Nebraska secured its third straight road win and fourth overall in Minneapolis on Tuesday night, completing the sweep over Minnesota 91-85. The four conference road wins are the mist for the Huskers since they won four in the 1998-99 season.
The Huskers (18-4, 8-8) put forth one of their most balanced offensive games of the season with all five starters scoring in double figures, but it was sophomore forward Isaiah Roby who emerged as the star of the show.
Roby bounced back from a scoreless game at Wisconsin to finish with a career-high 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting with half his buckets coming from above the rim. The 6-foot-8 sophomore also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and blocked a game-high five shots.
James Palmer Jr. was content to play distributor for much of the game, dishing out a career-high nine assists, but he still finished with 19 points and also pulled down seven rebounds as he continues his All-Big Ten campaign.
Anton Gill added 12 points, surpassing his total from the previous four games combined. Isaac Copeland also finished with 12 points and Glynn Watson Jr. chipped in 10 points and six assists.
The win was one of Nebraska’s best offensive games of the season. The Huskers shot 50.8 percent from the field including 47.8 percent (11-of-23) from 3 and 81.8 percent from the free-throw line (18-22). Nebraska dished out 19 assists with just eight turnovers.
However, the defense that had carried them to their previous two road wins did not travel on Tuesday as Nebraska allowed the Gophers (14-12, 3-10) to shoot nearly 50 percent from the field as well with 10 3-pointers on 19 attempts (52.6 percent). The Huskers allowed Minnesota’s top two players, point guard Nate Mason and forward Jordan Murphy, to score 34 and 22, respectively.
Minnesota scored the first seven points of the game, but Nebraska caught fire from deep and took its first lead at 11-9. Minnesota briefly regained the lead with a triple by Mason, but Roby put the Huskers up 13-12 off of a feed by Watson.
The Huskers did not trail the rest of the night.
Nebraska gradually stretched out the lead, peaking at 39-24 after a pair of free throws by Roby with 3:33 to play. Freshman Thomas Allen hit a 3-pointer to put the Huskers up 44-30 with 1:40 to go, but Minnesota closed out the first half on a 7-0 run.
Nebraska led 44-37 at the break.
Murphy scored the first two buckets of the second half to cut the deficit to three before Watson knocked down a 3-pointer, his first since Nebraska’s win against Illinois on Jan. 15.
Nebraska maintained a two to three-possession lead over the next six minutes before a scoreless stretch spanning 2:43 allowed Minnesota to pull within one. Gill drew a foul and knocked down two free throws to push it back to three, but Michael Hurt converted a three-point play on the other end to tie the game at 62-62 and send Palmer to the bench with his fourth foul.
Copeland knocked down a shot to give the Huskers the lead again and Murphy came up empty on the other end. Roby grabbed the board, pushed it up court himself and drew a foul, and Minnesota coach Richard Pitino earned a technical foul.
Gill sank both freebies then Watson found Roby for an alley-oop. Mason missed for Minnesota and Evan Taylor finished at the rim for Nebraska, capping an 8-0 run in the span of 61 seconds.
Minnesota made a couple of pushes in the final few minutes, but Palmer went 6-of-6 from the foul line down the stretch to secure the victory.
The win was Nebraska first at Williams Arena since joining the Big Ten. The 91 points is Nebraska’s highest total in a road conference game since the Huskers put up 96 at Oklahoma in 1999.
The Huskers will return home to host Rutgers on Saturday. Tipoff at Pinnacle Bank Arena is set for 3 p.m. on BTN.
Jacob Padilla has been writing for Hail Varsity since 2015. He covers football, volleyball men’s basketball and prep sports. He also co-hosts the Nebraska Preps Postgame and Nebraska Shootaround podcasts for the Hurrdat Media and Hail Varsity podcast networks. 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.