A loss is a loss is a loss, no matter if it comes by one point or 19.
Nebraska lost by 19 Saturday night at Purdue, its seventh consecutive defeat and ninth in its last 11 games. It will go down in the record books as no more than that.
But the Huskers, coach Tim Miles said, were able to take some positives away from an 81-62 defeat to the No. 15 Boilermakers in West Lafayette, Indiana.
"I thought our purpose was much better tonight. I thought our guys had a different mental approach, and I thought that showed. I thought we battled very well," Miles said on the Husker Sports Radio Network. "I think the kids played with a better purpose tonight, and a better idea of what we have to do to win."
For a Husker team that had lost six in a row while mired in a deep offensive slump, the matchup certainly wasn't a favorable one. NU came into the game 0-6 all-time in Mackey Arena, with five of the losses by double figures.
But Nebraska (13-11, 3-10 Big Ten) was game, leading for much of the first half, getting to the locker room down 33-31, and tying the game at 33 early in the second half on Isaiah Roby's dunk.
The Huskers, who had made four, three and four three-pointers in their previous three games, finished 10-for-24 from long range. NU still didn't shoot well overall — 38 percent for the game — but considering Nebraska was tied for 350th of 353 Division I teams nationally in field-goal percentage (29 percent) in February games coming in, a 9 percentage point improvement provided maybe a glimmer of hope going forward.
"I think there's a lot of positive teaching points we can take from it," Miles said. "I think (the players) feel bad about the score. But until they can see the tape, see all the positive things they did, and what we can eliminate the next time we see them in a couple weeks here, I think they'll see the path to victory."
Purdue's path to victory, its eighth in a row, was paved with a 14-2 run early in the second half to create some distance. The Boilermakers scored those 14 points in a span of 3 minutes, 12 seconds after Roby's game-tying dunk to open up a 47-35 lead, and the Huskers got no closer than eight the rest of the way.
"I burned my timeout, but it was probably two possessions too late, at least," Miles said of the run. "And that got them on top and allowed them to separate. That one really hurt us."
Purdue (17-6, 10-2) ended the game with a 14-4 run as the Huskers managed two field goals over the game's final five-plus minutes.
Thomas Allen hit five three-pointers and tied his career high with 18 points to lead NU. Allen's five threes were also a career high, and he led Nebraska in scoring for the first time in his career.
Allen came off the bench for the second straight game as Thorir Thorbjarnarson started in his place. His production led to NU scoring 23 bench points, its most in a Big Ten game this season. In fact, the Huskers hit their Big Ten-high in bench points with 11 in the first half.
James Palmer scored 17 for Nebraska, while Isaiah Roby had 10.
Not surprisingly, All-American candidate Carsen Edwards paced the Boilermakers with 27 points.
The big surprise came from senior Grady Eifert, who had the first double-digit game of his 85-game career, going 4-for-4 from the field to score 16 points while grabbing seven rebounds.
Nebraska's season marches on Wednesday, when Minnesota visits Pinnacle Bank Arena.
"No doubt, this was a positive step," Miles said. "If you just measure those things that you can control in terms of attitude, effort, all those things, I thought we did some good things tonight."
— Chris Basnett