Nebraska 77, Northern Iowa 69
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) _ Bernard Garner scored 21 points on 8-for-10 shooting and made the go-ahead basket in the second half, then helped Nebraska hold on at the end to beat Northern Iowa 77-69 Thursday night.
Venson Hamilton added 16 points and 17 rebounds for Nebraska (13-11), which used its height advantage to get easy shots inside against the Panthers (13-9) and win for just the second time in the last eight games.
All but two of the Cornhuskers’ second-half baskets came on layups, putbacks or other shots in the paint. Nebraska outrebounded Northern Iowa 45-30 and the Panthers couldn’t overcome that despite 27 points from Jason Daisy.
Garner hit one of Nebraska’s outside shots in the second half, a 3-pointer with 13:18 left, to break a 45-45 tie and the Cornhuskers never trailed again.
His layup on Larry Florence’s sharp pass from the left corner capped a 6-0 run that stretched the lead to 54-46, and the Cornhuskers led 70-59 after Tyronn Lue hit a 3-pointer at the 4:35 mark and sank a free throw 26 seconds later.
Daisy scored six points in an 8-0 run that drew Northern Iowa to 70-67 and his pass to Sean Hawkins for a layup left the Panthers trailing 72-69 with 2:20 to play. But Garner got free for a layup and Nebraska made three free throws to nail it down.
Hamilton’s big effort helped Nebraska offset the prolonged absence of 6-foot-11 center Mikki Moore, the team’s No. 2 scorer with a 12.2 average. Moore got into early foul trouble and played only seven minutes, finishing with four points.
Lue had 15 points, while Tony Brus scored 12 and Hawks 10 for Northern Iowa.
Hamilton, who had 12 points and 10 rebounds in the first half, sparked Nebraska to a 31-24 lead late in the period. He dunked twice and hit a jump shot in a span of less than three minutes to help take the lead to 27-22. The Cornhuskers went up by seven when Florence was awarded a basket on a goal-tending call against Hawkins.
But Northern Iowa clawed back with seven points in the final 1:11 of the half. Daisy sank two free throws and scored on a putback and Brian Heying nailed a 25-foot 3-point shot from the left wing just before the buzzer to cut the lead to 33-31.
The two teams traded baskets early in the second half before Daisy, who scored 36 points in a 109-104 victory at Nebraska last season, made a reverse layup to tie the score at 45 with 13:37 left.