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May 29, 2024

Cornhuskers Stun Top-Ranked Boilermakers in Historic Upset

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Jan 10, 2024

In a shocking result that shook up the college basketball landscape, the unranked Nebraska Cornhuskers took down the #1 ranked Purdue Boilermakers 88-72 at home on Tuesday night. The dominant, wire-to-wire victory marked Nebraska’s first win over a top-ranked opponent since 1982 and sent Purdue to just its second loss of the season.

Huskers Catch Fire from Downtown to Jump Out Early

Nebraska wasted no time making a statement, nailing four straight three-pointers to start the game. Led by Japanese sharpshooter Keisei Tominaga’s 17 first-half points on 5-5 shooting from beyond the arc, the Huskers put up an astounding 12 threes in the opening frame to sprint out to a 44-29 halftime advantage.

“We just shot lights-out tonight,” said Nebraska head coach Fred Hoiberg. “When you shoot the ball with confidence like our guys did, you’re going to have a chance against anyone.”

The 15 first-half threes set a school record for a half and helped the Huskers shoot a blistering 67% from the field before the break. Tominaga credited the raucous home crowd at Pinnacle Bank Arena for fueling the hot shooting.

“The fans brought unbelievable energy tonight,” said Tominaga. “We fed off their excitement and it inspired us.”

All-American Edey Stymied by Nebraska Defense

While Nebraska caught fire on the offensive end, its defense swarmed Purdue big man and Wooden Award candidate Zach Edey. The 7’4″ standout entered averaging 22 points and 13 rebounds per game but found little room to operate against Nebraska’s frontline. Edey shot just 4-of-10 for 9 points in the first half as the Huskers routinely sent double and triple-teams his way.

“We knew if we could frustrate [Edey], that would give us a chance,” said Nebraska forward Derrick Walker, who drew the primary defensive assignment on Edey. “I just tried to play him physically without fouling.”

The Huskers opted not to double Edey as much in the second half, but his struggles continued. He finished with just 13 points on 4-7 shooting, his second-lowest output of the year.

“We have a lot of respect for Edey, but I thought our guys executed the game plan well,” Hoiberg said.

Nebraska 1st Half 2nd Half Total
Points 44 44 88
FG % 67% 48% 56%
3PT % 68% 44% 54%
Rebounds 20 25 45
Purdue 1st Half 2nd Half Total
Points 29 43 72
FG % 35% 48% 43%
3PT % 18% 38% 31%
Rebounds 17 24 41

Boilermakers Rally But Huskers Keep Pedal Down

Purdue played with more energy coming out of halftime and quickly trimmed the deficit to single digits. But each time the Boilermakers threatened, Nebraska had an answer.

Whether it was Walker muscling home buckets inside, Tominaga and Sam Greisel continuing their perimeter assault, or timely contributions from Nebraska’s role players, the Huskers never let Purdue seriously challenge them in the second half. Emma Ronsiek’s four-point play with 10:33 left quelled one Purdue spurt, while Tominaga responded with back-to-back triples shortly after to maintain a double-digit lead.

Tominaga finished with a career-high 30 points on 8-14 shooting from three to spearhead a record-setting 21-39 performance from distance for Nebraska. Greisel added 15 points and recorded 9 assists.

Near-Capacity Crowd Storms Court After Signature Victory

As the final seconds ticked away on Nebraska’s takedown of mighty Purdue, Pinnacle Bank Arena reached a fever pitch anticipating the impending court storm. The largely student-filled crowd of 15,846 spectators, the biggest of the year, flooded onto the hardwood when the buzzer sounded to celebrate with their beloved Huskers.

Players openly wept tears of joy after pulling off one of the biggest wins in program history. The rapturous postgame celebrations captured the raw emotion and magnitude of Nebraska’s achievement.

“It was an unbelievable scene,” Hoiberg commented. “Seeing our players soak up that experience with the fans is something they’ll remember forever.”

Purdue head coach Matt Painter voiced his displeasure with the court storming due to safety concerns, but otherwise tipped his cap to Nebraska.

“You have to give Nebraska a lot of credit,” Painter said. “It was their night and they played with great purpose.”

Statement Victory Plants Seed for NCAA Tournament Hopes

Having entered the AP Top 25 earlier in January, Nebraska made an emphatic case to stay there by bulldozing the nation’s top team. The upset should rocket the Huskers into the top 15 and adds a signature win to their NCAA Tournament resume.

At 10-7 and 3-3 in a loaded Big Ten conference, Nebraska likely needs to finish above .500 in league play to hear their name called on Selection Sunday. But with more statement opportunities ahead against ranked foes Illinois and Indiana, their triumph over Purdue provides a blueprint for how to compete with and take down college basketball’s elite.

If the same tenacious defense and blistering shooting they displayed on Tuesday travels with Nebraska the rest of the year, they could very well find themselves punching a rare ticket to March Madness. First-year coach Hoiberg would love nothing more than to lead his alma mater back to the Big Dance for the first time since his playing days.

For at least one special night, Nebraska basketball captivated the college hoops world by taking an ax to Goliath. And with the momentum now behind these cardiac Huskers, their giant-killing act may have only just begun.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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