HUSKER MEN’S BASKETBALL: Nebraska Falls In Season Opener To UC-Riverside

LINCOLN–(NU Athletics Nov. 5)–UC Riverside used hot shooting from the 3-point line and capitalized on Nebraska’s cold shooting to take a 66-47 win, spoiling the debut of new Husker Coach Fred Hoiberg.

The Highlanders went 8-of-15 from 3-point range in the second half to break open a four-point halftime lead. DJ McDonald came off the bench for UC Riverside and had 15 points, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range, to lead four players in double figures.

For Nebraska, sophomore point guard Cam Mack led the Huskers with 11 points and nine rebounds, while Matej Kavas came off the bench to add 10 for Nebraska, which shot just 29 percent, including 6-of-26 from 3-point range.

UC Riverside scorched the nets in the first nine minutes of the second half, hitting 7-of-9 from distance to turn a 32-28 lead into an 18-point advantage at 53-35. McDonald went 3-of-3 from beyond the arc in the run, as the Highlanders took command in that stretch and Nebraska was unable to get within 15 the remainder of the contest.

Dragen Elkaz had 14 points, while George Willborn III finished with 13 points and a game-high 18 rebounds for the winners.

The Huskers got off to a quick start offensively, but could not sustain the momentum as UC Riverside took a 32-28 lead into the break. Despite shooting 35 percent, including 3-of-13 from 3-point range, the Huskers were within striking distance, as they forced nine Highlander turnovers for 10 points.

Nebraska began with a blistering start, hitting six of their first shots from the floor in building a 16-7 lead after a Haanif Cheatham free throw in the first half. The Huskers lead 20-12 after an Yvan Ouedraogo basket, but the Highlanders used a 10-2 run to pull even at 22 all after a Willborn 3-pointer. Consecutive 3-pointers from McDonald and Elkaz stretched the lead to six before Kavas scored four straight points to make it a two-point game before Elkaz’s tip-in beat the first half buzzer.

The Huskers return to action on Saturday afternoon when they host Southern Utah. Tipoff is at 1 p.m. and it will be carried online on BTN+.