Free throw woes bog down Nebraska in road loss to Penn State, 76-65

Free throw woes bog down Nebraska in road loss to Penn State, 76-65

Updated: 9 days, 22 hours, 24 minutes, 34 seconds ago

The plague of missed free throws struck Nebraska again.

And again. And again. And again.

On the road against Penn State, Nebraska missed 11 free throw attempts — marking the seventh time this season that the Huskers have posted a free throw shooting percentage of 60% or less.

And it cost them. Penn State walked away from the Bryce Jordan Center with the 76-65 win over Nebraska to hand the Huskers their 10th loss of the season.

For those counting at home, that’s an 11-point difference.

Senior forward Derrick Walker paced the Huskers in the loss with 20 points, six rebounds and six assists, while junior guard Keisei Tominaga added 13. Senior guard/forward Sam Griesel and sophomore guard C.J. Wilcher both chipped in 10 points.

The Huskers had to charge on without veteran leader Emmanuel Bandoumel, who left the game at the 13:25 mark in the first half with an apparent left knee injury.

Bandoumel, NU’s senior point guard and top-notch defender, needed assistance off the floor after his leg appeared to crumple. When leaving the court, Bandoumel couldn’t put much weight on that foot as he hobbled to the locker room with the assistance of two staffers. He was ruled out at halftime. Before leaving the game, the SMU transfer had two points.

The Huskers made it a close game relatively late in the second half after Tominaga pulled off some wizardry, but Penn State’s three-point attack proved far too much to overcome.

Andrew Funk led all scorers with 23 points, doing so on 8-of-13 from the floor with five made 3-pointers. In total, the Nittany Lions made 11 from deep — continuing their reign as the Big Ten’s most prolific from behind the arc.

Seth Lundy added 16 points for Penn State, and Jalen Pickett added 12 points with 13 rebounds and five assists.

Nebraska had an opportunity to get within one possession ahead of halftime after Dawson drained a three-pointer with 59 seconds to play to bring NU within four points, but the Huskers made multiple errors after that — a bad-pass turnover by Wilhelm Breidenbach paired with a shooting foul on freshman guard Jamarques Lawrence that gave Penn State an additional three-point cushion.

Nebraska never led in the first half after Penn State ran out to a 10-0 lead off the jump. NU rallied with an 8-0 run of its own — three buckets from Walker, one from Bandoumel — to get the game close, and kept it close for the rest of the first half.

The closest NU got was with eight minutes to play when Wilcher’s first three-pointer knotted things up at 15-all, but Penn State guard Andrew Funk continued grooving from behind the 3-point line.

Funk alone had 16 points in the first half, 12 of which came off four made threes. Penn State as a whole drained seven from behind the arc, shooting at a 35% clip from three-point range. Compare that to Nebraska, which made just two of its nine attempts from deep.

Up next: Nebraska is set to host Northwestern on Tuesday with tip-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m. However, Northwestern’s last two games have been canceled due to injuries and a COVID-19 outbreak on the team.