Nebraska hopes rest helps turn tables on Purdue

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A couple of days in between games isn't usually a long layoff for a college basketball team. For Nebraska, a few days might feel like a vacation.

The Cornhuskers played seven games in 12 days as they tried to make up for lost time. They had five postponements in January due to COVID-19 issues within the program.

That stretch of play ended on Wednesday with a 79-71 loss to Maryland. They'll return to action when they host Purdue in a Big Ten game on Saturday in Lincoln, Neb.

Coach Fred Hoiberg could sense his team was worn out from the rugged schedule before its last game.

"Generally, I give my pregame talk and those guys jump out of their seats and sprint out the door to go out and get ready for a good warmup," he said. "(Wednesday), they all sat in their chairs for an extra five or six seconds and just kind of slowly got out of their chairs and walked out the door."

The final score didn't indicate how the Terrapins controlled the second half. Maryland scored 13 unanswered points early in the half and led by as much as 21 points.

"They're fatigued," Hoiberg said. "The stretch we just went on after what we went through was extremely difficult for our players. But that's not an excuse to get out-worked for those loose balls."

Nebraska (5-14 overall, 1-11 Big Ten) will play its next few games at home. Purdue (14-8, 9-6) has had ample time in between games this month. It will take the court for the fifth time this month on Saturday.

The Boilermakers dropped out of the Top 25 after losing to Minnesota on Feb. 11. They bounced back with a 75-65 home win over Michigan State on Tuesday.

As usual, Trevion Williams was the driving force behind the victory. The 6-foot-10 Williams scored 28 points, including 10 in the final five minutes. Williams, who is averaging 16.4 points, has reached the 20-point mark in three of the last four games.

"It's kind of in the back of my head. I know the team relies on me," he said. "The best thing I can do is be simple and get to my move. It works out for me. It's a high percentage shot, my jump hook over my left shoulder. I try to stick with that."

Williams' rebounding and interior defense are also crucial to Purdue's success. He's averaging 9.4 boards per game.

"Mostly, it comes down to rebounding and being physical with guys," he said. "A lot of guys don't like being physical. I feel like bringing that aspect kind of separates me and kind of brings our team up."

--Field Level Media

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
+900+18.5O 152.5
-1667-18.5U 152.5