Michigan 43 39 - 82 Nebraska 21 32 - 53
Ninth-ranked Michigan hit 12 3-pointers and shot better than 55 percent Thursday night to hand the Husker men’s basketball team its worst loss of the season, 82-53, at the Crisler Center.
The Wolverines made 55.6 percent of their shots and were 12-of-22 from beyond the arc to improve to 25-5 and move to one-half game out of first place in the Big Ten standings with a 14-4 record in conference play. Jon Teske led a quartet of Wolverines in double figures with a game-high 22 points while collecting 10 rebounds to post a double-double. Isaiah Livers also produced a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Ignas Brazdeikis added 22 points, Colin Scastleton scored 11 points and Zavier Simpson dished out 10 assists.
Nebraska shot just 34.3 percent, was 2-of-12 from the 3-point line and just 5-of-9 from the free-throw line. The bright spot was the play of the Husker bench, which produced 21 points, two shy of matching Nebraska’s largest bench production in Big Ten play.
Nana Akenten led Nebraska with 11 points, his first game in double figures since Nov. 19 and his career high for a Big Ten game. Amir Harris added eight points, with the freshman setting his career high in points for the second straight game. Glynn Watson Jr. paced the Husker starters with 10 points.
The loss dropped Nebraska to 15-14 overall and 5-13 in Big Ten play, with 10 of the Huskers’ 14 losses coming to teams who have ranked in the top 15 at some point this season.
Michigan shot 65 percent in the first half and was 6-of-8 from the 3-point line to take a 43-21 lead into the locker room. The Wolverines hit five of their first seven shots to build a 15-7 lead less than six minutes into the game. Travis Borchardt scored five of Nebraska’s first seven points, but after he completed a three-point play, Castleton scored six points during a 9-0 spurt that put the Wolverines on top 22-7 midway through the period.
Akenten stopped the run with back-to-back baskets, but Michigan immediately went on another 9-0 run to push the lead to 31-11 with 6:36 left in the half. Harris scored all six Husker points over the next two minutes and Watson hit a pair of jumpers in the final two minutes, but Michigan closed the first half by hitting five of its final six shots, including a pair of 3-pointers from Brazdeikis.
While Michigan was on fire in the first half, Nebraska shot just 30.3 percent from the field and was 0-of-8 from the 3-point line. Ten of the Huskers’ 21 points came off the bench, including six from Harris and four from Akenten.
Akenten started the second half and had a steal, two dunks and a 3-pointer in the first four minutes, during which time Nebraska outscored Michigan, 7-3. But Teske and Poole combined for all nine points during a 9-2 run that pushed the Wolverine lead to 25 with 12 minutes to play. Over the next three minutes, Isaiah Roby, Thomas Allen and James Palmer Jr. all scored their first points of the game, combining for seven points to trim the lead to 64-43.
Michigan responded by scoring 10 of the next 12 points to build a 29-point lead, its largest of the game to that point. Palmer scored four quick points over the next 20 seconds but two minutes later, Castleton gave the Wolverines an 80-49 advantage. The Huskers scored four of the final six points, including free throws from Justin Costello and Johnny Trueblood.
Nebraska faces a ranked team for a third consecutive game on Tuesday, when the Huskers travel to East Lansing, Mich., to take on No. 6 Michigan State. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN2, with the Husker Sports Network providing live radio coverage.
Nebraska Postgame Notes
*-Nebraska fell to 1-7 against ranked teams this season, including 0-2 vs. top-10 opponents.
*-Nana Akenten reached double-figures for the third time this season and first time since Nov. 19 against Missouri State.
*-Amir Harris set a career high with eight points, bettering his previous best of six set on two occasions, most recently against Purdue last Saturday.
*–Glynn Watson Jr. jumped from 10th to ninth on Nebraska’s career assist chart with his two assists tonight, tying Clifford Scales (354, 1988-91). Watson now has 354 career assists.
*-James Palmer Jr. saw his streak of 24 straight games in double figures end, as he was held to a season-low seven points. The only other time he didn’t reach double figures was against Missouri State on Nov. 19.
*-Michigan shot 55.6 percent, becoming the fourth opponent in the last 54 games to shoot over 50 percent against Nebraska.
*- Nebraska committed just seven turnovers tonight, marking the seventh time in nine games the Huskers committed less than 10 turnovers.
*-Michigan’s 12 3-pointers were a season high against the Huskers.