The Nebraska men’s basketball team just can’t seem to figure out the Big Ten Conference.
After losing against both Ohio State and Wisconsin, their previous two matchups, the Huskers (9-6 overall, 0-3 Big Ten) were defeated by No. 2 Michigan 62-47, extending the team’s losing streak to three games.
Although the Huskers held Wolverines shooters to nearly their lowest field goal percentage all season, 38.9 percent, the strong defense wasn’t enough as four Wolverines tallied double-digit points to equal its best start in school history.
The below 40.0 percent shooting by both team’s wasn’t pretty, but Michigan coach John Beilein said he’ll take it.
“Believe it or not, as coaches we love these type of wins,” he said. “You don’t necessarily love coaching them, but when you look back at them, these are the ones that build teams.”
Guards Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Wolverine attack with 18 and 15 points respectively, while Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas also added 14 and 13 points.
In order to gather any hope of momentum, the Huskers knew its two leading scorers – Dylan Talley (13.5 points per game) and Ray Gallegos (13.0 ppg) – would need to come up big on offense. And they did.
Talley finished the game with 12 total points and five assists, while Gallegos propelled to a team-high 19 points. Talley led the forefront of Nebraska’s offense with six points in the first half to aid Nebraska to just a five point deficit heading into the locker room.
The slim lead against the second best team in the nation gave Nebraska a positive outlook heading into the second half.
“I feel our kids got confident,” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said.
But it wouldn’t be long until the Wolverines would run away with the game on their home court.
Michigan, who came up successful on just 32.3 percent of their shots in the first half, boosted its shots in and outside of the paint to 47.8 percent after halftime.
Although Nebraska held the best three point shooting team in the Big Ten (42.3 percent) to a dismal 28.6 performance from behind the arc, the Huskers weren’t looking to shabby themselves in that category.
Twenty missed 3-pointers, including a 4-for-16 showing by Gallegos, held the Huskers to an atrocious 23.1 percent from downtown (6-for-26).
“We didn’t make some of our easiest shots,” Miles said. “Those are the things that get you beat.”
And the shooting deficiency wasn’t the only alarming statistic Michigan held over Miles and his squad.
“We gave up way too many rebounds and missed too many threes in the second half,” Miles said.
The Wolverines out-rebounded their Big Ten foe 47-30, including grabbing 16 rebounds offensive boards. After Gallegos’ fourth 3-pointer of the night cut the lead to 47-42, Robinson charged through the paint and dunked the ball after a Caris LeVert missed basket to extend the lead to seven.
But the Husker squad can’t dwell on the loss against this Michigan team for too long, according to Miles.
On Sunday, Miles and his Huskers will have to pick back up the pieces and face off against the Spartans from Michigan State.
“We just got to dust ourselves off and figure out how to do it against Michigan State,” Miles said.