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IU loses home finale to Nebraska

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For more on college sports, follow Pete DiPrimio via Twitter at www.twitter.com/pdiprimio

Hoosiers fade down the stretch

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - 11:02 pm

BLOOMINGTON – Forget the NCAA Tourney.

At least from an at-large perspective.

Indiana lost to Nebraska and missed out on a chance to make a NCAA Selection Committee impression.

Wednesday night's 70-60 loss jolted what had been a surging Hoosier team coming off consecutive top-25 upsets. They forged a 52-52 tie with 10 minutes left and then buckled.

At Assembly Hall.

"When Indiana tied the game," Nebraska coach Tim Miles said, "we could have gone south, but we didn't. You could see the look in our players' eyes. We played awesome in the last eight minutes. When things got stress, we got over it quickly."

IU never got over it. It fell to 17-13 overall, 7-10 in the Big Ten.

"Offensively and defensively," senior Will Sheehey said, "we didn't play with the same swagger and edge we usually do. Defensively we made mistakes. Offensively the ball didn't move."

Nebraska, which has won nine of its last 11 games, including a sweep of IU, is 18-11, 10-7.

Sheehey had 13 points and four rebounds in his last regular season home game. Freshman Troy Williams led with 18 points and six rebounds. Sophomore guard Yogi Ferrell had 10 points, a career-high-tying eight rebounds and five assists.

It wasn't enough.

With forward Noah Vonleh missing his second straight game with an inflamed left foot, Nebraska punished Indiana at every opportunity. It squeezed off the pain with a zone. It staggered the Hoosiers with some clutch three-pointers.

The Cornhuskers' Walter Pitchford and Shavon Shields took advantage to score 17 points each.

The Hoosiers couldn't overcome the shooting disparity. They shot 36.7 percent overall, and were just 5-for-21 from three-point range.

Nebraska was at 45.5 percent and was 6-for-17 from beyond the arc.

Nebraska's Pitchford was a one-man offense early. He reached his season scoring average in four minutes, getting the Cornhuskers' first nine points. They jumped to leads of 9-3 and 15-7.

IU fired from three-point range, with no early success. It opened 0-for-7 from beyond the arc, 6-for-10 inside of it.

Nebraska, meanwhile, shot 50 percent in the first half, built an 18-14 rebound edge and led 34-26 at halftime.

The Hoosiers started the second half attacking the basket. Nebraska just attacked, scoring inside and out. It built an 11-point lead.

The Hoosiers inched to within eight, then get hot. Sheehey hit a three-pointer. Devin Davis completed a three-point play. Ferrell drove for a layup. Sheehey hit another three. With 10 minutes left, it was a 52-52 tie.

The Cornhuskers edged ahead by four. IU edged back within one, at 59-58, with two minutes left.

It never got any closer.

The Hoosiers will end the regular season on Saturday at Big Ten champion Michigan.