Nebraska men’s basketball bounced back in a big way, defeating lowly Michigan 79-59 Saturday night in Lincoln.
With the win, the Huskers improved to 7-0 in Big Ten play at home and snapped an eight-game losing streak against Michigan dating back to the 2017-18 season. The Wolverines had won 16 of the 17 previous meetings dating back to when Nebraska joined the Big Ten.
Accepting the Challenge
Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg said he challenged senior forward Josiah Allick to give Nebraska more activity, particularly in helping Nebraska win the offensive rebounding battle after he finished the Northwestern game with zero points and zero rebounds in the loss.
“Yeah, it’s what it’s supposed to look like,” Hoiberg said. “The big lineup paid off. I know it wasn’t very pretty the other night at Northwestern, but I thought Josiah was the guy that really brought it early in that game, and that first possession he goes out and gets two offensive rebounds and just soared out there. It was great to see. I thought that really set the tone for the game, when he went out there early and got us those extra possessions. We really challenged him on doing that.”
It was clear Allick accepted the challenge. In Nebraska’s second possession of the game, Allick grabbed two more offensive rebounds and had a monster dunk over a Wolverine defender to finish off the possession.
“Jo was mad at himself about Northwestern. How he didn’t have any rebounds, so he came out today trying to set the tone,” Nebraska guard Brice Williams said. “He did, he set the tone for the game on the glass, and then the rest of us kind of followed. Jo had something to prove to himself.”
Nebraska started the game hot. The Huskers had just one turnover and Keisei Tominaga had plenty of space to get his shot off in the first half. With 5:21 left in the first half, the Huskers held a 43-13 advantage.
Tominaga had 15 of his game-high 19 points in the first half on 6-of-9 shooting including 3-5 from 3.
“I give Nebraska a lot of credit. They were ready and came out and set the tone early with their offense. They got cuts to the basket and open shots from 3, and we just did a poor job defensively,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said. “We didn’t come out with the energy and effort in the beginning of the game like we needed, especially being on the road. We gave Nebraska confidence in seeing the ball go through the basket whether it was on paint touches or some of their open 3s. Looking at the stat sheet in the first half, Nebraska had 20 points [in the paint] in the first half and that explains that they were the most aggressive team.”
The Huskers did a great job of making the extra pass and sharing the ball, occasionally even turning down good shots for great shots to start the game and later in the second half.
“I really thought we were sharing it early, and got that thing moving around, and our pace was phenomenal,” Hoiberg said.
Numbers to Know
The win marked the fifth time this season that Nebraska snapped a losing streak of seven games or more to one program. The Huskers have also snapped an 11-game losing streak to Michigan State and a seven-game streaks to Kansas State, Indiana and Northwestern.
With the win, the Huskers improved to 17-8, which equals the school’s best 25-game mark since joining the Big Ten (2017-18). The last time Nebraska had a better record in its first 25 games was in 1991-92 (18-7).