdue, many Northwestern fans sensed that Tuesday night's bout at Nebraska might be a perfect turning point for the Wildcats, since the Huskers were coming off difficult road losses to Minnesota and Michigan. But instead, it became yet another notch on an eight-game losing streak, as the bottom fell out on the ‘Cats (10-12, 1-8) in a 76-60 loss to Nebraska (13-9, 5-5).
There was no customary drama this time around. A 17-0 extended Nebraska run over seven minutes iced away the game midway through the second half. The Cornhuskers shot 62.8 percent from the field, allowing them to keep the ‘Cats at arm’s length for the majority of the second half.
Nebraska, the worst three-point shooting team in the Big Ten entering the game, got off to a scalding start from three-point range, led by Terran Petteway, who hit his first four from deep. He led all scorers with 28 points. But the ‘Cats shot 67 percent for the field in the early going and let Alex Olah carry a heavy load, so the Huskers only held a 21-19 lead midway through the first half.
Both teams regressed to the mean as the first half wound down, and Nebraska took a 35-33 lead to the locker room. But the Huskers’ big run, on top of their complete neutralization of Bryant McIntosh (who finished with just three points), gave them a 57-41 lead with seven minutes left.
The ‘Cats were unable to claw their way back in, finishing the game shooting at just a 45.7 percent clip from the field after the hot start. A Tre Demps jumper with less than six remaining cut the deficit to 12, but Nebraska’s Walter Pitchford answered with a dagger from beyond the arc, and that, as they say, was all she wrote.
Northwestern will get another chance to bust out of its slump at Wisconsin on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. The Badgers beat the ‘Cats in their last meeting on Jan. 4 at Welsh-Ryan Arena, 81-58.