NU MEDIA RELATIONS:
Despite a career-high 22 points from Tai Webster, Nebraska fell at No. 19 Iowa, 77-66, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena Tuesday night.
Webster hit 7-of-11 shots from the floor in posting his third 20-point of the season, but the Iowa duo of Mike Gesell and Jarrod Uthoff combined for 47 points for the host Hawkeyes (12-3, 3-0 Big Ten).
Uthoff carried Iowa with 25 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots while Gesell scored 19 of his 22 points in the second half and added 10 assists. The senior guard went 11-of-13 from the foul line, as Iowa went 24-of-32 from the charity stripe, while Nebraska was just 9-for 16 from the line.
The Huskers got off to a quick start, scoring the first eight points of the game, including 3-pointers from Shavon Shields and Benny Parker, and led 12-2 before the Hawkeyes roared back behind the play of Uthoff. The Iowa senior forward scored nine points in an 11-2 Hawkeye run, including seven straight, as Iowa got within 14-13.
Uthoff finished with 13 points and four blocked shots in the first half, as Iowa held the Huskers to 39 percent shooting from the field.
Nebraska lead 22-19 after a 3-pointer by Jack McVeigh with 7:35 left in the half, but Iowa closed the half on a 12-0 run to take a nine-point lead into the locker room. Adam Woodbury keyed the Hawkeye run, scoring all five of his first-half points in the surge.
Nebraska stayed within striking distance for most of the half and trailed 52-39 before running off five straight points on a 3-pointer from Andrew White III and a driving basket by Webster to make it 52-44 with 10:16 remaining.
Every time Nebraska cut the lead Iowa would come back, as Nebraska pulled to within 10 at 58-48 after a Jack McVeigh basket with 8:00 remaining, but Uthoff ran off five straight points in the next 45 seconds, capped by a long 3-pointer to push the lead back to 15.
Q: You had the dry spell toward the end of the first half, did you think you had some pretty good shots in there?
Miles: That was just what we were talking about in the locker room with the coaches, where we don’t score for 7 minutes. We had open looks and I think we missed about 5 of them and that is just too big of dry spell. I thought Iowa started out flat, and who wouldn’t be after the week they had and then they started heating up and we couldn’t build a lead and consequently we go down 9 when we shouldn’t have with as many open looks as we got.
Q: Were you getting what you wanted out of your offense?
Miles: Yeah, I was okay with our shot selection. There was a few of them that I didn’t love but it was a little bit of scrum there for a while but we got decent looks.
Q: Did the pressure defense get you out of an offensive rhythm?
Miles: A few times. I wouldn’t say it had a big effect. Early we lined up in our press breaker wrong twice in a row that it did. Then in the second half when our guys got more tired I thought it did. We scored late in the clock sometimes too, so maybe that didn’t make it feel as bad as it could’ve been.
Q: Tai has shown the ability to have big games but it is spotty, did you see any of this coming from him tonight?
Miles: After pregame meal, he stayed and watched extra tape. Now gee why is that someone that puts in a little extra work goes out and has a big game. Tai is doing better and better, he came in with a lot of expectations and that was difficult for him physically and emotionally and he has been a lot better for us this year.
Nebraska was forced to foul down 11 with 2:21 left, but Iowa seven of 10 free throws down the stretch to not allow the Huskers to cut in to the deficit.