LINCOLN–(KFOR Jan. 20)–The Nebraska men’s basketball team had five players score in double figures as they found a way to grab a hard fought 75-69 win against Northwestern Saturday afternoon.
The Huskers over the course of the season has been able to break a few lengthy losing streaks to power opponents: Michigan State at 11 games, and Indiana and Kansas State at seven respectively. Fred Hoiberg and Co. found themselves with another opportunity to end a seven game losing streak to the Wildcats at Pinnacle Bank Arena. In order to do that, the Huskers had to overcome issues that cost them in their two consecutive road losses as well as not having a healthy Juwan Gary.
It was back and forth in the first half as both teams traded buckets. Nebraska seemed to have the edge offensively as they shot 70% from the field in the first 20 minutes but only took a four point lead into the locker room at 39-35. The issues that haunted Nebraska were turnovers as nine of the games 18 of them came in the first half. The Wildcats were able to shoot the three particularly well throughout that first half with Ryan Langborg knocking down three from long range and the team seven of 15.
Josiah Allick, who was back in the starting lineup with Gary out, established himself early and often. The Lincoln North Star graduate had 10 points and five rebounds at the break.
“Basically anytime I cut or set a screen and felt somebody that was below like 6’6”, I was like ‘alright get on the block,’” Allick said. “It’s a credit to everybody else because as soon as the switch happened I was yelling for it and they found me.”
Nebraska got the lead up to 11 twice in the second half but the ‘Cats never shied away from the challenge. A career day from Brooks Barnhizer, who scored 24 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists, kept them in the game. As the lead was whittled down to 65-64, defense became the main focus, something Nebraska had
not executed well in their previous two contests.
“Especially after the Rutgers game it was kinda coming down the stretch in the exact same fashion this one was where we just had to find a way to get a stop,” Allick said. “The biggest thing is understanding that if we’re going to finish this game it’s gonna have to happen on the defensive end.”
The Huskers got the stops when they needed to, especially during their five plus minute scoring drought late in the game, and they also got the offense from a familiar face when they needed it most.
Keisei Tominaga, who was held in check for most of the game, was able to find space to hit a “dagger” three with less than two minutes left in the game making it a two possession margin.
“Ya I don’t know what happened there but I think we executed very well,” Tominaga said. “Somehow, the ball screen guy went to the post and I was like “Ok, I take the shot.’”
Allick and Tominaga were accompanied by three teammates scoring double figures Brice Williams with 12 as well as Jamarques Lawrence and C.J. Wilcher scored 10 respectively.
Head Coach Fred Hoiberg was very clear with his message after the game.
“I told them, we’re not dancing, we’re not pouring water on anybody. We’re moving on and going to have a business-like approach to our practice tomorrow,” Hoiberg said. “I’m happy our guys took care of business today against a really, really good basketball team and found a way to get the job done.”
Nebraska gets a much needed win improving to 14-5 overall and 4-4 in the Big Ten Conference. Next up, the Huskers host Ohio State on Tuesday night at 6 p.m. on Peacock.