CHICAGO (AP) — Shavon Shields scored 19 points, Brandon Ubel added 16 points and eight rebounds and Nebraska beat Purdue 57-55 Thursday in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.
The Cornhuskers (15-17) hung on after Purdue’s Terone Johnson missed two shots in the closing seconds and will meet No. 10 Ohio State in the quarterfinals on Friday.
They started the second half on a 9-0 run to turn a two-point lead into a 39-28 advantage and withstood a late push by the Boilermakers (15-17) to come away with a surprising victory.
It was 54-53 after Purdue’s D.J. Byrd made a 3-pointer with 40 seconds left. Nebraska’s Ray Gallegos then made the first free throw and missed the second, but the Cornhuskers recovered the ball.
Ubel then hit the second foul shot after missing the first to make it 56-53 with 28.6 seconds left. Byrd put back a missed 3 by Ronnie Johnson to pull Purdue within one with 13 seconds left.
Gallegos then made 1 of 2 free throws to make it a two-point game. Purdue had one last chance but Johnson missed two shots in the lane and Gallegos grabbed the rebound to secure the win.
Byrd led Purdue with 15 points and eight rebounds, but the seventh-seeded Boilermakers struggled on offense just when they appeared to be hitting their stride.
They averaged just under 78 points and shot nearly 48 percent the previous three games — a win over Wisconsin, a narrow loss to Michigan and a 16-point victory over Minnesota — but screeched to a halt in this one.
They shot just over 40 percent overall and were a miserable 2 of 12 from 3-point range. They weren’t much better at the foul line, going 7 of 14, but they still jumped back into it after Nebraska built an 11-point lead early in the second half.
The 10th-seeded Cornhuskers were leading 39-28 after Dylan Talley nailed a 3, capping a nine-point run to start the half, and were still up nine when Purdue made a move.
Byrd hit a jumper off a screen and a step-back 3-pointer to pull Purdue within 48-47 with just over four minutes left.
Talley answered with a jumper, ending about a five-minute scoring drought for the Cornhuskers, and Ubel scored inside to make it a five-point game after Sandi Marcius missed two free throws for the Boilermakers.
A layup by Marcius made it 54-50 with 1:11 remaining, and Byrd made it a one-point game when he nailed a 3 with 40 seconds left after Ubel missed a free throw.
(© 2013 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.)