Thorir Thorbjarnarson hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions late in the second half to lead Nebraska to a 76-70 win over Iowa on Tuesday night in Lincoln, Neb.
Thorbjarnson, a junior guard, tied a career high with 17 points on 6 of 9 shooting including 3 of 6 from deep. His triple with 5:03 left broke a 59-all tie, then 53 seconds later he drained another longball to give the Cornhuskers (7-8, 2-2 Big Ten) a 65-61 edge with 4:10 to go.
It was the fourth consecutive loss at Pinnacle Bank Arena for Iowa (10-5, 1-3), which was playing away from home for the eighth time in 10 games. The Hawkeyes’ fate was sealed from outside, where the absence of sharpshooter CJ Fredrick was noticeable.
Fredrick, a freshman guard who was shooting 50 percent from three, was ruled out with a stress reaction in his left foot. Without him, Iowa went 4 of 33 from beyond the arc compared to 63.6 percent (28 of 44) on two-pointers.
Iowa, which trailed by as many as 12 in the first half, took its only lead at 51-50 with 12:41 to go on a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Joe Wieskamp. Wieskamp had a game-high 21 points but needed 23 shots to do it, going 1-for-10 from deep.
Four straight points by Nebraska freshman guard Kevin Cross Jr. put the Huskers back up 54-51 with 10:46 to go. The Hawkeyes tied it at 59 on a Wieskamp jumper with 5:20 left before Thorbjarnarson’s back-to-back 3s.
Five players scored in double figures for Nebraska, which shot 49.1 percent after shooting only 39.7 percent in its first three Big Ten games. Sophomore guard Cameron Mack had 15 points and 10 assists.
Iowa put itself in a hole early by settling for perimeter shots, missing 12 straight 3s at one point to fall behind 23-11 with 8:03 left in the first half. The Hawkeyes started going inside, though, and scored 16 points over the next 4:19 to get within 30-27 with 3:23 left before trailing 38-31 at halftime.
Despite a distinct size advantage that led to 52-26 in points in the paint, the Hawkeyes only took five free throws after averaging more than 22 over their first 14 games. Junior center Luka Garza had 16 points and 18 rebounds for his ninth double-double, becoming the 27th player in school history with 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.
—Field Level Media