LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Northwestern came to Nebraska off two straight losses and went into halftime at Pinnacle Bank Arena on the wrong end of a dizzying 14-0 run that wiped out its double-digit lead. "We know we have good players, we know we have a good team," Wildcats coach Chris Collins said. "But can we be tough? In this league, you have to be incredibly tough to win."
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Northwestern came to Nebraska off two straight losses and went into halftime at Pinnacle Bank Arena on the wrong end of a dizzying 14-0 run that wiped out its double-digit lead.
"We know we have good players, we know we have a good team," Wildcats coach Chris Collins said. "But can we be tough? In this league, you have to be incredibly tough to win."
The Wildcats were tough enough Sunday, winning 74-66 against a Nebraska team that started the day alone in first place in the Big Ten.
Scottie Lindsey scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half and Northwestern withstood the run that stretched to 16-0 early in the second half.
"I think it gives a lot of our confidence back," Lindsey said. "We'd lost two straight games, and it's easy to fold like that. We wanted to come in here against a team that's proven that they're here to stay; they're No. 1 in the conference right now. We wanted to come in here and get a big win, and we did."
Vic Law was 5 for 6 on 3-pointers and finished with 15 points for the Wildcats (13-4, 2-2 Big Ten), who also got 13 points from Dererk Pardon.
Tai Webster scored 17 points to lead the Huskers (9-7, 3-1), who lost for the first time in five games.
Northwestern made its first five 3s of the second half, with Law hitting one to give the Wildcats a 56-50 lead. The Huskers got no closer than five points in the last six minutes.
"We knew they had shooters, and one quick letup and just like that it's five 3s, and they go on a run and now we're playing catch-up," Nebraska's Evan Taylor said. "It's a learning lesson. We have to get better moving forward."
The Huskers looked ready to blow out the Wildcats after they outscored them 14-0 over the last 1:42 of the half to go up 37-33, with Webster popping a 3 just before the buzzer.
"Initially a little shell-shocked," Collins said, describing his players' mood at half. "I think we were angry but initially we couldn't really express it because we felt we were in control of the game. The tempo was to our liking, we were playing pretty good defense. It hit us like a buzz saw. Webster hits the 3 at the buzzer and you're down four. That was a critical time for our team."
Northwestern matched its season high with 11 3s on 24 attempts. The Wildcats shot 50 percent in the second half and 51 percent for the game. The Huskers mustered just 37.5 percent after halftime and 43.1 percent overall.
"They packed it in and dared us to shoot outside shots," Taylor said. "I thought their defensive game plan was good, but we kind of got timid on offense."
The Huskers, trying to start conference play 4-0 for the first time since 1975-76, got 12 points from Michael Jacobson and 11 from Taylor. But Glynn Watson Jr., who had a career-high 34 against Iowa on Thursday, was held to just six points.
"You live and die by the jumper," Jacobson said. "If you're making them, everything looks good. As soon as they don't go in, it's pretty ugly."
Northwestern: The Wildcats are in the middle of playing four of its first five conference games on the road for the first time since 1955-56. Beating the Huskers was almost a must for a team that harbors hopes of making the NCAA Tournament for the first time.
Nebraska: The Huskers were coming off their thrilling double-overtime victory over Iowa on Thursday, and it didn't look like they were short on energy early. But it became apparent fatigue was a factor as Northwestern began winning most the loose balls and Nebraska's shooting took a dive in the second half.
HE SAID IT
"One of our better wins, if you consider what Nebraska was playing like. They were the hottest team in our league... They have one game they'd like to have back. Everybody says, 'Oh, they lost to Gardner-Webb.' We all have a game where you're a little braindead in the nonconference before Christmas. For us to come in here and steal one on the road was huge for our team and program." — Collins.
Northwestern: visits Rutgers on Thursday.
Nebraska: visits Michigan on Saturday.
This version corrects eighth paragraph to Nebraska getting no closer than five points in the last 6 minutes.
Follow Eric Olson on Twitter @ericolson64