While the college football season ended Monday, college basketball took center stage Tuesday — immediately after its top two teams suffered upsets at the hands of unranked opponents.
No. 1 Purdue fell 88-72 at Nebraska, while No. 2 Houston lost its season opener 57-53 at Iowa State.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, it was the first time since Feb. 6, 2016, that the top two teams in the AP Men's College Basketball Poll lost to unranked opponents on the same day, and only the eighth time in the poll's history.
The Boilermakers entered Tuesday on a seven-game winning streak, including wins over Arizona, Illinois and Alabama. But Nebraska matched them shot by shot in the first half and finished the opening period on a 13-0 run, leading by 11 at halftime.
Purdue cut into Nebraska's lead within the first six minutes of the second half, but the Cornhuskers immediately responded with a 14-2 run to take its largest lead of the game with 11:53 remaining. Purdue never got closer than six points the rest of the game, and Nebraska went on an 11-2 run.
“That was the difference in the game,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said of Nebraska's halftime lead. “We had a couple of good fights in the second half to pull within single digits there, one time we got it to two and then they pushed it to double digits.”
The Cornhuskers shot 14-of-23 from 3-point range as a team, with seven players making a shot from behind the arc. Casey Dominaga led the way with 19 points and Rienk Mast had 18 points.
It was Nebraska's first win against an AP No. 1 team since Feb. 6, 1982, and the fourth such win in program history. The first was under coach Jerry Bush on March 3, 1958, grandfather of current coach Fred Hoiberg.
“It doesn't get any bigger than the No. 1 team, the national player of the year,” Mast said. “I see it as a challenge and luckily, the shots were going early and that gave the team a little spark and everyone started to believe.”
Tuesday marked the fourth time in the last two seasons that No. 1-ranked Purdue has lost to an unranked opponent. Last season, the Boilermakers fell to Rutgers and Northwestern. Earlier this season, they lost again at Northwestern.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Purdue became only the second team in AP Poll history to lose multiple games to an unranked No. 1 in 1985-86 and 1986-87.
Earlier in the night, Houston became the last team in men's college basketball to lose a game this season in the Cougars' first conference road game as a member of the Big 12.
Kelvin Sampson's team was quickly introduced to the “Hilton Magic” as the Cyclones jumped out to a 14-0 lead and forced 12 first-half turnovers.
“I don't know if it was the size of Iowa State. It was us,” Sampson said. “We were idle, I don't know what. I wish I had done.”
Iowa State led the entire first half, but a 7-0 Houston run led to a 41-41 tie with 10:48 remaining. Neither team led by more than five points the rest of the way, with Houston taking its only lead of the game on a Jamal Shade jumper with 3:17 left.
With the game tied at 53 in the final minute, Iowa State freshman Milan Momcilovic caught the ball along the left baseline, turned and scored on a contested fadeaway over two Houston defenders. Momcilovic would ice the game with two free throws with 10 seconds left.
“It's important that we come out and set the tone for the game,” Iowa State coach DJ Otzelberger said after the game. “We talked about we have to throw the first punch, we have to be the aggressor, we have to be the tone-setting team. I think we set the tone right away. Sure, there were points in the game. It almost felt like we were hanging on, but I think our guys were able to dig deep. I think it was setting the tone and being the aggressor, and then it was a really connected and determined group of guys.”
Losses to Purdue (14-2) and Houston (14-1) opened the door for No. 3 Kansas (13-1) to return to No. 1, where the Jayhawks open the season. Bill Self's team, which received two first-place votes in this week's AP Top 25 poll, plays at UCF on Wednesday night before Saturday's No. 9 hosts Oklahoma.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.