Davis hurt, No. 10 Wisconsin misses B10 clinch, Huskers win

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports
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MADISON, Wis. — Tenth-ranked Wisconsin lost leading scorer Johnny Davis when he was injured on a flagrant foul early in the second half, and the Badgers missed a chance to clinch the Big Ten title outright by falling to Nebraska 74-73 Sunday.

Alonzo Verge Jr. scored Nebraska’s last nine points, part of a 12-0 rally in the final minutes.

Wisconsin (24-6, 15-5) could still finish alone atop the Big Ten if second-place Illinois loses to Iowa later Sunday. The conference tournament starts Wednesday.

Davis was hurt when he was fouled on a layup try by Trey McGowens with 17:32 left. Davis went to the locker room and didn’t return to the bench, and the Badgers said he was out with a lower body injury.

Davis averages 20.3 points and 8.3 rebounds. He scored 10 before being injured by McGowens, who was ejected.

The Cornhuskers (10-21, 4-16) trailed 71-62 with under six minutes left before their comeback. Verge put them ahead 74-71 with two free throws with 37 seconds left, and finished with 26 points.

Chucky Hepburn hit two of three free throws for Wisconsin with 19.8 remaining, cutting the deficit to 74-73 as Verge fouled out.

CJ. Wilcher missed the front end of the bonus for Nebraska, but Hepburn – who beat No. 8 Purdue on Tuesday with a last-second 3-pointer – missed a 3-point try from the top right and the Huskers secured the rebound.

Nebraska played with leading scorer Bryce McGowens – Trey’s brother – who averages 17 points per game and injured his hand in a victory over Ohio State on Tuesday.

Derrick Waker added 15 points and Wilcher 10 as the Huskers closed with three consecutive victories.

Brad Davison scored 20 points for Wisconsin, which had won five in a row. Tyler Wahl and Chris Vogt added 13 apiece.

Wisconsin trailed by 12 midway through the first half. The Badgers rallied with a 12-2 run, going in front 49-47 on two free throws by Davison and were in the bonus for the final 16:18.

Verge tied it with a layin, but was called for a technical. Davison hit both free throws to start a string of eight consecutive points from the line to give Wisconsin a 57-49 lead with 13:40 left.

Wisconsin had been averaging only 8.6 turnovers per game, fewest in Division I. But the Badgers committed seven in the first 10 minutes as Nebraska surged to a 30-18 lead, hitting 12 of 21 shots.

BIG PICTURE

Nebraska: Nebraska could move into the No. 13 seed in the conference tournament with a win by Northwestern over Minnesota on Sunday evening.

Wisconsin: If Illinois wins Sunday, the Badgers would drop to the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. Either way, much depends on Davis’ status.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Although the Badgers topped No. 8 Purdue 70-67 on Tuesday, the loss to Nebraska could drop them in the poll.

UP NEXT

Nebraska plays in the first round of the Big Ten Conference tournament on Wednesday.

Wisconsin plays Friday in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Conference tournament.

Perkins’ 20 points leads No. 25 Iowa past Huskers 88-78

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LINCOLN, Neb. – Tony Perkins’ right shoulder has been bothering him all season, not enough to keep him out of games, but enough to be annoying when driving into contact or bumping into a screen.

The Iowa sophomore was pleasantly surprised when, for the first time in a long time, he felt no pain during pregame warmups Friday. After he made his first two shots, he knew it would be his night.

Perkins scored a career-high 20 points to lead the No. 25 Hawkeyes past Nebraska 88-78, giving his team a boost while Big Ten scoring leader Keegan Murray struggled to get going.

“Before the game started, I told our trainer I’m feeling it, my shoulder’s not hurting today,” Perkins said. “I came out shooting, and it felt good. It’s been on and off. Today my adrenaline was going, so I wouldn’t have been feeling it even if it were to hurt.”

Perkins, who had 15 points in the second half, had his first double-digit scoring game since Dec. 6 against Illinois (16 points).

