Northwestern looked to be in major trouble following the announcement of an indefinite injury to center Alex Olah.
Well, there might not be reason to worry after a breakout performance from freshman big man Dererk Pardon in Wednesday's win over Nebraska.
Pardon, playing in just his second college game, was magnificent in the Wildcats' Big Ten opener, scoring 26 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, as Northwestern grabbed a road win in Lincoln, 81-72.
Both teams shot well on the game, with Northwestern shooting 50 percent from the field on the day and shooting 55.2 percent in the second half. The first-half was a 3-point bonanza, with the Huskers hitting seven 3s and the Cats hitting five. Aaron Falzon had three triples in the first half as the Cats went to the break trailing, 38-35.
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Nebraska raced out to a 12-point lead at the start of the second half, coming out of halftime on a 13-4 run. But the Cats punched back. After Scottie Lindsey and Tre Demps sandwiched 3-pointers around an Andrew White triple, Northwestern used a 13-4 run to tie the game at 60, getting seven points from Pardon during the stretch and 3-pointers from Falzon and Lindsey, the latter tying the game. Demps hit a game-tying triple shortly thereafter, and a Pardon putback dunk gave the Cats their first lead of the second half with four minutes to play. Pardon scored six of the next eight points for Northwestern, and free throws put the game away.
The Cats not only shot extremely well but were dominant on the boards, out-rebounding the Huskers, 40-25.
Pardon wowed with his 28 points, and Northwestern got 17 points from Demps, 12 from Falzon and 11 from Bryant McIntosh.
White was terrific for Nebraska, scoring 22 points. Benny Parker scored 17, and Tai Webster had 11.
The win to open conference play boosted the Cats' record to 13-1 on the season. Next up is a home game against Maryland on Saturday night.
The loss sent the Huskers to 8-6. They get Indiana on Saturday.