LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — An improbable trio led the way as Nebraska ended its five-game losing streak and upset 20th-ranked Purdue.
There was Jack McVeigh, who has a love-hate relationship with his 3-point shot, and Jeriah Horne, who didn’t even play in the Cornhuskers’ previous game by coach’s decision.
And then there was Michael Jacobson, who took intravenous fluids at halftime after getting sick to his stomach twice in the first half.
McVeigh and Horne came off the bench to combine for 37 points and 10 rebounds, and Jacobson’s putback gave Nebraska the lead with 42 seconds left in an 83-80 victory Sunday.
McVeigh said it was about time the Huskers (10-11, 4-5 Big Ten) had some good fortune. Two of the five straight losses came on last-second shots.
“We battled in the other games, where you put yourself in a situation where anything is possible,” McVeigh said. “Everyone who has watched the Big Ten, no game is a joke. Every win is a good win here in conference play. That was a big win for the morale, and in terms of positioning and everything.”
McVeigh matched season highs with 21 points and four 3-pointers after coming into the game a 33-percent shooter from deep. Horne was 7 for 12 with 16 points and seven rebounds three days after not playing in a loss at Northwestern. Horne said coach Tim Miles kept him on the bench to drive home the point that he needed to work harder in practice.
“The minutes haven’t been the same lately, and they’ve been on the bench a lot,” senior guard Tai Webster said of McVeigh and Horne. “It’s a true show of character for those guys to stay the course and (handle) the adversity. We couldn’t have done it without those guys tonight.”
Dakota Mathias made 5 of 7 3-pointers and scored 19 points to lead Purdue (17-5, 6-3), which lost for the first time in four games. Carsen Edwards had 16 points, and Caleb Swanigan had 14 points and 14 rebounds. Swanigan had one of his worst shooting games of the season, going 5 for 15 and committing four turnovers against a mix of defenses.
“They were just stunting all game,” Swanigan said. “You didn’t know what they were doing. You just had to go to your basketball instincts. I wanted to get my best shot. I took too many dribbles and should have shot it sooner.”
The Huskers took the lead for good after Jacobson stole the ball from Swanigan and was there to put back McVeigh’s missed 3-pointer for a 79-78 edge.
Swanigan passed out of a double-team to Vincent Edwards on Purdue’s next possession. Edwards tried to pass to Mathias, who bobbled the ball and had it swiped by Glynn Watson Jr. Watson got fouled and made two free throws for a four-point lead with 10.5 seconds left.
Purdue: Coach Matt Painter said he would have thought the Boilermakers would win with their 14-for-24 3-point shooting, but with 13 turnovers and Swanigan not able to control the inside offensively, they were ripe for the upset.
Nebraska: The Huskers got 39 points from their bench and outrebounded the bigger Boilermakers 40-35, including 15-11 on the offensive end.
MORE 3s THAN 2s
Miles said the Huskers did an excellent job defensively against the 6-foot-9 Swanigan and the 7-2 Isaac Haas, or “Hercules and the other guy,” as he called them.
The Huskers allowed 14 3-pointers but just 13 2-pointers. They had the 6-11 Jordy Tshimanga and the 6-9 Jacobson guard Swanigan and Haas, often sending McVeigh on double-teams. The Boilermakers were 13 of 38 from inside the arc.
“Our goal was to have them beat us from 2, and that worked out really well,” Miles said.
HE SAID IT
“It surprised me he played. Most guys who don’t play in the game before don’t play. He was on the scouting report and we talked about him. He’s made shots before but not a lot. Any time you play sparingly, it’s hard to gauge a guy because it’s not who they are.” — Painter.
Purdue hosts Northwestern on Wednesday.
Nebraska hosts Michigan State on Thursday.