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Huskers Hammer Hoosiers; Will Play Illini in Big Ten Semis

by Mar 16, 2024Nebraska Mens Basketball

Huskers Hammer Hoosiers; Will Play Illini in Big Ten Semis
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

MINNEAPOLIS — Nebraska men’s basketball didn’t just defeat Indiana in the Big Ten Quarterfinals, the Huskers hammered the Hoosiers 93-66 in the nightcap Friday in Minneapolis. 

The win improves Nebraska to 23-9 on the season and sends the Huskers to the Big Ten Conference Semifinals for the first time in program history. Nebraska was last in a conference tournament semifinal in 2006 back in the Big 12. 

The 27-point win over Indiana is Nebraska’s largest margin of victory in a conference tournament win in school history. The previous record was a 23-point win (94-71) over Iowa State in a first-round Big Eight game in 1983.

“I thought we played with great confidence, that’s what I really liked,” Coach Fred Hoiberg said. “This game is always tough; you’ve got butterflies, especially with the late game. We sat around the hotel all day long. We tried to get activities. We had a 9 a.m. shoot-around. We were getting ready to go to the game, I told my staff, ‘Hell, it feels like that shoot-around was two days ago.'”

Key Stretches

The Huskers got off to a bit of a slow start, but Brice Williams stepped up big-time for Nebraska, scoring back-to-back 3-pointers to give Nebraska a 6-2 lead early. 

Williams scored the Husker’s first eight points and he finished the first half with 14 on 5-of-7 shooting including 4-of-5 from 3-point range. 

Late in the second half, it was Tominaga time

Nebraska finished the first half on a 17-0 run in the final three minutes. Keisei Tominaga finished the first half 7-of-10 from the field and 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, including one at the buzzer. In total, Nebraska made 12 3-pointers in the first half on 20 attempts, a 60% clip.

Nebraska’s 50 first-half points were the Huskers’ second straight game hitting that mark in the first 20 minutes after leading Michigan 50-43 at halftime last Sunday in Ann Arbor.

“I was really pleased how our guys found Keisei with the little heater he had there in the last 10 minutes of the first half,” Hoiberg said. “Then we found a little formula. They were a little sluggish in the second, but we didn’t want to duplicate what happened in Bloomington where they cut a 20-point halftime lead all the way down to three in about nine minutes. Good job by our guys coming out and extending the lead a little bit. Again, everybody that stepped on the floor made a contribution. That’s what it’s all about.”

Tominaga finished with 23 points and five assists while Williams matched him with 23 points including a perfect 9-for-9 at the foul line. Jamarques Lawrence poured in 15 points off the bench, shooting 5-of-6 from the field including 3-of-4 from deep and 2-of-3 from the line. The sophomore has now scored in double figures in five of his last nine after doing so just five times in his first 23 games.

Keep Making History

The 23 wins this season are the second-most single-season wins in school history, trailing only the 26-win season in 1990-91.

Nebraska’s victory marked its first win in a Big Ten Tournament contest since 2019.

The win completed a three-game sweep of Indiana, marking the first time Nebraska has defeated a team three times in one season since sweeping three games from Rutgers in 2015-16.

The 14 made 3-pointers versus Indiana is the most Nebraska has made in a conference tournament game in school history. The previous high was 11 against Maryland in 2016. 

No. 3 Nebraska now plays No. 2 Illinois in the semifinals with tipoff set for 2:30 central time on CBS. It is the first time Nebraska has been on CBS for a nationally televised game since playing Kansas on the network in 2002.

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