“He always had that in him,” teammate Kris Murray said. “He’s a competitor, and he’s always looking to score the ball. We know he can score the ball and he did that at great times tonight. When he’s aggressive, I feel our team is so much better, too.”

Keegan Murray had 15 points and 11 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season. However, he couldn’t find his shot early and finished 6 of 13 from the field while seeing his streak of games with at least 20 points end at seven.

His brother Kris, who had 12 points, did most of his scoring in the second half as the Hawkeyes began taking control.

“Road games are tough in the Big Ten, especially playing a team like Nebraska, which has a lot of guys that can take you off the dribble and they feed off their crowd at home,” Kris Murray said. “They gave us a really good fight. We went on a little bit of a run and I think that’s what separated us.”

The Hawkeyes (20-8, 10-7 Big Ten) won for the sixth time in seven games and posted their first victory in Lincoln since 2015. The Cornhuskers (7-21, 1-16) lost their fourth straight, all by double digits.

Alonzo Verge Jr. led the Huskers with 18 points, C.J. Wilcher had 14 and Bryce McGowens had 13.

Iowa had difficulty pulling away, never leading by more than five points until Jordan Bohannon bounced a pass into the lane that Keegan Murray dunked for a 58-51 lead with 11:33 left.

A 3 by Wilcher got the Huskers within 58-56, but Iowa capitalized on a three straight bad passes by the Huskers to start an 11-0 run and build some cushion.

Perkins made two free throws after Verge threw the ball away, Kris Murray scored on a snaking move through the lane after Verge’s pass bounced off Walker’s chest and went out of bounds, and after McGowens’ pass bounced out of Walker’s reach, Murray hit a 3 and a layup to make it 69-56.

“I thought our fight was phenomenal really all game long,” Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We have those three- to four-minute stretches where teams go on those runs against us. Tonight had nothing to do with effort. We’d done a pretty solid job of taking care of the basketball and then we go three possessions in a row. That’s when they stretch it and open up the lead, but the fight was there.”

BIG PICTURE

Iowa: The Hawkeyes secured their fourth straight 20-win season and eighth in 10 years. They also posted their third two-game sweep of the season, having also won twice against both Maryland and Minnesota.

Nebraska: The Huskers lost their 24th straight against a top-25 opponent a day after Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts announced Hoiberg would return for a fourth season despite three straight years with at least 20 losses. Hoiberg is 6-49 in Big Ten play and 21-66 overall.

UP NEXT

Iowa: Hosts Northwestern on Monday.

Nebraska: Visits Penn State on Sunday.

Nebraska AD: Hoiberg to return next season, will get pay cut

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LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg will return for a fourth season but has agreed to a pay cut and a reduced buyout if he’s fired after next season, athletic director Trev Alberts said Thursday night.

Hoiberg is 21-65 overall and 6-49 in the Big Ten, with the next game at home against No. 25 Iowa on Friday. The Huskers (7-20, 1-15) have had three straight 20-loss seasons.

“Over the past few weeks, I have had several productive meetings with Coach Hoiberg, and we agree the results of our team are not acceptable,” Alberts said. “No one is more disappointed or frustrated than Fred Hoiberg. I have known Fred for a long time and watched him build and lead successful teams.”

Hoiberg, who is under contract through the 2026-27 season, will have his salary reduced from $3.5 million to $3.25 million and he will forfeit a $500,000 retention bonus that would be due if he were still coaching coach on March 31, 2024. His contract buyout was reduced from $18.5 million to $11 million.

“I appreciate the confidence that Trev Alberts and University leadership has shown in me,” Hoiberg said in a statement. “Our results on the court have not been what anyone would have hoped, but I am more committed than ever to building a successful basketball program at Nebraska.”

Hoiberg was one of the splash hires of the 2019 cycle. He was so popular as a player and coach at Iowa State that he’s still known as “The Mayor” in Ames, Iowa. His bad run as Chicago Bulls coach didn’t take away from the excitement over his hiring at Nebraska.

The program, however, is now mired in its worst three-year stretch.

“As I said when I was hired three years ago, it is an honor to be the men’s basketball coach at the University of Nebraska, and I am excited to continue to lead the Husker program,” Hoiberg said. “This has always been a special place to me and my family, and we have grown to love the Lincoln community in our time here.”

The conditions for Hoiberg’s retention are similar to those for Nebraska football coach Scott Frost, who is 15-27 in four years. Frost had his contract restructured late last season. His 2022 salary was cut from $5 million to $4 million, and his buyout of $15 million was reduced to $7.5 million.

Murray scores career-high 37 as Iowa pummels Nebraska 98-75

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IOWA CITY, Iowa- Sophomore Keegan Murray scored a career-high 37 points to power Iowa to a 98-75 romp over Nebraska on Sunday.

Murray sank 15 of 21 shots – 3 of 4 from 3-point range – and made 4 of 5 foul shots for the Hawkeyes (17-7, 7-6 Big Ten Conference).

Murray had 24 first-half points and Payton Sandfort came off the bench to score 10 to lead Iowa to a 53-25 lead at intermission. Murray topped his career high on a driving layup with 5:28 remaining in the game, giving the Hawkeyes an 86-63 lead. He subbed out with 3:23 to go. His previous high was 35 points, set four times, including twice as a freshman.

Last time out in a 110-87 win over Maryland, Murray and Jordan Bohannon became the first Iowa duo to score 30 in the same game since Bruce King (36) and Scott Thompson (30) did it against Michigan in 1976. Bohannon, the Hawkeyes’ all-time leader in 3-pointers, sank 10 of 16 from beyond the arc against the Terrapins.

Sandfort finished with 12 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Kris Murray, the twin brother of Keegan, added 12 points and seven boards off the bench. Bohannon hit two 3-pointers and scored 10.

Derrick Walker had 14 points and six rebounds to pace Nebraska (7-18, 1-13). Bryce McGowens added 11 points, while reserve Eduardo Andre scored 10.

Iowa stays home to host Michigan on Thursday. Nebraska returns home to host Maryland on Friday.

Seabron scores 39, N.C. State tops Nebraska in 4 OT

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RALEIGH, N.C. – Dereon Seabron scored a career-high 39 points with 18 rebounds and N.C. State defeated Nebraska 104-100 in a marathon, four-overtime Big Ten-ACC Challenge Wednesday night.

The 39 points was also a record for the Big Ten-ACC Challenge.

That Seabron, who played 57 minutes, scored four of those points, for the lead and the win, in the last 44 seconds of the wild affair was fitting. He had scored the tying points for the Wolfpack (6-1) in regulation and the the first overtime, and had scored go-ahead points near the end of the second overtime in a game that saw 14 ties and 13 lead changes.

The four-OT game was a first in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge history.

Ebenezer Dowuona scored four points for the Wolfpack but blocked a career-high eight shots. N.C. State had 11 blocks in all.

Alonzo Verge scored 25 points for Nebraska (5-3) before fouling out in the final seconds. He had traded big, last-minute baskets with Seabron throughout the game’s six periods. Freshman Bryce McGowens added 24 points and nine rebounds.

The game saw tempers flare late in regulation when players traded words, bumps and shoves in front of the Wolfpack bench right after Jericole Hellems launched a corner 3 over Lat Mayen as N.C. State erased a 14-point deficit to tie at 61-61.

As the dust settled, Mayen was ejected on a flagrant 2 foul and N.C. State’s Cam Hayes was ejected as well.

The Pack has won 27 consecutive regular season home games against non-conference opponents and has a 34-1 record against non-conference opponents in regular season home games under coach Kevin Keatts.

In the first overtime, the teams combined to miss the first 11 shots, and there was no scoring until there was less than a minute in the period when the Huskers and Wolfpack flew up and down the court trading baskets.

Verge drove for a game-winning basket as time was expiring in regulation only to have it blocked at the rim by freshman Breon Pass, sending the game to overtime.

Nebraska is at Indiana on Saturday to open Big Ten Conference play. N.C. State entertains Louisville on Saturday in an ACC opener.

