By JAMES ALLAN
LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska won a Thursday night barn-burner to edge the University of Iowa men’s basketball team.
The Hawkeyes found themselves in overtime for a second straight game for the first time in 23 years, but it was the Huskers who escaped Pinnacle Bank Arena with a 93-90 double-overtime victory in a wild game that featured 14 ties and 12 lead changes.
Iowa senior Peter Jok scored 30 of his team-high 34 points in the second half and two overtimes before fouling out with 54.6 seconds remaining in the second OT. Jok made 12-of-24 field goals, including five 3-pointers, to go along with six rebounds.
After going into the second bonus frame tied at 83, the Huskers got a 3-pointer from Glynn Watson, Jr., to take an 86-83 lead. The Hawkeyes fought back to take a 90-89 lead on a Jok 3-pointer with 1:25 left before Jeriah Horne and Tai Webster both made 1-of-2 free throws to give Nebraska a 91-90 lead with 47 seconds left.
The Huskers’ Ed Morrow corralled Webster’s second miss for an offensive rebound, but Iowa’s defense got the stop it needed when Horne missed a 3-pointer. Freshman Isaiah Moss attacked in transition, but was stripped and turned the ball over, giving Nebraska possession with 17 seconds to play.
“That’s a tough situation,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “We’ve been trying to get (Moss) to be aggressive. If he’s not aggressive in the first half, we’re probably down 15-17 points. He bails us out in first half, but you have to be careful in how you go after that kid. It wasn’t the play we wanted, and he knows that now.”
Horne stretched Nebraska’s lead to 93-90 with two free throws with 17 seconds remaining before freshman Jordan Bohannon missed a jumper on Iowa’s next trip down. The Hawkeyes got a final chance to tie the game when Evan Taylor missed two free throws with 8.1 seconds remaining, but sophomore Brady Ellingson’s contested 3-pointer was off the mark to send the Huskers to their first 3-0 Big Ten start in program history.
Iowa appeared to be in control in the first overtime as the Hawkeyes grabbed a four-point lead early on a Jok jumper with 3:41 left and led 83-79 with under two minutes to play.
Webster made two free throws with 40 second left to cut the deficit to two before stripping Jok and getting fouled with 12 seconds remaining. He made both free throws to tie the game at 83.
After leading 37-34 at the break, Nebraska opened up a nine-point lead twice early in the second half before Jok brought the Hawkeyes back. Trailing 58-54 with just under 10 minutes to play, Jok scored 16 straight Iowa points, but Watson provided a Nebraska answer.
“He kept working,” said McCaffery of Jok’s second-half play. “We did a better job of running our offense with more patience and working the ball to him and other folks. He was more patient; he has to be.”
Watson finished with a career-high 34 points, making 11-of-18 field goals, including seven 3-pointers, and 5-of-6 free throws. His two free throws with 11 seconds left tied the game at 73.
Nebraska stripped Jok with five seconds remaining and sophomore Nicholas Baer fouled Taylor with 1.3 seconds left to stop a potential game-winning layup. Iowa got new life when Taylor missed both free throw attempts, sending the game to overtime.
“At the end of regulation we just wanted to get him (Peter) a clean shot,” said McCaffery. “It didn’t matter if it was a 3 or 2.”
Moss was Iowa’s catalyst in the first half, scoring 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting. He scored nine of Iowa’s first 15 points. The Hawkeyes trailed 37-34 at the break, despite finishing with a 13-3 advantage in second chance points.
The Huskers prevailed despite a woeful night at the free throw line where they made 19-of-35 attempts. Nebraska had 14 steals in the game and forced 19 Hawkeye turnovers. Iowa stayed in the game by out-rebounding the Huskers, 51-42, and finishing with a 27-5 advantage in second-chance points.
Moss finished 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting in the game, while freshman Tyler Cook had 14 points and seven rebounds, and Cordell Pemsl added 10 points and six boards.
Iowa (9-7, 1-2) returns to action Sunday, hosting Rutgers at 3:36 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“The message is to stay positive,” said McCaffery. “You win an overtime game (against Michigan) and you’re ecstatic; it doesn’t mean you played a perfect game. You lose in overtime; it doesn’t mean everything is a disaster. Let’s make sure when we’re in the situation again we do a little better and execute better at both ends.”