After a thrilling win over the Cougars last night, Hoiberg and the Huskers looked to win their fourth straight, this time taking on the George Mason Patriots. The Patriots sat at 6-1 coming into the game.
After one of their best games from behind the arc last night, Nebraska would hope to continue to have the heat in the Cayman Islands Classic.
Out of the five Huskers in double figures last night, it was Dachon Burke that was the least efficient shooting. He clearly wanted to change that early in this game.
After the Patriots scored the opening bucket after three offensive rebounds, Burke canned a three-pointer. Unfortunately, it wasn’t so hot after that. For the next four minutes, the only offense the Huskers could muster was a pair of free throws from Burke.
That stretch included plenty of misses, but also four turnovers, three of them from Hoiberg’s point-man Cam Mack. Luckily, the island waters were messing with GMU as well, as the Patriots would only get the lead out to seven in that span, leading 12-5 with U15 to go.
It was then that Burke remembered he had something to prove this game. He went on a personal 7-2 run over the next couple minutes, capped off by his second three-pointer. That was part of a larger 11-2 that continued until the ten-minute mark of the game.
For those following along, that means Burke scored the Huskers first 12 points, while Matej Kavas and Jervay Green got them to 16 on back to back layups. Huskers take their first lead, up two with ten left in the half.
That’s when the Patriots went on a run of their own, a 10-0 spree in two minutes, helped by two turnovers and a miss from Burke. Huskers trail 24-16 with under eight to go.
Matej Kavas would score five straight from the free throw line for Nebraska, but a George Mason three in between kept that margin at six.
A back-and-forth trading of threes and layups (the Hoiberg way!) kept Nebraska at arms’ length, but a short burst from George Mason within the final fur minutes gave them their largest lead of the game at 11.
A Haanif Cheatham layup a minute before the end of the first half cut it to a single digit lead at halftime. Huskers trail, 37-28. They are going to need a similar second half as last night to pull out this one.
The forecast looked cloudy for that when the Patriots hit a three right out of the gates, extending the lead to 12 in a flash. The lead would grow to 15 within the first two minutes of the half, with GMU up 45-30.
The contest looked to be settling into the range of an 11-15 point lead, until Kevin Cross hit a three and followed that up with another jumper to come within nine. Cheatham helped him out on the next possession with a three. Huskers down six with 15 minutes to play.
Five minutes would go past and the lead remained the same. While it got back up to 15 in that stretch, the Huskers just couldn’t get any closer than six points. And when Jamal Hartwell II hit a three-pointer to give himself 23 and put the Pats up 60-51 with 11 minutes left, the Huskers were never able to get back within six points.
The Huskers would score just over a point a minute to close the game, while the Patriots were scoring over two. Doesn’t sound like much, but the result is an 85-66 win for the Patriots, and the end of the Huskers’ dreams of a Cayman Classic Championship.
Remember how Dachon Burke scored the first 12 points for the Huskers? He finished the game with 14, those last two coming on a dunk with 26 seconds left. Nebraska’s night went with him. As did the one-game streak of hot shooting, as Nebraska was 10-30 from behind the line tonight. One more make on 12 more attempts than last night.
Huskers will play USF (South Florida Bulls) tomorrow for a consolation finish at 4 P.M. CST.