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Nebraska 93, Iowa 91: Yuck

A 16 point lead was not enough

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Nebraska Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

The Iowa Hawkeyes choked away a 16-point lead in the second half to head into the Big Ten Tournament ass-first following a 93-91 overtime loss to Nebraska.

The game had weird written all over it. Isaiah Moss hit a three pointer in the opening minute to remind everyone that he is not in fact dead. Nebraska and Iowa traded blows throughout the first, but the Hawkeyes eventually pulled away to go on a 9-0 scoring run before the half closed out at 37-31 Iowa. Iowa’s defense appeared to shore up once again and everyone was contributing on offense.

Basketball was fun again for 17 minutes in the second half. Iowa cruised to a 47-31 lead with 17:05 left to go following another Moss 3. Jordan Bohannon made a three to start the half, Joe Wieskamp followed that up with an easy layup and Luka Garza was hitting 15-footers. All of Iowa’s starters were contributing, Fran was back, and all was right in Iowa basketball land.

Then James Palmer Jr., Isaiah Roby, and Glynn Watson happened. Those three combined for 73 points on a day when Nebraska had just seven scholarship players available.

Roby was especially problematic down the stretch. It seemed like Iowa had this one all wrapped up while up 70-61 with 150 seconds to go following a made three pointer from Bohannon. Roby took it to the hoop a few possessions later to make it 70-63. A Johnny Trueblood steal after a sloppy inbound from Bohannon dished it back to Roby to turn a 9 point lead with 2 12 minutes to play to a 5 point lead with 90 seconds to play.

Watson hit a three-pointer with 23 seconds to put Nebraska within one, and Palmer Jr. made a layup to knot it at 81 at the buzzer.

Palmer Jr. was the hero in overtime for Nebraska, scoring 5 points for the Huskers and assisting on a Watson 3. Iowa had all the chances in the world to put it away, but missed free throws, Tyler Cook fouling out and other usual shit accounted for this loss.

Iowa did have another chance at a miraculous buzzer-beater: after Amir Harris weaved past Nicholas Baer to give Nebraska the 93-91 go-ahead, Iowa got the ball with 10.5 seconds on the clock. Connor McCaffery completely bungled whatever play was designed, and thankfully a Nebraska player kicked the ball out of bounds with 3 seconds to go. Iowa ran an absolutely beautiful backdoor play to give Bohannon an open look, and he did get it as time expired, but Thorir Thorbjarnson (what a friggin’ name) blocked the shot clean at the release.

And that was that. Iowa relinquished a 16-point lead to a team that had lost 11 of its last 13 games. Iowa, meanwhile, has lost five of its last six.

This. Is. March.

Other notes:

  • I mean, this sounds dumb as shit, but I was pleased with the way Iowa played for the most part? The defense was kinda back, and it was encouraging to see each of Iowa’s starters have good games. Luka Garza had like the 25 points ever. Joe Wieskamp looked pretty good in a 14-8 effort. Moss had 10!
  • Connor McCaffery is playing too much.
  • It’s worth noting Nebraska was shooting one-and-ones 12 minutes into the second half. The Huskers had committed just one foul at that point as well.
  • When Iowa did get to the line, it wasn’t great. The Hawkeyes shot just 21-32. Free throws matter!
  • Iowa was 9-20 from three with 2 minutes left in the game. They finished shooting 10-26 from range.
  • Only 13 turnovers!
  • Ugh, this sucks.
  • But not as bad as the Nebraska uniforms:
NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Nebraska Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports