IOWA CITY — It took two trips up the court Saturday to figure out how the Nebraska-Iowa men's basketball game might go.
The Huskers won the opening tip, worked 25 seconds off the clock, then saw Brandon Ubel get his shot blocked.
The Hawkeyes raced up the floor and, with a couple of crisp passes, found Aaron White alone in the corner for a 3-pointer he swished.
Iowa also scored on possessions two, three, four and five to build an early advantage that it never surrendered in a 74-60 win in front of a sellout crowd of 15,400 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
For Nebraska (14-17, 5-13 Big Ten), it was the ninth double-digit road loss of the season. But the Huskers didn't give up after falling behind 10-1 and 12-3.
Far from it.
They got within one point, 43-42, on guard Dylan Talley's 3-pointer with 15:02 to play. They closed to two, 46-44, on another Talley jumper with 14:16 left.
From there, Nebraska's fuel gauge hit “E.”
The Huskers went scoreless the next 8Ĺ minutes, coming up dry on 11 straight possessions as the Hawkeyes built a 63-44 lead. NU scored the next eight points, but couldn't cut the deficit to single digits again.
Though the Huskers hung around, coach Tim Miles said he never had a good feeling about the game following the sluggish start.
That was driven home in the second half when Iowa (20-11, 9-9) shot 72.7 percent (16 of 22) in what looked like a layup and dunk line by UI's forwards and centers.
“It looked to me like a mismatch,” Miles said. “Their 4s and 5s were like 13 out of 15. You don't allow that many dunks usually and have things go your way.”
Iowa center Adam Woodbury was 6 of 6 for 12 points. It was the first time the heavily hyped 7-foot-1 freshman from Sioux City East had scored in double figures since Dec. 4 against South Dakota.
Forwards White and Melsahn Basabe both were 5 of 7 from the field, scoring 19 and 11 points, respectively. Basabe added 13 rebounds and White six as the Hawkeyes pounded NU on the boards 39-22.
“That's what killed us,” Ubel said. “They put it up on the rim and we couldn't come up with the rebound.
“We would contest shots and get stops. But we wouldn't get rebounds. And getting stops without getting rebounds is pretty much worthless.”
Iowa shot 57.1 percent for the game to NU's 37.5 percent. Nebraska hung in as long as it did because Ray Gallegos was hot.
The junior guard nailed a career-high seven 3-pointers in 14 attempts. He led all scorers with 22 points. Gallegos also set a school record with 1,158 minutes played this season, surpassing Dave Hoppen's 1,155.
Miles was asked if the heavy minutes his starters have played, especially during Big Ten action, played a part in Saturday's late-game slide.
“Maybe,” he said. “But, gee, tough break. You get to play college basketball.
“We didn't want to take the bit today. We didn't want to dig in and play defense and bite it the way you have to.”
Ubel, who had nine points and seven rebounds, agreed that when a big play was needed Saturday, most came from the Hawkeyes.
“I thought we did a good job of battling back,” he said. “But every time it seemed like we were getting close, they got an offensive rebound and something easy at the rim. That can't happen.”
For the Big Ten tournament in Chicago starting Thursday, No. 6 seed Iowa will play No. 11 seed Northwestern at 8 p.m.
Nebraska, as the No. 10 seed, will play at 5:30 p.m. with Purdue or Illinois as possible opponents.
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