On Tuesday, college basketball took over the spotlight following the conclusion of the college football season the day before. The top two teams in the league suffered defeats against unranked opponents as No. 1 Purdue was beaten by Nebraska with a score of 88-72, and No. 2 Houston lost its first game of the season against Iowa State, ending with a score of 57-53.

This occurrence marked the first time since February 6, 2016, that the top two teams in the AP men’s college basketball poll were defeated by unranked opponents on the same day. It was only the eighth occurrence of its kind in the history of the poll, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Purdue, coming off a seven-game winning streak including victories over strong teams like Arizona, Illinois, and Alabama, faced a resilient Nebraska team. Nebraska matched Purdue’s performance in the first half and concluded the opening period with a 13-0 run, securing an 11-point lead at halftime.

Although Purdue reduced Nebraska’s lead to one in the early stages of the second half, the Cornhuskers retaliated promptly with a 14-2 run, establishing their largest lead of the game with 11:53 remaining. Purdue couldn’t close the gap beyond six points for the remainder of the game, and Nebraska finished strongly with an 11-2 run.

Purdue coach Matt Painter highlighted Nebraska’s halftime lead as pivotal: “That was the difference in the game. We had a couple of good fights there in the second half where we pulled within single digits and one time we got it to two, then they pushed it right back to double digits.”

Nebraska exhibited a remarkable performance, shooting 14-for-23 from beyond the arc as a team, with seven players contributing with successful 3-pointers. Keisei Tominaga led with 19 points, followed by Rienk Mast with 18.

This victory marked Nebraska’s first win against an AP No. 1 team since February 6, 1982, and its fourth historic win against such a team in program history. The team’s coach, Fred Hoiberg, is the grandson of Jerry Bush, who achieved his first significant win on March 3, 1958.

For Purdue, this was the fourth instance in the past two seasons where a No. 1-ranked team had succumbed to an unranked opponent. The team’s previous defeats came against Rutgers and Northwestern last season and a loss earlier this season again at Northwestern.

Houston also faced a tough defeat, losing to Iowa State in their first conference road game as a member of the Big 12. Iowa State began the game strongly, leading throughout the first half and causing 12 turnovers for Houston.

Kelvin Sampson, Houston’s coach, acknowledged their slow start: “I don’t know if it was as much Iowa State. It was us. We were just, I don’t know what. I wish I did.”

Despite a 7-0 run by Houston leading to a 41-41 tie with 10:48 remaining, the game remained tight with neither team leading by more than five points. Houston briefly took the lead with a Jamal Shead jumper but couldn’t hold on. In the final moments, Iowa State’s Milan Momcilovic made a critical contested shot over two Houston defenders, securing a two-point lead. Momcilovic then sealed the game with two free throws, securing the victory for Iowa State.

Iowa State coach T.J. Otzelberger praised his team’s initiative in setting the tone: “It was important that we came out and set the tone with the game. We talked about how we need to throw the first punch, we need to be the aggressor… I think it was setting the tone and being the aggressor, and then it was just a group of guys who are connected and had resolve.”

These losses for Purdue (14-2) and Houston (14-1) create an opportunity for No. 3 Kansas (13-1) to potentially claim the top spot in the rankings. Bill Self’s team, which received two first-place votes in this week’s AP Top 25 poll, faces UCF on Wednesday night and hosts No. 9 Oklahoma on Saturday.


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