Finally Nebrasketball is back and it came back with a greatly needed win to boost their NCAA tournament resume against Minnesota on the road 91-85. On a night where James Palmer Jr. didn’t play as much with foul trouble, the entire Huskers team really stepped up to grind out a win.
Nebraska started off with a sluggish start, which is natural considering their “bye” week thanks to the new Big Ten scheduling. Minnesota scored seven quick points, as the Huskers missed some easy shots at the rim.
Luckily Isaac Copeland picked up right where he left off against Rutgers and Wisconsin, knocking down his first three and then another one later in the half. Starting with Copeland’s first three, the Huskers responded to Minnesota’s initial run with a 15-5 run, leading 15-12 at the U16 media timeout.
Nebraska shot the lights out after their sluggish start, finishing the half on 8-of-12 shooting behind the arc (67%) and 16-of-27 from the field (59%).
And when I say everyone scored that played in the first half, I mean everyone...well everyone except Evan Taylor. But he made his presence felt in the second half don't worry. No one scored in double digits and seven people scored when Nebraska had 44 points in the first half, talk about a balanced attack.
Minnesota responded well though, cutting down the lead to one point, with Nebraska leading 60-59 at the U12 media timeout. After that media timeout too, it didn’t look good for Nebraska when Palmer committed his fourth foul on a Minnesota and-one.
However, Gophers head coach Richard Pitino received a technical foul that just sucked the life out of “The Barn”. For what it was worth, Pitino freaked out at what was clearly a foul committed by Nate Mason. The technical foul easily could’ve been the turning point in the game.
Every time it seemed like Nebraska was about to pull away, Minnesota would strike back to cut the lead to a one or two possession game, mainly by courtesy of Mason and Jordan Murphy. Mason actually made two three pointers in the final minute to cut the lead to four, and forced a turnover on Watson while pressing. Isaiah Washington missed a three on the turnover which basically sealed a Huskers win.
Roby, after playing just 17 minutes against Wiscy, came to play tonight, scoring 21 points, grabbing eight rebounds, and blocking five shots. The amount of times a Big Ten Network analyst has said, “Isaiah Roby really doesn’t know how much potential he has”, boggles my mind but they are and have been right this entire time. Roby showed everyone tonight.
Nebraska now sits at 18-8 on the season and 9-4 in Big Ten play with five games left, with four of those at home. If the Huskers can manage to win four out of those five, this might be the year they go dancing again...GBR!