Husker basketball falls to Boilermakers on Senior Night

Shavon Shields scored 32 points in his final game at Pinnacle Bank Arena, but it wasn’t enough as Nebraska fell 81-62 to No. 15 Purdue Tuesday night.

Shields, fellow senior Benny Parker and two senior basketball managers were honored in a Senior Night ceremony before the game.

“Benny and Shavon are guys that bought in on a dream and led us to the NCAA tournament for the first time in 16 years,” Nebraska head coach Tim Miles told the crowd before tipoff. “And they have built a foundation that will be lasting for a long time.”

Nebraska fell behind 30-9 within the first 10 minutes of the game, but battled back and went on a 20-9 scoring run to bring the score to 39-33 shortly before halftime. In the second half, Nebraska remained at arm’s length until the Boilermakers (23-7, 11-6) began pulling away in the final eight minutes.

Shield’s season-high 32 points were not enough to compensate for the Boilermaker’s physicality. Purdue’s superior size was evident throughout the evening as they outscored the Huskers 40-28 in the paint. The inability to score baskets inside the paint is a problem that has plagued the Husker offense all season.

“This is a game where we’re out-matched physically, there’s no question,” Miles said. “I think at the end, whether it was resignation or frustration or disappointment, you kind of get that. But the middle run in the first half was what frustrated me the most. We didn’t make multiple efforts, and when you’re out-matched — when you’re physically disadvantaged — you’ve got to have this urgency and intensity on the ball, everywhere. We just didn’t have that.”

Despite a huge performance from Shields, Nebraska only shot 40 percent from the field and 23 percent from beyond the arc. The Boilermakers hit 56.6 percent of their shots from the field.

The Cornhuskers (14-16, 6-11) now carry a four-game losing streak into Sunday’s regular season finale at Evanston against the Northwestern Wildcats. With this loss, Nebraska is positioned to be the No. 11 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and is predicted to face Rutgers in the first round.

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