Rising Nebraska hosts spiraling Minnesota


Nebraska will try to extend its winning streak to a season-high four games Saturday when it hosts reeling Minnesota in Big Ten play in Lincoln, Neb.

The Cornhuskers (14-14, 7-10 Big Ten) are coming off a 70-66 overtime win over visiting Maryland on Sunday. The Golden Gophers (7-19, 1-15) dropped their 11th straight game Wednesday — an 88-70 setback at Maryland.

Nebraska trailed Maryland by eight with just over seven minutes to go before rallying, and Derrick Walker’s layup with 29 seconds remaining sent the game to overtime. Then, the Cornhuskers trailed 64-61 with 2:34 to play before scoring the next eight points, taking a five-point lead on Sam Hoiberg’s two free throws with 14 seconds left.

Walker, who averages a team-high 14.0 points and 7.2 rebounds, led the way for the Huskers with 23 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Keisei Tominaga (12.7 ppg) added 20 points and four rebounds.

Sam Griesel chipped in 12 points, while Hoiberg, son of Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg, finished with nine points, including four in overtime.

“A lot of people were saying, when we had the injuries, ‘What could have been,'” Fred Hoiberg said. “My message to the guys was: ‘What can still be.’ Those guys fight like hell. They practice as hard as anybody. And they are resilient.

“They have some toughness and character to them. You have to have it.”

While Nebraska is playing its best basketball heading into the final stretch of the regular season, Minnesota hasn’t won since Jan. 12 and is in last place in the Big Ten.

The Gophers were outscored by the Terrapins 27-10 in the final 9:09 of the first half to trail by 47-30 at halftime. Minnesota trailed by as many as 28 in the second half as the Terrapins finished the game a blistering 68.1 percent from the field and 53.8 percent from beyond the arc.

Pharrel Payne, who averages 7.8 points, had 17 points and four rebounds off the bench for the Gophers, while Dawson Garcia had 15 points and eight rebounds. Jaden Henley chipped in 14 points, well above his average of 4.6 points.

“It wasn’t about offense,” Gophers coach Ben Johnson said after his team shot 48.1 percent from the field and 7-of-10 from 3-point range. “We just struggled to defend, especially after those scrappy (first) 10 minutes that we had. They got what they wanted, whether it was at the rim or from three.”

In Minnesota and Nebraska’s previous meeting this season, the Cornhuskers rallied for an 81-79 overtime win on Jan. 7 in Minneapolis.

Walker led Nebraska with 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, while Juwan Gary added 18 points and six rebounds. Griesel added 17 points, six rebounds and five assists.

The Golden Gophers were led by Jamison Battle’s 20 points, with Garcia posting 19 points and 15 rebounds.

–Field Level Media

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