LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — James Palmer, Jr. had 18 points and Nebraska opened up a double-digit lead early in the second half then held off three Wisconsin surges to take a 63-59 win Tuesday night.
“That’s the way it’s going to be against Wisconsin right now,” said Nebraska coach Tim Miles. “It’s going to be a rock fight. It didn’t surprise me. I think all the computers had it as a 1-, 2- or 3-point game. It certainly ended up that way. This is a difficult team to extend on and we made some bad decisions.”
Nebraska (12-6, 3-2 Big Ten) led by as many as 13 early in the second half, then saw the lead shrink to five as Wisconsin (9-9, 2-3) made five of six field goals.
The Huskers went back up by 10 at 50-40 when Thomas Allen hit a pair of free throws after a Wisconsin technical foul with 7:22 left.
The Badgers’ Ethan Happ scored seven straight against one Nebraska free throw to cut the deficit to 51-47 with 4:45 left. Three Nebraska free throws and a Palmer jumper, the Huskers’ last field goal of the game, put Nebraska back up by nine.
The Huskers led 62-53 after Isaac Copeland’s free throw with 11 seconds left. But Wisconsin’s Brevin Pritzl bombed in a long 3-pointer with just over 2 seconds left, Nebraska turned the ball over and Brad Davison hit another long-range 3 to pull Wisconsin to 62-59 with a second left.
Evan Taylor’s free throw then sealed the win for Nebraska.
Nebraska won the game at the free-throw line. The Huskers were 21 of 28 from the line, including 18 of 24 in the second half. Wisconsin made just 4 of its 10 free throws, 3 of 8 in the second half.
“That’s what we wanted to do in the second half, try to get to the free-throw line,” Copeland said. “I think we did a good job of that.”
Wisconsin coach Greg Gard commended his team’s effort and said the Badgers kept the game at the pace they wanted. But he said 10 turnovers that led to 11 Nebraska points and 5-for-19 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc doomed his squad.
“We know our margin for error is extremely thin,” said Gard. “It shows in areas that we struggle at times, whether it’s depth or whether it’s scoring. The effort in continuing to fight back and claw, I’m proud of. We almost have to pitch a perfect game at times on the defensive end.”
Copeland had 12 points for Nebraska.
Happ had 19 points and 11 rebounds for Wisconsin. Davison added 15 points and Pritzl scored 10.
Miles on Nebraska’s 3-point shooting: “The only one I can remember us making is the one where Roby’s on his kiester. We miss a three, he’s there, gets the rebound flips it back and we shoot the HORSE shot.”
THE BIG PICTURE
Nebraska: Nebraska completed a five-game stretch against Big Ten opponents that qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season with a 3-2 record, defeating Wisconsin, Minnesota and Northwestern and losing to Michigan State and Purdue
Wisconsin: Wisconsin has won every game in which it has scored more than 70 points this season. The Badgers have lost every game in which they’ve scored 70 points or fewer, except for a 64-63 win at Penn State.
Nebraska travels to State College, Pa. to take on Penn State. Nebraska has won just one time in six prior games at Penn State.
Wisconsin has a week off before traveling to West Lafayette, Ind., to face No. 13 Purdue in its third straight Big Ten road game.