Bohannon, No. 5 Iowa run away from Nebraska 102-64

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IOWA CITY, Iowa – Jordan Bohannon has one more home game in his Iowa basketball career.

“Man, it’s been an unreal journey,” the senior guard said.

Coming off two hip surgeries that cost him almost all of last season, he knows what he’s shooting for.

Bohannon tied a career high with eight 3-pointers and scored 26 points, and No. 5 Iowa beat Nebraska 102-64 on Thursday night. He made 8 of 12 3-point attempts but played just eight minutes in the second half as the Hawkeyes (19-7, 13-6 Big Ten) topped the 100-point mark for the fourth time this season.

It was the most points scored and the largest margin of victory in Big Ten play by an Iowa team since a 116-77 win over Northwestern in 1995.

Bohannon is Iowa’s career leader in 3-pointers in a career where he has dealt with numerous injuries.

“A lot of the work I’ve put in the last year and a half, there’s been a meaning to it,” Bohannon said. “I’ve put up a lot of shots through injury and rehab. It was huge to start off well and hit that many 3s tonight.”

“Any time you have a player get eight 3s in a game, it’s probably going to be a good thing for everybody,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “I thought he was tremendous moving the ball, defensively, and taking shots when he was open. Once he got going, we were looking for him and found him.”

Freshman Patrick McCaffery had a career-high 19 points for Iowa. McCaffery had scored just 21 points over the last seven games, but he was 8 of 13 from the field, including 3 of 6 in 3-pointers.

“It feels nice to get in a zone like that,” he said. “It felt like everything that I shot was going in.”

Luka Garza had 14 points for the Hawkeyes. The senior center, who came into the game second in the nation in scoring at 24.3 points per game, played just 24 minutes. Joe Wieskamp added 11 points.

Iowa led 48-26 at halftime, closing the first half with a 16-3 run over the final 5:49.

“It’s a team that if you don’t play well, they embarrass you,” Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg said. “And that’s what happened tonight.”

Iowa shot 51.4% from the field. The Hawkeyes had 16 3-pointers, the second-highest total this season.

“Our lack of energy on the defensive end was the thing that was so disappointing to me,” Hoiberg said.

Kobe Webster led Nebraska (7-18, 3-15) with 17 points. Lat Mayen had 14 points and 13 rebounds. Dalano Banton had 14 points.

Iowa closes the season at home against Wisconsin on Sunday. Bohannon knows it will be emotional.

“I wake up every day thankful for the opportunity I’ve been put in,” Bohannon said. “I’ve tried to make the most of every day I’ve got up to go to practice, to games. I’ll be forever grateful for that.”

FREDRICK HURT

Iowa guard CJ Fredrick, who has been dealing with a lower-leg injury since mid-January, fell to the court after committing a foul with 5:35 left in the first half. He grabbed his right ankle, and after being helped up, limped off the court. Fredrick did not play the rest of the game. Fredrick has missed four games and missed the second halves of two other games with the injury. “He’s a little bit sore,” Fran McCaffery said. “We’ll see how he is tomorrow.”

LONG RUNS

Iowa’s run to finish the first half included 11 consecutive points. It was the 27th run of 10 or more consecutive points the Hawkeyes have had this season.

PASSING ZONE

Iowa’s Connor McCaffery, third in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio at 3.75, had eight assists against one turnover. McCaffery had seven assists and no turnovers in the first half. “It was just fun to watch,” Fran McCaffery said.

BIG PICTURE

Iowa has won six of seven and stayed on pace to get a double-bye in the Big Ten tournament. The Hawkeyes are third in the conference, a half-game ahead of Purdue and one game ahead of Ohio State.

Nebraska had its two-game winning streak snapped.

“We looked tired. We played tired,” Hoiberg said. “We do have to find a way to move on.”

UP NEXT

Nebraska: Huskers play at Northwestern on Sunday.

Iowa: Hawkeyes play at home against No. 25 Wisconsin on Sunday.