Nebraska Basketball: Huskers don't stand a chance in road loss to No. 7 Purdue
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Huskers don't stand a chance in 92-65 road loss to No. 7 Purdue

Coming in as 20.5-point road underdogs at No. 7 Purdue on Friday night, Nebraska knew it had a tall task ahead of it in West Lafayette, Ind.

After a little more than seven minutes of gameplay, the Huskers were already down by 19 points, with its two best players in early foul trouble and the Boilermakers in the bonus.

The nightmare start never got much better for NU, as it fell 92-65 in a game that was never even remotely close.

Nebraska dropped to 6-12 overall, 0-7 in the Big Ten, and is now 5-41 in conference play and 1-27 in true road games under head coach Fred Hoiberg.

Purdue jumped all over Nebraska from the opening tip and never let up in a 92-65 blowout on Friday night.
Purdue jumped all over Nebraska from the opening tip and never let up in a 92-65 blowout on Friday night. (Associated Press)

The night couldn't have started much worse for Nebraska, as it racked up seven fouls and four turnovers while shooting just 1-of-6 from the field at the first media timeout to fall behind 14-2 out of the gate.

Purdue was in the bonus with 15:39 still to play in the first half, while top Huskers Derrick Walker and Bryce McGowens were both sent to the bench after picking up two early fouls.

That eventually led to Purdue going up by as much as 19, a margin they hit three times before two late 3-pointers by C.J. Wilcher trimmed NU's deficit to 48-33 at halftime.

Purdue kicked off the second half with a 6-0 run and claimed its largest lead yet at 54-33 after less than two minutes of play.

It wouldn't get any better for NU from there, as the Boilermakers would pile on another 15-2 run and go up 75-45 with nine minutes remaining.

It was all semantics from there, as Nebraska never got closer than 25 points the rest of the way.

Keisei Tominaga led the Huskers with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting, while Wilcher and Alonzo Verge Jr. added 10 points each.

Purdue's 7-foot-4 big man Zach Edey finished with a game-high 22 points, nine rebounds, and two blocked shots. The Boilermakers scored 28 points off 17 Nebraska turnovers and had 21 points off of 14 offensive rebounds.

3-POINT PLAY

1. This one was never even competitive

Purdue entered the season regarded as arguably the favorite in the Big Ten, and it’s lived up to that billing to this point.

On the other hand, Nebraska had already cemented itself as the worst team in the conference before heading out to West Lafayette.

That mismatch played out precisely as expected, as the Boilermakers dominated the game from the opening tip and looked like a state championship varsity team scrimmaging the freshman squad all night.

Yes, the Huskers fell into early foul trouble, which changed the strategy right away, but they had no answers for Purdue on either end of the floor. They committed a flurry of turnovers and fouls and couldn’t make a shot until already facing an insurmountable deficit.

Nebraska has had several clunkers already this season, but it’s also played several highly-ranked opponents down to the wire.

The talent discrepancy has rarely been as glaring as it was on Friday night, though. Again, Purdue is one of the best teams in all of college basketball. But it felt like NU wasn’t even in the same league tonight.

2. NU’s post depth got exposed

To say Nebraska was at a competitive disadvantage against Purdue’s frontcourt would be the understatement of the century, and that mismatch was exactly what NU feared right from the start.

The entire tenor of the game changed less than three minutes in, as Walker picked up two fouls in the first 2:22, limiting him to 12 minutes in the first half and 20 for the night.

The Huskers needed their post depth to step up and fill Walker’s shoes, but no one could answer the call.

Eduardo Andre was the first big off the bench and had arguably the worst game of his college career.

The second-year freshman had four turnovers, two fouls and missed his only shot for a staggering plus/minus rating of -18 in just five minutes of action in the first half.

He ended up with five points, four fouls, four turnovers, and went 1-of-5 at the free-throw line in 13 minutes of the bench, finishing at a -20.

Lat Mayen wasn’t any better, either. He had seven points and a career-high eight rebounds, but three turnovers and three fouls and posted a -21 in 31 minutes.

Purdue ended up out-scoring Nebraska 46-24 in the paint, had 21 points off of 14 offensive rebounds, and held a 14-point advantage at the free-throw line.

3. Fouls defined the game

Nebraska needed pretty much everything to go its way even to have a chance at shocking the world with an upset at Purdue. Instead, those hopes went out the window just minutes into the game as fouls racked up on almost every possession.

Walker was the most important player on the' roster for the Husker to have a chance against the Boilermakers’ daunting big men. He was essentially taken out of the equation before the first media timeout with two quick fouls.

By not getting the benefit of the doubt from the officials, NU simply could not defend the paint. When they were aggressive, they were called for fouls. When they played off, Edey and Trevion Williams did whatever they wanted at the rim.

Walker fouled out with nine minutes to go, and three other Huskers ended up with at least three fouls.

This isn’t to say that the officiating was why NU lost this game. That couldn’t be further from the case.

But it did end any chance the Huskers had of at least keeping things remotely competitive before the game hardly got going.

“Bryce, Derrick, and Eduardo all pick up two right away and (Purdue is) in the bonus before the first media timeout in both halves,” Hoiberg said during his post-game show on the Husker Radio Network.

“I’ve never been a part of something like that. Then their physicality overwhelmed us from that standpoint.”

THEY SAID IT

"This building (Mackey Arena) is unlike any other that we've played in to this point. Right from the beginning, it's a very intimidating place to play, and obviously we didn't handle that well in the beginning... (But) we kept fighting, we kept battling. I didn't think it was an effort thing tonight."
— Head coach Fred Hoiberg on Nebraska's 27-point loss at Purdue.