LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A cold and minor ear infection weren’t going to limit Andrew White III, not with team captain Shavon Shields on the bench continuing his recovery from a concussion and Nebraska in a rough patch of four losses in its previous five games.
White had career highs with six 3-pointers and 35 points, with 18 coming during a 39-7 run that carried the Cornhuskers to a 70-54 victory over Penn State on Saturday.
White’s big outing came three days after he had 10 in an 11-point loss at Wisconsin.
“The coaches tell me I’m the guy, that I have to lead the team now,” White said. “The coaches were on me just this morning about having to do better based on my performances in practice and the Wisconsin game. They challenged me to have a big game on both ends of the floor because they knew we were going to need a lot out of me to win this game.”
Coach Tim Miles said the pregame conversation with White was short.
“I just said, ‘Drew, this is why we recruited you - this game, this moment. We need you.’ “
Miles said it was apparent that White was a “good listener.”
“He probably could have scored as many as I would have dialed up for him,” Miles said. “We really needed that. He was a real shot in the arm.”
The Huskers (14-12, 6-7 Big Ten) also played a strong defensive game, holding Penn State (12-13, 3-9) to two field goals over 17 ½ minutes spanning the halves while pulling away. Nebraska converted Penn State’s 17 turnovers into 23 points.
Brandon Taylor had 14 points to lead the Nittany Lions.
White finished 11 of 17 from the field, including 6 of 10 on 3s. The Kansas transfer’s previous high of 30 points came Dec. 5 against Abilene Christian.
“You just knew White was going to come out like that,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. “He played terrific. Watching the Wisconsin game, you knew he wouldn’t be held down another game in a row.”
White got the Huskers off to fast starts in the first and second halves. He had 15 points in the first 9 ½ minutes and didn’t score again until he had 12 of Nebraska’s first 14 points of the second half.
Penn State switched from man-to-man defense to a 2-3 zone in the middle of the first half, and that slowed down White and his teammates temporarily. Devin Foster’s 35-foot 3-pointer just before the shot clock expired finished a 12-2 run that put the Nittany Lions up 29-25.
Nebraska scored seven of the last nine points of the half, though. Glynn Watson Jr.’s buzzer-beating 3 sent the Huskers to the locker room with a 32-31 lead.
White said he started coming down with a cold last Monday and had not had much energy all week. He didn’t tell Miles or the assistant coaches he was under the weather.
“I didn’t want to make any excuses coming into this game,” White said. “When your leader (Shields) goes down, you can’t go down with the sniffles.”
Nebraska: For the second straight game, the Huskers started three true freshmen in Michael Jacobson, Glynn Watson and Jack McVeigh. … Jacobson had 10 points and four rebounds in 18 minutes… Jake Hammond had nine points and five rebounds. … The crowd roared when Shields walked out with the team before the game. Shields sustained his concussion last Saturday against Rutgers.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions haven’t won consecutive games since beating Louisiana-Monroe and Drexel in December, the first two games of a three-game win streak. … PSU had won its previous two meetings with Nebraska, including a 68-65 win in the Big Ten tournament.
EARLY 20TH CENTURY UNIFORMS
Nebraska wore uniforms modeled those worn early in the 20th century to honor Wilbur Wood, who lettered from 1908-10 and was the program’s first African-American player. The uniform featured red tones and a cream stripe across the jersey with the classic ‘N’ logo on the chest. The Huskers also will wear the Black History Month uniforms on Wednesday at Indiana and Feb. 25 at Penn State.
Penn State hosts No. 4 Iowa on Wednesday.
Nebraska visits Indiana on Wednesday.
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