Iowa looked shaky at times but Hawkeyes coach Fran McCaffery will take the win.
Devyn Marble had 15 points and eight rebounds, and No. 22 Iowa opened its Big Ten season with a win for the first time since 2006 with a 67-57 victory over Nebraska on Tuesday night in Iowa City.
Aaron White scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half for the Hawkeyes (12-2, 1-0), who led by as many as 20 points in the second half.
For McCaffery, the late struggle doesn't matter. Iowa preserved the win and he knows the Big Ten gauntlet continues on Sunday with No. 4 Wisconsin.
"You watch the Big Ten today and it's just brutal," McCaffery said. "I think you feel good about any Big Ten win. When you look at this league, there is no relief anywhere, there is just none. Whether you're at home, no matter who you're playing."
Terran Petteway had 20 points and 12 rebounds for Nebraska (8-5, 0-1), which shot a season-low 29.9 percent from the field as it lost its 14th straight game to a ranked opponent.
White's breakaway two-handed dunk put the Hawkeyes ahead 55-35 with 8:16 left – the biggest lead of the game.
Nebraska stormed back with a 20-5 run, capped off by Petteway's 3-pointer with 1:45 left to cut the deficit to 60-55.
Nebraska got the ball back after an Iowa free throw, but Deverell Biggs' pass deflected off the rim for a turnover.
The Hawkeyes – who missed 17 free throws in the game – hit 7 of 10 from the line in the final 2 minutes to secure the win.
No. 3 Ohio St. 78, Purdue 69: LaQuinton Ross had 25 points and 12 rebounds, both career bests, and Shannon Scott added a career-high 18 points to lead visiting Ohio State past Purdue in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
The Buckeyes (14-0) matched the fourth-best start in school history.
A.J. Hammons led Purdue (10-4) with 18 points, 16 rebounds, five blocks and four assists in the Boilermakers' first home loss. Ronnie Jonson added 16 points for Purdue.
Ohio State took a 34-33 halftime lead on a buzzer-beating layup by Lenzelle Smith Jr., then struggled to pull away until the final 12½ minutes. The Buckeyes broke a 46-46 tie with six straight points. Scott and Ross accounted for all of the points in a decisive 10-2 run.
No. 5 Michigan St. 79, Penn St. 63: Branden Dawson scored 20 points and Keith Appling had 14 for visiting Michigan State in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
Gary Harris added 13 points and Travis Tice had 12 for the Spartans (12-1, 1-0). Dawson led a second-half charge to help the Spartans rally from a halftime deficit and win their fifth straight game.
The Spartans were in total control in the second half, and hit 10 of 20 3-pointers overall.
Brandon Taylor had 18 points for the Nittany Lions (9-5, 0-1) and D.J. Newbill scored 17. Newbill had three 3s and 14 points in the first half.