Courtesy of Husker Athletics
C.J. Wilcher had a career night, as Nebraska overcame a 19-point deficit to stun No. 6 Wisconsin, 80-72, in overtime Thursday night.
Wilcher matched his career high with 22 points, including five 3-pointers, on 7-of-10 shooting as the junior guard rallied NU back in the final 20 minutes. Wilcher had 12 of his 16 second-half points in a 20-3 spurt as Nebraska erased a 47-29 deficit into a one-point game with 10:48 remaining.
Wilcher’s performance brought a crowd of over 15,000 back to life as the Huskers continued to battle back in the final 10 minutes and in overtime.
The Huskers pulled even at 52-all on a Wilcher jumper with 8:44 left before Max Klesmit got going. The guard hit consecutive 3-pointers and scored 11 of his 13 points in an 11-4 spurt to extend Wisconsin’s cushion to 63-56 with 4:13 remaining.
The Badgers led 65-59 with 3:33 left before the Huskers made another push. NU scored six straight points to tie it at 65-all on a Rienk Mast 3-pointer with 1:03 remaining. The Huskers got a stop on the defensive end and Brice Williams capped the 8-0 run with a pair of free throws with 30.4 seconds left. AJ Storr tied it at 67 and NU had a final chance, but Williams’ jumper was off the mark, sending the game to overtime for the second straight year in Lincoln.
On a night where the Huskers led for less than 10 seconds of regulation, Nebraska (16-6, 6-5 Big Ten) finally took control in overtime. NU trailed 68-67 before Mast’s basket gave NU the lead and the junior forward found Juwan Gary for a 3-point play to make it 72-68 with 3:54 left in overtime.
Storr, who finished with a game-high 28 points for Wisconsin made it a one-point game before Williams’ basket pushed the margin back to three, at 74-71. The Huskers held Wisconsin to 1-of-7 shooting in the extra period and put the game away as a basket by Mast and four Williams free throws provided the final margin.
Mast added 20 points and eight rebounds, while Williams had 17 points and nine rebounds as Nebraska knocked off its second top-10 team of the season.
Wisconsin (16-5, 8-2 Big Ten) shot 55 percent in the first half in building a 16-point lead but was just 11-of-35 (.314) in the final 25 minutes.
Storr was lights out early, scoring the Badgers’ first 10 points while he had 14 points in the first 10:09, as the Badgers raced out to a 27-8 lead less than 10 minutes into the game. The Huskers responded with nine straight points to get back into the contest and pull within 27-17 after a Juwan Gary basket.
NU was within 34-23 before Chucky Hepburn scored seven straight points, the last coming on a 3-point play with 1:34 before halftime to help Wisconsin push the lead back to 18.
Nebraska returns to action this Sunday, Feb. 4 to face No. 14 Illinois in Champaign, Ill. at 5:30 p.m. (CT). The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network and can be heard on the Huskers Radio Network.