Hurrdat Sports

↓ The Local Coverage You Need ↓

Hail Varsity
Mavericks All Access
Bluejay Breakdown
NEB Preps
NEB Pros

Huskers Fall To Illinois in Big Ten Semifinals

by Mar 16, 2024Nebraska Mens Basketball

Huskers Fall To Illinois in Big Ten Semifinals
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

MINNEAPOLIS — Nebraska men’s basketball fell 98-87 to Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals Saturday. 

It was a tale of two halves for the Huskers and Terrence Shannon Jr. put on a show for the Illini. 

Shannon set the Big Ten Tournament single-game scoring record with 40 points. The previous record (35) was set by Northwestern’s Michael Thompson in 2011.

The 98 points were the most Nebraska has given up this season. 

Nebraska entered the game 64-5 since 2010-11 when leading by 11 points or more at the half. The losses were at Minnesota this season, against Northwestern in the 2022 Big Ten Tournament, against Penn State in the 2021 Big Ten Tournament, at home to Michigan State in February of 2023 and at home against Southern Utah on Nov. 9, 2019. 


Nebraska was without C.J. Wilcher due to an illness. His absence and front-court foul trouble created some rotation issues for Coach Fred Hoiberg to sort through.

“He was throwing up after the game last night,” Hoiberg said. “That carried over, didn’t give him much rest. Unfortunately, he just wasn’t able to go. He was feeling pretty miserable; you could see it in his face and his eyes. He didn’t get any sleep last night. So we wanted to play it smart. He’s been awesome for us all year. Obviously it shortened our rotation. Again, it leads to the fatigue that we had in that second half, when you take one of your main guys out of the lineup.” 

Rienk Mast started the game scoring the first five points for Nebraska and finished the first half scoring a team-high 13. Nebraska dominated the first half, beating Illinois in nearly every statistical category while shooting 58% from the field. The Huskers held an 11-point lead at the break and led by as much as 15 one minute into the second half.

However, Mast scored just two points after halftime. he picked up two fouls in the first half then added a third early in the second half. Josiah Allick also picked up two first-half fouls, which led to Hoiberg calling on freshman Matar Diop to play real rotation minutes.

“We got that thing up to 15 right away,” Hoiberg said. “It was great. Forced them into a timeout. It just became a foul-fest. They got to the line on multiple occasions, and that just kind of takes the flow out of the game, our taking the ball out of the net.”

In the second half the fouls piled up and the Huskers shot only 36% from the field. Brice Williams finished with a team-high 23 points but shot just 4-for-12 after halftime. Keisei Tominaga finished with 18 points but it took him 18 field goal attempts as he shot just 2-for-9 from 3.

“It was just one of those things where we just had it flowing so well,” Hoiberg said. “When you start taking the ball out of the net like we did, that gives them rhythm and momentum and confidence, and they took advantage of it.”

Moving On

There has been a lot of firsts with this Nebraska team and playing the in the program’s first Big Ten Tournament semifinal is great, but the Huskers have bigger fish to fry.

“We’re going to learn from this one and start focusing on whoever our opponent will be, and we’ll know that tomorrow at probably 5:30 or 6,” Hoiberg said. “Coaches will get in the film room and start working on the game plan, and we’ll get the guys in there and present a first look to them and start working that way.”

Next week will be a chance for another first, the first NCAA Tournament win in school history.

“We’re going to play a great team next week, and we’ll need everybody,” Hoiberg said. “They’re all on board. They’re ready to go and ready to start preparing, and we’ll get back to work on Monday.

You May Also Like

2024 Nebraska Men’s Basketball Offseason Tracker

2024 Nebraska Men’s Basketball Offseason Tracker

The 2023-24 Nebraska men's basketball season came to an end in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, but there's no such thing as a true offseason in college basketball these days. Coach Fred Hoiberg and his staff are already hard at work building the roster to make...

Cedar Falls Sophomore Gerdes Building Relationship With Huskers

Cedar Falls Sophomore Gerdes Building Relationship With Huskers

William Gerdes, one of the top high school prospects in Iowa, has a budding relationship with Nebraska.  Nebraska was the first to offer Gerdes, a 2026 forward from Cedar Falls High School, a scholarship in November, and Hail Varsity caught up with him at a recent AAU...

William Kyle III Visits Nebraska

William Kyle III Visits Nebraska

William Kyle III is one of the most sought-after names in the Division I transfer portal. After two seasons at South Dakota State during which the 6-foot-9, 230-pound forward developed into a first-team All-Summit performer, Summit League Defensive Player of the Year...