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3 takeaways as Nebraska basketball self-destructs against Minnesota



Nebraska basketball
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska basketball blew a 17-point lead in a collapse against Minnesota and here are three takeaways.

It was a tale of halves for Nebraska basketball on Wednesday night, but unfortunately, it was the second half that told the story.

At one point in the first half, Nebraska basketball led by 17 points. The lead was 39-24 in favor of the Huskers at the half, but it was like someone forgot to tell them the second half started.

Nebraska’s defense fell apart. Frankly, the Huskers fell apart in every aspect of the game as they were boat-raced (52-26) in the second half by one of the Big Ten’s worst teams in a 76-65 loss.

Here are three takeaways.

This is one of Fred Hoiberg’s worst losses

It’s been said many times that this is the best team Fred Hoiberg has had at Nebraska basketball, but it hasn’t looked like it the past two games.

The Huskers were totally outclassed by Creighton on Sunday. The game wasn’t even competitive in the second half. And in the second half on Wednesday, the Huskers weren’t competitive either.

Minnesota made 5-of-11 3-pointers in the second half. Many of them were essentially wide-open looks too. The Golden Gophers, who aren’t known for their offense, scored 52 points in the second half.

With Michigan State and Kansas State up next, the Huskers needed to win this game. Now, they are looking at starting 0-2 in the Big Ten, plus this loss will haunt them down the road one way or another.

A slow second-half start dooms Nebraska basketball

For the second straight game, Nebraska came out in the second half and didn’t seem ready to go. The Huskers must have assumed Minnesota would quit, but the Gophers had other ideas.

There was no ball movement for Nebraska in the second half. Keisei Tominaga couldn’t buy a bucket and the Gophers shored up their defense inside. Nebraska got the majority of its points in the paint in the first half.

In the second, Minnesota stifled Nebraska. The Huskers made two 3-pointers in the final 20 minutes and while it’s too early to say it’s a trend, the poor second-half starts have to get fixed.

Keisei no-showed

There were plenty of moments in the second half when you expected Tominaga to step up and deliver a big shot, but it didn’t happen. He finished the game with four points and was 0-for-5 from the field. Keisei also didn’t have an assist.

It’s never good when your best player has more fouls and turnovers than field goals. But that’s what happened on Wednesday night. It wasn’t just his fault — the Huskers turned the ball over 18 times; they lost the offensive rebound battle and shot just 29 percent from 3-point range.

Minnesota is one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the country. Nebraska was one of the best coming in and the Huskers were outscored 24-15 on 3-pointers. That was the difference in the game.

Sitting at 7-2, Nebraska needs to find some answers and if it’s going to be an NCAA tournament team, it had better find a way to win at least one of the next two games.

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Chris has worked in sports journalism since 2005 writing for multiple newspapers and websites such as the Bleacher Report and Fansided before starting Husker Big Red, A fan site for hardcore followers of the #Huskers offering articles, podcasts, videos and more exclusive content on all things Nebraska