LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Miller Kopp took Northwestern’s first shot in overtime Sunday, draining a 3-pointer that triggered a 7-0 Wildcat run and the Wildcats held on for an 81-76 win over Nebraska that snapped their 12-game losing streak.
“It was nice to knock that down just to give us, you know, a little bit of momentum,” Kopp said. “ I made a 3 but then we came down and hit a nice floater I think. The biggest thing though was our defense in that time that you know stretched, you know we got stops.”
Northwestern (7-21, 2-16 Big Ten) forced two Nebraska turnovers and scored a pair of layups to go up 74-67 with 3:15 left in overtime — a spurt that coach Chris Collins said his young team needed to win the game on the road.
“They were really determined they didn’t look rattled,” Collins said of his team in overtime. “And then we came out there and I thought those first two minutes, that was kind of the story to get the separation we needed to get in that seven-point, little burst.”
Nebraska (7-22, 2-16) cut its deficit to 78-76 on Dachon Burke Jr.’s 3-pointer with 46 seconds left and the Huskers had a chance to tie the game 22 seconds later when Yvan Ouedraogo missed a pair of free throws. Northwestern hit 3 of 4 free throws to seal the win.
Nebraska lost the game at the free-throw line where the Huskers hit just 8 of 30. Northwestern made 15 of its 20 free throws. According to BTN no Division 1 team in the last 10 years has shot under 30% from the free-throw line with 30 or more attempts. Nebraska shot 27% Sunday.
“It’s contagious,” Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg said of missing free throws. “I’ve been around this game long enough when you miss a few early, it just seems to get in everybody’s head. Tempo gets quick, you don’t trust your stroke. It’s hard. We’ve been shooting better the last five games, about 65% then to have a night like this where you make a couple more and you’re on the winning end.”
Northwestern, which led 37-34 at half, saw Nebraska use a 13-4 run to go up 47-41 on Burke’s steal and dunk with 14:11 left. But the Huskers could manage only nine more points in the next nine minutes, falling behind 63-53.
Nebraska tied the game at 65 on a Haanif Cheatam 3-pointer with 1:51 left and went up 67-65 on a Cam Mack basket with 1:39 left. A pair of Pat Spencer free throws tied the game at 67-all with 49 seconds left.
Boo Buie had 15 points for Northwestern. Spencer finished with 12 points and Ryan Young scored 10.
Cheatam led Nebraska with 20 points. Burke scored 19, Mack added 13 and Ouedraogo had 11 points and 19 rebounds.