Teddy Allen had one of the best individual performances in program history against Penn State on Tuesday night.
But even that wasn’t enough to give Nebraska a victory.
Allen ended up tying Aleks Maric for the second-most points by a Husker with 41 while adding eight rebounds and a career-high six assists.
As good as he was, though, the Nittany Lions found one way after another to top him and handed NU an 86-83 defeat at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Along with Allen’s record-setting night, Nebraska (5-16 overall, 1-12 Big Ten) shot 53.6 percent from the field and 48 percent from behind the arc as a team.
Yet PSU was able to keep the Huskers at arm’s reach all game by knocking down 14 threes, getting 16 points on 16 offensive rebounds, and scoring 25 off of 18 NU turnovers.
The Nittany Lions (8-12, 5-11), which snapped a four-game losing streak of their own, got 29 points from Myreon Jones and had all five starters score in double figures in the win.
Allen put the team on his shoulders to start the game, as he scored 15 of NU’s first 19 points and ended up setting the program record with 28 first-half points on 11-of-14 shooting.
The problem was Penn State was able to counter by hitting seven 3-pointers, scoring 14 points off of nine Husker turnovers, and getting eight second-chance points on a 10-0 edge on offensive rebounds.
It also didn’t help that the rest of Nebraska’s lineup combined for 10 points on 4-15 shooting, was 1-8 from behind the arc, and committed all nine turnovers to keep the Nittany Lions up 39-38 at the break.
A free throw by Trey McGowens had NU up 48-47 with 14:57 left to play in the second half, but things quickly fell apart soon after.
Penn State hit three straight 3-pointers to go on an 11-0 run while the Huskers turned the ball over four times in four minutes, giving the Nittany Lions their largest lead yet at 58-48 with 12:39 remaining.
But Nebraska stayed within striking distance and then came roaring back with three consecutive threes of its own to tie the game up at 70-70 with 6:13 still to go.
The Huskers got a key stop down 77-74 with three minutes remaining, but McGowens was whistled for an offensive foul after stopping short in front of a defender. That led to a jump hook by John Harrar to increase the deficit to five.
Nebraska followed that with a missed 3-pointer, a turnover, and a missed free throw on the front end of a one-and-one. Two free throws by Jones made it 81-74 with 53 seconds to play, but NU fired back with a 7-1 run to cut it to 82-81 on an And-1 by McGowens with 22.2 on the clock.
A layup by Allen got it back within a point with 14.0 to play, but Jamari Wheeler followed with two free throws at the other end with 12.7 left.
A 3-point try by McGowens in the final seconds was off the mark, sealing yet another defeat.
McGowens finished with 17 points, while Derrick Walker had nine on perfect 4-for-4 shooting and five rebounds. Thorir Thorbjarnarson added eight points in 25 minutes off the bench.
Nebraska will return to action on Thursday when it travels to take on Illinois for a 6 p.m. CT tip on Big Ten Network.
1. Allen’s performance was one for the record books, but it ended up hollow
Few players in the history of Nebraska basketball have had the type of game Allen did on Tuesday night.
His 41 points tie Aleks Maric (vs. Kansas State, Feb. 13, 2007) for the second-most in school history. They also were just one shy of Eric Piatkowski’s single-game program record of 42, set back in the 1994 Big Eight Tournament vs. Oklahoma.
It wasn’t even a situation where Allen was jacking up bad shots and got some to fall, either. He ended up 16-of-24 (66.7 percent) from the field and was 6-for-9 from behind the arc.
With his team-high eight rebounds and career-best six assists, the junior guard became just the 14th Division-I player since 2010-11 to record at least 39 points, eight boards, and six assists in a game.
He also tied Iowa’s Luka Garza (41 vs. Southern) for the most points scored by a Big Ten player this season and the third-most by any player in the conference over the last 10 seasons.
However, in the end, it still wasn’t enough to win. And that’s all that matters.
2. Penn State made all of the winning plays
As head coach Fred Hoiberg listed off all of the critical statistics that decided the outcome in his team’s loss to Penn State, he became increasingly frustrated with every number.
Nebraska was out-rebounded 42-29 overall and 16-2 on the offensive glass, leading to a 16-3 edge in second-chance points for the Nittany Lions.
The Huskers also turned the ball over 18 times, and 14 of those came on PSU steals. Even worse, Penn State turned those into a 25-13 advantage in points off of turnovers.
All of that gave the Nittany Lions two additional possessions than NU and 14 more shot attempts.
So while Nebraska’s 53.6 percent field goal clip and 12 made 3-pointers marked one of its best shooting efforts of the season, it wasn’t enough to overcome all of the little things Penn State did better all night.
3. Something is off with Dalano Banton
One of Nebraska’s most all-around productive players was hardly on the floor against Penn State, and it had nothing to do with foul trouble or injury.
Dalano Banton, who came in as NU’s second-leading scorer (10.4 ppg), leading rebounder (6.5 rpg), and top assist man (4.5 apg), started the game but played just 13 minutes on Tuesday night.
The sophomore guard missed both of his shot attempts and had one rebound, two assists, and three turnovers in the loss. He also only saw five minutes of work in the second half.
Hoiberg was asked why Banton didn’t play more after the game, and Hoiberg said he would continue to be consistent about playing the guys he felt gave his team the best chance to win.
Right now, Banton doesn’t fit that criterion.
His plus/minus rating over the previous three games were -14, -10, and -26. He finished at -2 against Penn State in by far his lowest minute total of the season.
THEY SAID IT
“Don’t mean nothing. We came up short.”
— Junior guard Teddy Allen on what scoring 41 points meant to him when it came in a loss.
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