EVANSTON, Ill. -- Terran Petteway scored 17 points, and Nebraska overcame a slow start to beat Northwestern 53-49 on Saturday.

Walter Pitchford added 15 points, nailing three 3-pointers, and the Cornhuskers (12-10, 4-6 Big Ten) picked themselves up after getting blown out by Michigan earlier in the week.

They trailed by six after an ugly first half and blew an eight-point lead late in the second but managed to pull this one out.

Northwestern (12-12, 5-6) had just scored eight straight to tie it at 44 when Pitchford hit two free throws and a 3 to make it a five-point game with 2:25 left.

Then, after two free throws by the Wildcats' JerShon Cobb, Petteway nailed a 3 with 22 seconds left to make it a six-point game. Northwestern's Sanjay Lumpkin answered with one of his own, but the Cornhuskers hung on.

Petteway hit just 5 of 16 shots and committed five turnovers. But he also grabbed eight rebounds and helped contain Drew Crawford.

Pitchford was 3 of 4 from long range, and the Cornhuskers wound up shooting 40.4 percent in the game after a horrible start.

Cobb scored 14 for Northwestern, which had won five of seven. Crawford finished with 13 points but was just 4 of 13 from the field. He also turned the ball over five times.

Even so, he led the charge as Northwestern wiped out a 44-36 deficit late in the game.

Crawford hit back-to-back 3s and Demps tied it on a layup with just less than 4 minutes left. But Pitchford and Petteway came through down the stretch for Nebraska.

The Cornhuskers appeared on their way to a loss trailing 22-16 at the half.

The 16 points were a season low in a half. They were just 6 of 24 from the field while missing 9 of 11 3-pointers. Petteway, who came in averaging 17.5 points, hit just 1 of 7 shots and committed four turnovers.

Northwestern had its issues, too, shooting just over 38 percent.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.