In Nebraska’s 72-56 loss to Illinois Tuesday night, big man Derrick Walker fouled out in 23 minutes. He was whistled for 3 fouls in the second half, limiting him to just 9 minutes on the floor.

Not so coincidentally, Illinois used the second half to pull away from the Huskers and win a game that was a little closer than the score indicated. The Illini had just a 1-point lead going into the locker room at halftime on their home court. Nebraska, already decimated by injuries to key players in the starting unit, wilted without Walker.

The Huskers were outscored 34-19 in the second half, made only 28% of their shots, and turned the basketball over 13 times.

“We’re just lost without Derrick on the floor right now,” coach Fred Hoiberg said after the game, per The Omaha World-Herald’s Sam McKewon.

Walker and Sam Hoiberg — a freshman guard who was held scoreless in 11 minutes Tuesday — were the only Huskers to finish with a positive plus/minus in the box score. Nebraska was outscored by 19 points in Wilhelm Breidenbach’s 10 minutes on the floor, and it was outscored by 12 in Keita Blaise’s 11 minutes.

Hoiberg certainly would have liked to have Walker on the floor more in the game’s final 20 minutes, and he expressed frustration with the way the game was officiated after it had ended.

“I thought a couple were really ticky-tack calls on him,” Hoiberg said, per McKewon. “It’s just so unfortunate that stars in this league get a lot of calls, but it’s not true for Derrick.”

The Huskers are 10-13 now on the season, losers of 4 straight. They’ll host Penn State on Sunday (3:30 p.m. tip).