More leaky defense: Iowa drenched by Nebraska

Huskers score school Big Ten-record points in 98-84 win

Nebraska forward Isaiah Roby (15) fights for the loose ball against Iowa’s Luke Garza (55) during the Cornhuskers’ 98-84 win over the Hawkeyes Saturday night at Nebraska’s Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln. (Bruce Thorson/USA TODAY Sports)
Nebraska forward Isaiah Roby (15) fights for the loose ball against Iowa’s Luke Garza (55) during the Cornhuskers’ 98-84 win over the Hawkeyes Saturday night at Nebraska’s Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln. (Bruce Thorson/USA TODAY Sports)

LINCOLN, Neb. — "James! Palmer! Junior! He’s on fire!" shouted the Pinnacle Bank Arena public-address announcer midway through the second half Saturday night.

Palmer, a junior guard, had just popped in the second of his two 3-pointers in a 30-second stretch that started an 11-0 Nebraska run for a 67-54 lead, propelling the Huskers to a 98-84 men’s basketball win over Iowa. The fire and fury were Nebraska’s for most of this game.

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. A Hawkeyes opponent frequently got open behind the 3-point line and cashed its chances. The Huskers (7-4 Big Ten, 16-8 overall) splashed in 11 of their 19 3s.

For Iowa (2-8, 11-12), cutting a 16-point deficit to two in the second half was a mirage on the prairie. This game was a screech of the brakes on whatever traction they gained four nights earlier with their 85-67 home walloping of Wisconsin.

“It certainly wasn’t one thing. It was multiple,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said about how Nebraska exploited his team’s defense, though he said lack of effort wasn’t a problem.

Palmer pumped noise back into an arena that had grown quiet when the Hawkeyes used an 8-0 run before that to help turn a 50-34 deficit into a one-possession game.

How bad was this defensively for Iowa? The Huskers’ point total was their most in seven seasons of Big Ten games. It was the most the Hawkeyes have allowed this season.

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Palmer paced the Huskers’ lively offense with 28 points. Isaac Copeland, a junior forward (Georgetown transfer), had 23, 13 in the game’s first 7:03. Isaiah Roby, a sophomore forward and original Tim Miles recruit here, added a career-best 17.

Nebraska had 10 of its 11 3-pointers in the game’s first 30 minutes, with six different Huskers joining that shooting gallery. The Huskers shot 57.7 percent from the field.

Overall, everything was fun and games in the first half for the sellout crowd of 15,952.

After Iowa took a 10-5 lead with Jordan Bohannon and Tyler Cook supplying all the Hawkeyes’ points, the Huskers went on an 8-0 run for a lead they would never surrender.

The Hawkeyes’ offense was just as snappy as the host’s for the first 12 minutes, and Nebraska’s lead was a mere 25-24 with 7:31 left. But the Huskers kept drawing fouls, and Iowa’s offense dried up with the exception of Cook. He had his team’s only six points from the 7:08 to 1:59 marks of the first half.

Iowa’s first half was defined by the travails of Luka Garza. The 6-11 freshman had been so good of late, with 63 points and 38 rebounds over his previous four games. But he was called for his second foul just 1:18 in the game, and was a scoreless, one-rebound non-factor in the first half.

Cook and Bohannon had 24 points apiece for Iowa. Bohannon, who had seven assists, played all 40 minutes. Cook played 35.

Cook, Miles said, “looks like he should be playing in the NFL to me. He should declare now.”

Luckily for Iowa, the forward is only a sophomore. Who plays basketball.

So McCaffery had that bright spot to take home, as well as ...

“We shot 50 percent from the field, 43 (percent) from 3,” McCaffery said. “Twenty assists, nine turnovers.

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“Eighty-four (points) should get you a win. Ninety-eight, it’s not good math.”

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