After managing to score just 59 points in a first-round loss to Central Florida on Thursday Nebraska (4-2) bounced back with an 84-59 win against Marist on Friday to advance to the consolation finals of the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando, Florida.
Nebraska came out red-hot against the Red Foxes after struggling to get anything to go against the Knights on Thursday, shooting 6-of-11 from 3 in the first half and finishing 11-of-24 (45.8 percent). Overall, the Huskers shot 56.7 percent from the floor and dished out 23 assists to just eight turnovers.
On Thursday, the Red Foxes gave No. 23 West Virginia a fight, taking them down to the wire before losing by four.
Four Huskers scored in double figures led by 17 points apiece from junior forward Isaac Copeland and senior guard Anton Gill. Junior guard James Palmer Jr. added 15 points and five boards in 27 minutes. Senior Evan Taylor and junior Glynn Watson combined to score 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting with 10 assists, seven rebounds and just two turnovers in a combined 49 minutes of action.
After surrendering a 19-0 run against the Knights, Nebraska converted eight of its first 10 shots to take a 19-7 lead. Nebraska continued to play well throughout the first half, building the lead up as high as 16 multiple times. Nebraska took a 45-29 lead into halftime.
The break didn’t cool Nebraska down any as Nebraska opened the second half with a 12-6 run that built the lead up to 22 and the Red Foxes got no closer than within 20 the rest of the way. The lead swelled to 29 midway through the second half on Gill’s career-high fifth triple (on seven attempts).
Freshman wing Nana Akenten checked in and hit the first 3-pointer of his career on an assist by fellow freshman Thorir Thorbjarnarson and the Icelandic import followed it up with a steal and the first basket of his career on a layup that pushed the lead to 30 with less than a minute to play.
Nebraska advances to the fifth place game against Long Beach State on Sunday. The 49ers lost to Missouri 95-58 in the first round but avenged an earlier loss to Oregon State on Friday with a 74-69 win. Tipoff for Nebraska's tournament finale is set for 1 p.m. CT on ESPNU.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.