Huskers ride hot shooting to 82-66 victory over Penn State
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) An easy win over Penn State provided a huge morale boost to a Nebraska team that had lost eight of its last nine games, including a bunch of close ones.
Glynn Watson Jr. and Jack McVeigh scored 15 points apiece to lead four Cornhuskers in double figures, and they used their best shooting half of the season to set the tone in an 82-66 victory Tuesday night.
Jordy Tshimanga and Tai Webster had 12 points each for the Huskers (11-14, 5-8 Big Ten), who ended a three-game losing streak before playing their next two on the road.
”You need a shot of confidence, and a game like this can do that for you,” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said. ”We have a saying that the toughest team sets the rules. Tonight, I added and the most discipline team wins the game. We need both. Tonight, we were pretty good that way.”
Tony Carr had 15 points and Lamar Stevens added 13 to pace Penn State (14-13, 6-8), which lost for the first time in three games.
”Nebraska played terrific, and it seemed like everything was going right for them,” Nittany Lions coach Patrick Chambers said. ”We’re going to get back to work. No time to scream and yell. We have to keep getting this young team better, keep developing habits and teaching them now to compete on the road in a hostile environment.”
The Huskers shot 63 percent in the first half. McVeigh scored five points at the start of a 10-3 spurt that got them out to a 34-25 lead, and he beat the buzzer with a swish from the half-court line to make it 45-37 at half.
”That was pretty cool,” McVeigh said. ”Once I released it, I could tell it had a chance. It was a momentum builder for the second half.”
Freshman Isaiah Roby brought some flair in the middle of the second half with back-to-back dunks to give Nebraska a 63-47 lead. He threw down a lob from Evan Taylor and followed with a left-handed jam after taking a pass from Watson during a 9-0 run.
The Huskers led by as many as 24 points and finished the game shooting 55.4 percent. They came into the game shooting 42.8 percent in conference games.
Tshimanga, who was 6 for 7 from the field, led an inside effort that saw the Huskers outscore the Lions 46-28 in the paint.
Webster said the win was timely for a team that had been struggling.
”You can see our locker room is excited, jumping around,” he said. ”We know we have a long next five games, and we know this is the time now to buckle down and do something if we want to play in the postseason.”
Penn State: The Lions didn’t show up offensively and missed a chance to get to .500 in Big Ten play.
Nebraska: The Huskers did show up offensively and created some momentum for a two-game road trip to Ohio State and Michigan State.
Roby, who has emerged as a big contributor off the bench, appeared to injure his right foot in the final minutes. Miles said he had no information on his status. ”It looked ugly to our trainer, who saw it on video,” Miles said. ”We took him out right away and iced him, and we’re going to do everything possible to get him ready to go.”
Penn State shot just 31 percent in the second half and 39.7 percent for the game. Chambers dismissed the notion that having only two days’ rest between a road win over Illinois and the visit to Nebraska made his team lethargic.
”It looked that way in the second half, but I don’t want to use that as an excuse,” he said. ”You’re 18- to 23-year-olds doing something you love. We did all the right things preparing them.”
Penn State hosts Purdue on Tuesday, Feb. 21.
Nebraska visits Ohio State on Saturday.