Happy to be home, Northwestern seeks revenge on Nebraska

Feb 4, 2024; Champaign, Illinois, USA;  Nebraska Cornhuskers guard Keisei Tominaga (30) drives past Illinois Fighting Illini forward Ty Rodgers (20) during the second half at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten Conference’s two biggest giant killers will face off Wednesday night when Northwestern hosts Nebraska in Evanston, Ill.

Northwestern (15-7, 6-5 Big Ten) has wins this season over No. 2 Purdue and No. 10 Illinois, while Nebraska (16-7, 6-6) has knocked off Purdue and No. 11 Wisconsin. All of those wins have come in home games for the pair, where the Wildcats and Cornhuskers are a combined 25-2, including 11-0 in conference play.

That bodes well for Northwestern, which needs some home cooking after overtime losses at Purdue and Minnesota last week. Wildcats coach Chris Collins was ejected after the buzzer in the loss to Purdue, leading to a public reprimand and a $5,000 fine from the Big Ten for violating the conference’s sportsmanship policy.

For Nebraska, the road has been unkind. On Sunday, the Cornhuskers fell 87-84 in overtime at Illinois after rallying from 10 down in the final four minutes of regulation. The Cornhuskers are 1-6 on the road in Big Ten play this season.

“We can take a lot from this one,” Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg said. “There’s some things that we have to get better at, we have to clean up if we want to get over the hump on the road.”

Nebraska’s previous game saw the Cornhuskers rally from 16 behind at the half to beat Wisconsin 80-72 in overtime despite second-leading scorer Keisei Tominaga hitting only 1 of 7 shots from the field and finishing with two points. Against Illinois, he had a career-high 31 points with five 3-pointers while Rienk Mast had 22 points and four 3-pointers.

Northwestern’s top scorer, Boo Buie, is tied for fourth in the Big Ten in scoring at 18.9 points per game. He’s averaged 23.3 over the last four, three of which went to overtime.

“Boo is pretty good, in my opinion,” Collins said. “Pretty much every night he’s been pretty consistent.”

Nebraska beat Northwestern at home on Jan. 20 in a game that saw Buie held to 2-of-15 shooting, The Cornhuskers had five scorers in double figures and won the rebounding battle by 14.

–Field Level Media



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