LINCOLN–(NU Athletics Nov. 10)–CJ Wilcher scored a career-high 21 points to lead three Huskers in double figures, as Nebraska led wire-to-wire in a 75-61 win over Omaha Thursday night.
Wilcher hit 8-of-12 shots from the field, including four 3-pointers, as Nebraska shot 50 percent and forced 16 Omaha turnovers. Wilcher’s 21 points topped his previous best of 17 against Auburn last December, and marked the second 20-point effort by a Husker in as many games.
Sam Griesel and Emmanuel Bandoumel 18 points apiece for Nebraska, which improved to 2-0 on the season. Bandoumel sparked NU’s 11-0 game-opening run with a pair of 3-pointers, while Griesel went over 1,000 career points in Thursday’s win.
Blaise Keita was one point shy of a double-double, finishing with nine points and 12 boards, as the Huskers held Omaha to 41 percent shooting, including 5-of-17 from 3-point range.
In the first half, the Huskers got off to another strong start, opening the game with an 11-0 run the first 4:16 of the contest after two consecutive 3-pointers from Bandoumel before the visitors got on the scoreboard. Nebraska hit 10 of its first 16 shots from the floor and built a 29-12 lead after a Wilcher putback with 7:56 remaining in the half
Omaha then made a run, scoring 11 straight to get within 29-23 after Marquel Sutton’s basket with 5:13 left in the half. The Mavericks got to within 33-28 but Sam Griesel and Wilcher combined for five straight to push the margin back to 10, at 38-28, before Wilcher’s second 3-pointer of the night gave the Huskers a 41-29 advantage and the Huskers took a 41-31 lead into the break.
Nebraska hit 50 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range as Griesel, Bandoumel and Wilcher combined for 30 first-half points.
Omaha cut the Husker lead to nine twice in the opening minutes of the second half, but Nebraska responded with seven unanswered points to build a 51-35 lead after a Keita basket with 14:18 left. Omaha stayed within striking distance, pulling to within 55-48 after Jaeden Marshall’s 4-point play with 9:56 remaining, but would get no closer as a 3-pointer from Wilcher and a Griesel layup pushed the lead back to 12. The Mavericks, who shot just 41 percent on the night, would get no closer than nine points the rest of the way.
Marshall paced Omaha in scoring with 16 points, while Marquel Sutton tallied 14 points and five rebounds as the only other Maverick (0-2) in double figures.
The Huskers return to action next Thursday, Nov. 17, as they travel to St. John’s for the Gavitt Tipoff Games. Start time is set for 5:30 p.m. (central) and the game will be televised by FS1.