The Nebraska men’s basketball team’s push for an NCAA tournament ran into a bump in the road.
Leon Black scored a career-high 28 points and added seven rebounds, and host Illinois won 72-66 Sunday, ending the Cornhuskers’ six-game winning streak.
The Huskers had also won their previous three Big Ten road games. But Sunday, they trailed 43-36 at halftime, then couldn’t stop Black after taking the lead in the second half.
“We had just kind of gone to sleep [in the first half],” coach Tim Miles said. “We hadn’t practiced that great coming in and we played that way.”
Black scored 17 points in 12 minutes in the first half, including a stretch in which he made seven consecutive field goals.
“My teammates were finding me in all the right spots,” Black said. “I had a lot of open shots. They were looking for me and getting me the ball.”
There were six ties and nine lead changes during the game, but the deciding basket came from Black. He nailed a turnaround, fadeaway jumper with two minutes left that put the Illini ahead by three.
Illinois (13-15, 3-12 Big Ten) shot 62 percent from the field in the first half.
Isaac Copeland scored 17 points for Nebraska (20-9, 11-5), which lost for the only the second time in 10 games. Glynn Watson scored three points on 1-for-9 shooting.