Nebraska dropped its third straight game as Minnesota won its eighth straight Thursday night with an 88-73 Golden Gopher victory in Minneapolis.
The Huskers (12-17, 6-11) struggled to take care of the ball, and when they did they had a hard time getting it through the rim early on. Michael Jacobson almost single-handedly kept the Huskers alive, racking up eight points on 4-of-4 shooting, four rebounds, two blocks and an assist for a 3-pointer by Jack McVeigh in eight minutes before taking a break.
The Huskers continued to hang tight, trailing 26-25 around the five-minute mark. However, the rest of the half belonged to the Golden Gophers (23-7, 11-6) as they closed it on a 14-2 run to take a 40-27 lead at halftime.
After a layup then put-back slam by Minnesota’s Jordan Murphy and an empty possession by the Huskers, Jacobson was whistled for his second foul to send the game to the under-four media timeout. Heading into the break, a technical foul was assessed to the Nebraska bench, giving the Gophers four free throws (two bonus shots plus the technical shots) when play resumed.
Glynn Watson Jr. was called for his second foul trying to block a 3-pointer by Minnesota point guard Nate Mason, and Mason hit all three free throws to cap a 10-0 run. Watson scored on the other end for the Huskers, but Minnesota hit the last two shots of the half.
Minnesota was 10-of-13 from the free-throw line in the first half, while the Huskers did not attempt a free throw, shot just 34.3 percent from the field and turned the ball over nine times. Huskers not named Jacobson shot 8-of-31 from the field in the first 20 minutes.
The Huskers forced seven Minnesota turnovers as well, but only turned them into two points while the Gophers converted Nebraska’s nine give-aways into 10 points on the other end.
The run continued into the second half as the Gophers used a 13-6 run to take its first 20-point lead of the game. The lead new as high as 24 and Nebraska got no closer than 16 until a 3-pointer by freshman forward Jeriah Horne with 16 seconds to play created the final margin of 15.
Five Huskers finished in double figures scoring: Watson with 14, Morrow with 12, Tai Webster with 11, and Jacobson and Horne with 10 apiece. The Huskers shot 37.7 percent from the field.
Nate Mason led the Gophers with 25 points, Jordan Murphy added 20 points and 11 rebounds, Dupree McBrayer finished with 16 points and six assists and Reggie Lynch chipped in 11 points and six blocks.
The Gophers made eight more free throws and outscored the Huskers in the paint by six. Both teams finished with 16 turnovers, but the Gophers scored six more points off of Nebraska’s miscues. The Huskers did grab 20 offensive rebounds and outscored Minnesota in second-chance points 28-12.]
Nebraska will close out the regular season at home against Michigan on Sunday at 7 p.m.
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.