Isaiah Roby’s career-high 21 points lead a well-balanced attack, which featured all five Nebraska starters finishing in double digits, to give Tim Miles his first win at Minnesota. Nebraska moves to 18-8, 9-4 on the season, while Minnesota drops to 14-12, 3-10.
The Huskers, who have now won six of their last seven, shot 51 percent from the field (31-61), 48 percent from 3 (11-23), and 82 percent from the free throw line (18-22).
Here are my takeaways from Nebraska’s win over Minnesota.
How good was Isaiah Roby tonight? Not only did he score 21 points, but he did it on an efficient night, shooting 8-of-10 from the floor. Defensively, despite being out-sized by the Big Ten’s leading rebounder and fourth-ranked scorer, Roby led the team in rebounding (8) and blocks (5). Not to mention, Roby played banged up for the last three minutes.
Well-Balanced Attack > One-Man Show
It’s no doubt that Miles and the Huskers would have a well-rounded offensive attack than a one-man 34-point outburst by the team’s top scorer. And 91 points tonight backs that up.
With Palmer on the bench for vital stretches in the second half with four fouls, his teammates stepped up.
Roby: 21 points (8-of-10)
Gill: 12 points (3-of-7)
Watson: 10 points (4-of-14)
Copeland: 10 points (4-of-7)
Not only did all five starters score in double figures for Miles’ squad, but the short-manned bench was very good, too.
The only three Huskers to make it off the bench tonight:
Jordy Tshimanga: 6 points (3-of-5), 6 rebounds
Thomas Allen: 6 points (2-of-3 from 3)
Evan Taylor: 7 points, 6 rebounds
After Minnesota came back to tie the game, all of the momentum favored the Golden Gophers with the building getting louder and louder, AND Nebraska’s top scorer was on the bench. It was that point in the game where Husker fans everywhere were starting to get worried.
And then Pitino gave Nebraska arguably its biggest boost of the game.
After Roby got a rebound and brought the ball up the floor, Minnesota committed a reach-in foul that caused Roby to lose the ball. Pitino then proceded to throw a tantrum that sparked an 8-0 run for Nebraska, making a tie game a 70-62 lead for Nebraska.
Following the technical, Minnesota picked up three more quick fouls that put the Huskers in the bonus, and more importantly, appeared to have diminished Minnesota’s focus for the final stretch.
Momentum Heading Into Vital Final Stretch
Nebraska has now won six of its last seven games, and NU will play four out of its final five games at home – all of which come to teams below Nebraska in the standings (NU is alone at No. 4 in Big Ten). Given the “PBA Magic,” the Huskers seem to have a favorable schedule to finish off the season.
I talked about Nebraska’s tournament chances and what it will take for NU to earn an at-large bid (and much more) in my column this week. Read here.
Nebraska will return to action on Saturday as the Huskers host Rutgers at 3 p.m. on BTN. Earlier in the year, Nebraska beat the Scarlet Knights 60-54 in New Jersey, but Saturday’s game will be no walk in the park. Rutgers just recently lost to No. 3 Purdue 78-76 in a thriller.