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Nebraska powers past Florida State 75-58 in a dominant fashion

The Huskers pick up a key non-conference win over a Power-Six program for first time since 2019

NCAA Basketball: ESPN Events Invitational Florida State vs Nebraska Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

The Nebraska Cornhuskers ended the ESPN Events Invitational on a positive note Sunday night in a key non-conference must win for the team. The Huskers defeated Florida State 75-58 to end the tournament 1-2 and move to 3-3 on the season overall.

Five Huskers finished in double digits for scoring led by Derrick Walker’s double-double. Walker scored 20 points and grabbed 13 boards while dishing a second-most four assists for the squad. The senior big man went 10-of-12 from the field and also finished +24 in the final stat sheet.

Sam Griesel, Keise Tominaga, and CJ Wilcher all finished with 13 points while Juwan Gary added 10. Griesel led the team in assists and fell just shy of a double-double with nine while ranking second best in the +/- column at 16. He and Tominaga were second on the team in steals with two while Gary led with three. Wilcher went 3-for-6 from three-point range as well.

Nebraska got off to a rough start in the first half, giving up 11 turnovers total, but Florida State was only able to convert eight points off of them. By comparison, UNL was able to get 10 points off 14 turnovers by the Seminoles. A strong rebounding effort led to FSU only grabbing two offensive rebounds and thus limiting the Seminoles to just two second chance points while the Huskers grabbed eight in the first half for four points.

UNL got off to a good start, immediately jumping out to a three-point lead on its opening possession. While the teams traded the lead back and forth and tied it up twice, neither was able to gain an advantage early. By the first media timeout it was 11-9 Florida State in the lead.

Coming out of the timeout, the Seminoles were able to push its lead out to as much as six, leading 15-9 on a dunk by Naheem Mcleod at the 13:10 mark. Nebraska ripped off a 10-0 run from there interrupted only by the second media timeout following Walker’s layup that started the run and later a timeout by FSU after Walker’s driving layup with 9:25 left opened up a Husker lead.

Florida State was finally able to stop the run and even tie it up with back to back layups to make it 19-19 with 7:38 remaining. The teams traded the lead back and forth through the next media timeout and beyond. However, the Seminoles briefly seized a three-point lead with 5:26 remaining but lost it for the final time on a Wilcher three with 5:14 remaining to tie it back up. Caleb Mills managed to tie it at 26-26 with 3:44 left, but the Huskers quickly scored and never looked back again.

The second half opened with Florida State making a dent in the Husker lead, twice cutting it to five in the first three minutes. Nebraska went on a 11-2 from there and Florida State was never within single digits again.

Nebraska twice led by 18 before Florida State was able to make a final push. Powered by an 8-0 capped off by a three by Cam’ron Fletcher, the Seminoles made it 59-49 Nebraska with 7:56 remaining. The Huskers mounted a 12-2 run to push the lead out to 20, up 71-51 with 3:39 remaining.

Nebraska finished the game strong on a 5-of-7 streak for field goals while Florida State missed its last four and was just 1-of-7 on its final attempts. The team also performed strongly in the paint, scoring 50 of its 75 points (21-of-31 shooting on layups) and 17 points came from bench players as well.

The win was an important one for Nebraska if the program wants to improve on the recent seasons. It marked just the second under head coach Fred Hoiberg over a Power-Six foe in the non-conference portion of the schedule. The only other win against such an opponent came in his first season in an 82-71 victory over Washington State as part of the Cayman Islands Classic.

The Huskers return to the court next against a second-straight ACC opponent. Nebraska hosts Boston College Wednesday as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Tipoff is set for 8:15 p.m. Central Time with the game airing on ESPNU.