Behind a career-high 22 points from Isaiah Roby, Nebraska snapped a two-game losing streak with a 70-64 win over Penn State Thursday evening at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Roby had 22 points on 8-of-9 shooting and added season bests in both rebounds (11) and blocked shots (four) to propel the Huskers (12-4, 2-3 Big Ten) to its 20th straight home win dating back to last season.
Glynn Watson Jr. added 19 points and three assists, while James Palmer Jr. added 11 as the Huskers shot nearly 50 percent from the floor, but could not subdue the Nittany Lions until the end.
Clinging to a 58-57 lead, Watson scored eight straight points for the Huskers, the last being a 3-pointer with 2:15 left that staked the hosts a 65-61 lead. Penn State got to within 66-62 after a Mike Watkins free throw just under 20 seconds remaining, but Roby salted the game away hitting four straight free throws in the final 17.2 seconds.
Nebraska’s defense held Penn State to just one field goal in the final 2:51, as the Nittany Lions shot just 36 percent, but used a 46-32 advantage on the glass and a 17-4 advantage in second-chance points to stay in the contest.
Josh Reaves led four Nittany Lions (7-9, 0-5 Big Ten) in double figures with 20 points, including four 3-pointers, while Lamar Stevens and Myles Dread added 13 apiece.
The first 20 minutes was closely contested, as neither team led by more than five points and NU took a 33-31 lead into the locker room. Nebraska shot 48 percent from the floor, including 6-of-11 from 3-point range, but Penn State hung around by outscoring the Huskers, 5-0, on second-chance points and going 4-of-7 from the line, while NU got to the line just twice in the opening 20 minutes.
Nebraska trailed 19-14 with 9:14 left in the half before the Huskers rallied. Roby had five of his 10 first-half points in the surge, tying the game at 21.
PSU would eventually push the margin to 26-23 before Thomas Allen single-handedly keyed a run with seven straight points, as NU pushed the margin to 30-26 after a steal and layup with 3:18 left in the half.
PSU would run off five straight points, taking a 31-30 lead on a Reaves 3-pointer, as he scored 11 first-half points. Nebraska would answer behind a banked-in 3-pointer from Watson to give the Huskers a two-point lead going into the locker room.
Nebraska stretched the two-point halftime lead to four after a Watson basket, but PSU went on an 8-1 run, as consecutive 3-pointers from Reaves gave the Nittany Lions a three-point lead and forced a timeout with 17:06 left.
Nebraska then regained the lead with an 8-2 run of its own, as Watson’s 3-pointer gave the hosts a 44-41 lead with 14:35 left. From there, neither team could pull away, as their team led by more than five points until the final 15 seconds.
Nebraska returns to action on Monday, Jan. 14, as the Huskers travel to Indiana. Tipoff is slated for 5:30 p.m. (central) and will be carried on the Husker Sports Network and on FS1.