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Tuesday was not a good day to be a top-ranked team in men’s college basketball.
First, No. 2 Houston lost to unranked Iowa State 57-53. That alone would have been major news, but unranked Nebraska followed it up with an even more notable upset of No. 1 Purdue.
The Cornhuskers stunned the Boilermakers in an 88-72 victory to improve to 13-3 overall and 3-2 in the Big Ten. Purdue is also 3-2 in the Big Ten and 14-2 overall following its first defeat since Dec. 1.
NCAA March Madness @MarchMadnessMBB
ITS UP IN LINCOLN NEBRASKA RIGHT NOW 🎉@HuskerMBB picks up its first win over an AP No. 1 since 1982!
At this point, it is better to be an unranked team than a ranked one when facing the Boilermakers.
They have victories over Gonzaga, Tennessee, Marquette, Arizona and Illinois on their resume but have now lost to Northwestern and Nebraska in conference games. As long as they continue to stack up impressive wins over ranked teams, they will likely be a No. 1 or 2 seed come Selection Sunday, but they can only afford so many losses if they are going to win the Big Ten.
Nebraska jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first half, but it seemed like the top-ranked visitors were going to complete an inevitable comeback when they pulled within one point with two free throws with fewer than 14 minutes remaining.
However, the Cornhuskers responded with a 14-2 run to seize control and never looked back.
Keisei Tominaga led the home team in scoring with 19 points behind 5-of-9 shooting from three-point range, while Rienk Mast added 18 points, four rebounds and three assists. The Cornhuskers also held Zach Edey to 15 points and seven rebounds.
Now they will look to build on their momentum with a road game against Iowa on Friday, while Purdue returns home to face Penn State on Saturday.