Nebraska is 7-0 for the first time since 1992-93. It is just the fifth time in school history Nebraska has started with seven consecutive wins.
Sunday, the Huskers made a season-high 12 3-pointers in an 86-72 win over Cal State Fullerton.
Rienk Mast had a team-high 19 points and nine rebounds. Four other Huskers scored in double figures: Keisei Tominaga with 17, Brice Williams with 14, Juwan Gary with 13 and Jamarques Lawrence with 11.
Here are three takeaways from the win.
Giving up 72 points at home to a Fullerton team that was 2-3 heading into Sunday wasn’t the recipe for success if you had asked Coach Fred Hoiberg before the game.
“We’ve got a lot to work on in our off week here,” Hoiberg said. “Now it’s about getting back to what we were doing earlier, especially on the defensive end. I just feel like we’ve lost our edge a little bit on that side of the floor.”
Nebraska gave up 30 points to Fullerton guard Max Jones, The senior guard came into the game averaging 16.2 points and shooting just under 30% from 3-point range. Sunday he was 5-of-7 from beyond the arc.
Jones scored 19 of his 30 in the first half. It was a bit of a halftime adjustment switching Juwan Gary and Brice Williams on Jones as the primary defenders in the second half that helped.
“We put a bigger guy on [Jones]. We started with Brice on him and then Juwan pretty much had him the rest of the game. He just was going right through our chest,” Hoiberg said. “He’s a heck of a player. He’s physical, he’s big, he’s strong. He exposed us tonight … It’s great to have the luxury of Juwan and Brice at 6-7 and 6-8 that can really get out there and defend a perimeter player like that.”
Sunday was the third straight game Jamarques Lawrence has played where he didn’t commit a turnover.
Lawrence had a season-high six assists and finished with a season-high 11 points Sunday. His previous career high in assists was four (three times) and he’s had 12 total assists in the last three games.
Lawrence’s ability to transition to a more of the lead guard role this season has been key to the success of the Huskers. In the eight games, his assist-to-turnover ratio is 2.3.
“I was really pleased with Jamarques’s pace tonight,” Hoiberg said. “I didn’t think we ran with him well enough in the first half but we talked about getting some transition baskets and I thought we could have exposed them a little bit in transition. We did get some good looks when we got the ball down the floor. I thought we ran better in the second half even though we had a bit of a lull around the 10-minute mark. Overall I’ve been really pleased with Jamarques. His shift from off-the-ball mentality to now having to get us into an offense, I’ve been really impressed with how he’s handled all that.”
As a team, Nebraska had 18 assists and nine turnovers. It’s the third game in a row Nebraska has had a 2-to-1 or better assist-to-turnover ratio.
That lull was a 4:35 scoring drought after Lawrence limped off the court with a lower leg injury. He would later return to the game, which is a positive for the Huskers. The week off before their next game is certainly coming at the right time.
“It’s an important week for us and first of all for recovery,” Hoiberg said. “We have a couple guys dealing with some nagging injuries. We played a lot of games in a short amount of time in the early portion of this season.”
Keisei Tominaga was a perfect 5-of-5 from the field including 3-of-3 from behind the arc. Rienk Mast didn’t miss from 3 in his three attempts Sunday.
If Tominaga and Mast can combine to score 36 points, grab 13 rebounds and only miss a combined four shots, Nebraska will be dangerous offensively in the weeks ahead.
Mast’s ability to step out and not just take but make shots behind the arc is something that is looking to be a perfect fit for the Hoiberg read-and-react five-out spaced offense.
“There’s a lot of flow in the offense, a lot of freedom,” Mast said. “Especially with me being able to handle the ball and know what to look for. Today we played against a team where the bigs mostly dropped, so I knew there was some space on top, and I think most of my 3s were within the elbows at the top. Coach is really good at creating openings where different guys can play to their strengths. I guess today was my day where I could get a couple open looks, and luckily, I knocked them down.”