When Michigan gets going, not a whole lot can stop it.
That includes the Nebraska men’s basketball team, as players found out Wednesday night in Ann Arbor, Mich.
The 10th-ranked Wolverines (17-5 overall, 9-1 Big Ten) used a 29-3 run and nine 3-point jumpers in the first half en route to a 79-50 win against the Huskers (11-10, 3-6), as Nebraska’s road woes continued. The team has won only one game away from Pinnacle Bank Arena this season.
“It’s embarrassing,” coach Tim Miles said in a postgame radio interview. “Once they came and they were all hitting 3, you got this sense we were just trying to keep up with them. We were reliving Ohio State and Creighton all over again.”
Nebraska struggled right out from the tip, as Michigan took a 10-point lead before the first media timeout. The Huskers cut the deficit to four at 16-12 eight minutes into the game, led by sophomore guard Shavon Shields, who scored 7 of the team’s first 12 points.
That’s when the Wolverine fireworks started, lit by Zak Irvin.
The freshman guard had a 9-0 run of his own at one point in the first half, scoring all of his 16 points before the break. Michigan’s run was far more than just Irvin, though he was the main catalyst.
The Big Ten’s fourth-leading scorer, Nik Stauskas, dished out 6 first half assists — 8 for the game — to go along with his 9 points before the break while Glenn Robinson III knocked down two 3-point jumpers of his own before halftime. Robinson finished with 23 points to lead all scorers.
Before the Huskers knew it, they trailed the Wolverines by 30 points in the first half, and Michigan led 49-21 at the break.
“We came out angry today after that loss to Indiana,” Michigan coach John Beilein said in a TV interview after the game. “Everyone shot the ball well.”
The second half wasn’t much better for the Huskers.
Michigan continued to rain down outside jumpers, as the lead ballooned to 41 points with 10 minutes to go in the game. The Wolverines finished with 13 threes, but it wasn’t just the outside jumpers working for them.
A combination of backdoor cuts, drives to the basket and fast-break buckets helped Michigan shoot 50 percent for the game. And Michigan made all 14 of its free throws.
On the other side, not much went right for Nebraska.
The Huskers shot 35 percent from the field and shot only 11 free throws, making 7 of them. Nebraska was also outrebounded 35-26 while committing 11 turnovers in the game.
Shields provided almost all of the offense in the first half, scoring 11 of the team’s 21 points. He finished with 13 to lead the Huskers while freshman guard Nathan Hawkins added a career high 11.
The Big Ten’s second-leading scorer, sophomore forward Terran Petteway, struggled the entire contest, scoring just 5 points while turning the ball over four times.
“I just don’t see the determination, intensity and fire when things go bad,” Miles said.
Miles said this loss is one to forget about quickly, as Nebraska plays at Northwestern on Saturday. The quick turnaround gives the Huskers a chance for redemption, Miles said.
“Everybody’s got a game plan until you get knocked in the mouth,” Miles said. “We got to bounce back.”