Behind a big night from Isaiah Roby, the Nebraska men’s basketball team won its second straight game with a 59-50 victory over Northwestern Saturday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Roby filled up the stat sheet while producing his third double-double of the season. He scored a game-high 19 points, pulled down a game- and career-high 16 rebounds, tied his season high with a game-high five blocks and added a pair of assists and two steals. With Nebraska’s offense struggling early in the second half, Roby scored the Huskers’ first 10 points of the period and finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds in the second half alone.
In addition to Roby’s performance, James Palmer Jr. chipped in 13 points – his 22nd straight game in double figures – and dished out six assists, one shy of his season high. Glynn Watson Jr. added 12 points and six rebounds. Nebraska shot only 32.8 percent from the field, but the Husker defense had seven blocks and eight steals while forcing 15 Northwestern turnovers. The Wildcats shot only 34.5 percent and were just 5-of-25 from the 3-point line en route to its second-lowest total of the year.
With its second win of the week, Nebraska improved to 15-11 on the year and moved to 5-10 in Big Ten Conference play. Northwestern (12-13, 3-11 Big Ten) was led by a double-double from Dererk Pardon (13 points and 12 rebounds), while Vic Law scored 15 points and Anthony Gaines added 10 points.
Nebraska led for much of the first half, taking a 28-23 lead into the locker room. The teams traded baskets during a hot start, before a 6-0 run gave the Huskers a 14-9 lead eight minutes into the contest. Five straight points from Northwestern trimmed the lead to one with eight minutes left in the half, but Thomas Allen knocked down a three and Palmer connected on three free throws to give Nebraska its biggest lead of the half at 26-19. The Huskers scored only two points over the final six minutes of the half, but the Husker defense limited the Wildcats to just four points during that stretch.
Roby was the only Husker to score a point in the first eight minutes of the second half, as Northwestern battled back to take the lead. After Roby opened the period with a layup, five quick Wildcat points trimmed the Husker lead to two. Roby answered with a 3-pointer but another 5-0 spurt gave Northwestern a 36-35 advantage with 14:27 left.
After a two-minute scoreless drought, Roby put Nebraska back on top for good with a 3-pointer with 12:08 to play. Northwestern trimmed the lead to one with eight minutes remaining, but the Huskers put the game out of reach with an 11-0 run. Watson scored the final five points of the run, as his 3-pointer gave Nebraska its largest lead at 53-41 with 3:52 to play.
Despite playing its starting five the entire second half, Nebraska had plenty of energy on the defensive end. The Huskers held Northwestern scoreless for more than five minutes during their 11-0 run. After a Northwestern basket cut the lead to one with 8:18 remaining, the Wildcats did not make another field goal until more than seven minutes later, when a Pardon dunk made the score 55-47 with 1:05 to play, but that was as close as Northwestern would get.
Following a pair of home wins this week, Nebraska hits the road to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions on Tuesday at 6 p.m.