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Purdue v Nebraska

Source: Steven Branscombe / Getty

LINCOLN, Neb. — The Cornhuskers are a team no one wants to play in the Big Ten for fear of what could happen.

With a hot start fueled by Rienk Mast and Keisei Tominaga, Nebraska dealt the Purdue Boilermakers their second loss of the season. The 88-71 victory is the Cornhuskers’ first win over a number-one-ranked opponent in 41 years.

“This is a huge win for our program, to come out here and knock off what I think is the best team in the country,” said Nebraska head coach Fred Hoiberg. “It shows us what we’re capable of doing.”

The Boilers were put in a pickle early on as Nebraska came out of the game on an 8-2 run through the first five minutes. Mast was big for the Cornhuskers in that stretch scoring six of those eight points.

From there it was a struggle for Purdue who managed to grab the lead late in the 1st quarter. Back-to-back three-point baskets from Mast and Tominaga tied the game back up with three to go in the first.

Nebraska closed the half on a 13-0 run off more hot shooting from Tominaga taking a 41-30 lead to the locker room.

“When you’re put in that position in the second half you’re not going to make runs if you can’t stop somebody,” said Purdue head coach Matt Painter. “We had to do a better job defensively. To their credit, their shot makers made some tough ones.”

Purdue needed the same going into the second half and that’s what they got making their first four three-pointers in the half’s first seven minutes. A pair of Braden Smith free throws cut the Nebraska lead to 51-50 at that juncture.

Once again, Nebraska found the juice going on a 14-2 run completely catching Purdue defenders on their heels.

Purdue had one last surge with nine minutes left, but Tominaga and Mast kept making shots fall. Tominaga ended the night with 19 points off five made three-point shots. Mast finished with 18 as well.

Cornhusker fans stormed the floor when the buzzer sounded an 88-71 victory.

“I like their team,” Painter said of Nebraska. “I like how hard they play, they’re together, and they can hurt you in different ways. I like their system, I like the sh** they run. It’s real basketball.”

Zach Edey was held in check for most of the night held to 15 points and seven rebounds, his seventh game this year without a double-double. Mason Gillis was the leading scorer for Purdue with 16 points coming off the bench.

Not only did Purdue lose Tuesday night, but so did #2 Houston to Iowa State, 57-53. This ensures a big shake-up among the top five when the next AP Top 25 is released this coming Monday.

Until then, the Boilers may be able to stifle some of their expected fall through the rankings when they host Penn State inside Mackey Arena on Saturday.