WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Nebraska coach Tim Miles has seen his Huskers do a lot of things right the past two games.
But he also knows they aren’t doing enough to come away with a win.
After Thursday’s one-point home loss to Michigan, Nebraska lost a lead when it went scoreless during a six-minute stretch late in the game as Purdue rallied for a 70-64 victory Sunday afternoon at Mackey Arena.
Nebraska (8-8, 0-4 Big Ten), which trailed most of the game, led 58-55 after a Terran Petteway free throw with 6:43 left. But the Huskers came up empty on their next eight possessions as Purdue scored nine straight points in the next six minutes.
“That’s the composure thing this team needs to learn to play with,” Miles said on his postgame radio interview. “That’s too bad because they did more than enough good things to win a ballgame.”
Purdue (11-5, 1-2) matched its biggest lead of the game at 48-42 when Terone Johnson made a layup with 13:14 left.
But Nebraska put together its best stretch of the day, outscoring the Boilermakers 16-7 in the next seven minutes.
The Huskers took their first lead of the second half at 51-50 when Deverell Biggs converted a layup after a steal with 10:16 left. Another steal and layup by Tai Webster made it 57-55 with 7:17 remaining. At that point, Purdue had committed eight second-half turnovers as NU’s zone was causing problems.
Petteway, who led the Huskers with 19 points and nine rebounds, made a free throw on Nebraska’s next possession to build the lead to 58-55. But then came the six-minute scoring drought as Purdue turned its three-point deficit into a 64-58 lead.
Nebraska was 0 of 5 from the field, missed two free throws and committed two turnovers — it only had nine turnovers on the day — during the drought. The dry spell ended when Petteway made a layup with 44 seconds left to cut NU’s deficit to 64-60, but Purdue hit 6 of 8 free throws in the final 42 seconds to secure its first Big Ten win of the season.
Center A.J. Hammons led Purdue with 18 points, while Ronnie Johnson added 14. The Boilermakers committed nine of their 12 turnovers after halftime, but they also shot 61 percent from the field in the second half.
Biggs and Ray Gallegos added 10 points each for the Huskers. Gallegos scored all his points in the first half.
Nebraska has lost five straight since Christmas. Miles said he isn’t concerned about his team’s confidence, but he hopes the Huskers are learning they need to play with more discipline and concentration for 40 minutes.
“I hope they’re understanding exactly the effort it takes mentally and physically over and over and over again to be successful to win,” Miles said. “It’s very demanding to win in the Big Ten, on the road or at home.”