LINCOLN–(NU Athletics Dec. 15)– Cam Mack made Husker history with a triple-double and helped propel Nebraska past Purdue, 70-56 Sunday afternoon at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Mack had 11 points and 10 rebounds to go with a career-high 12 assists to become the first Husker in history to net a triple-double and help three Huskers (5-6, 1-1 Big Ten) in double figures and snap Purdue’s two-game win streak.
Dachon Burke Jr. was the leading scorer for Nebraska, netting 18 points to go with a season-high seven boards. Thorir Thorbjarnarson also hit double figures with 13 points. Haanif Cheatham just missed double-digits scoring, throwing in nine points, as Nebraska’s 70 points matched most points Purdue has given up this season.
The Huskers also limited Purdue (6-4, 1-1 Big Ten) to 30 percent shooting, including 6-of-35 from 3-point range. More importantly, the Huskers were out-rebounded 49-45 against a team that was among the Big Ten leaders in rebounding margin.
Leading 34-23 at the break, Nebraska came out of the locker room and quickly built its lead up to 15 with 16:39 remaining in the contest after a triple from Cheatham. Purdue went on a couple runs to cut the Husker lead down to single digits after the first media timeout. The Boilermakers continued chipping away at the Nebraska lead and cut the deficit down to two at 52-50 with 8:13 remaining.
Nebraska extended its lead back to eight right before the final media timeout. Matej Kavas buried a shot underneath the basket, back-to-back free throws from Charlie Easley and a fast-break layup by Thorbjarnarson pushed the margin to 58-50. Purdue was never able to cut the lead back down to less than six, and Thorbjarnarson put the game on ice in the final minute, going 5-for-6 at the charity stripe to give Nebraska its biggest lead of the game at 70-54. As a team, Nebraska went 7-of-9 from the foul line in the second half.
Nebraska forced nine Purdue turnovers and held a 13-12 edge in points off turnovers in the contest, while also holding a 17-6 advantage in fast break points. The Boilermakers held the edge in rebounds (49-45) and points in the paint (32-26). In the contest, Nebraska shot 42.6 percent from the field, 36.7 percent from beyond the arc and 77.8 percent from the free throw line. Purdue went 30.4 percent from the floor, 17.1 percent from distance and 40.0 percent from the charity stripe.
Mack had a team-high eight points in the opening period, followed by Burke with seven. Cheatham and Thorbjarnarson both were responsible for six points apiece. Mack also dished out six of his 10 assists in the first half and had five rebounds.
The Huskers began the game shooting 43.8 percent from the field, while smothering the Boilermarkers defensively and keeping them to a low shooting percentage of 22.0 percent (9-41).
The game began with a series of runs with Purdue burying the opening basket and Nebraska answered with a 12-0 run. The Boilermakers knotted the game up at 12-12 midway through the first half and the teams traded baskets before Purdue claimed the 17-14 lead off a Sasha Stefanovic three-pointer. Nebraska knotted the game up with a triple from Mack. Matt Haarms put Purdue back up at 18-17 and it would be the Boilermakers’ last lead of the contest. Nebraska responded with a Cheatham fast-break layup and never relinquished the lead, building its lead up to as many as 11 points and took a 34-23 advantage into the locker rooms.
Nebraska will continue its homestand on Saturday, hosting North Dakota at 5 p.m.