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3 takeaways from monster win by Nebraska basketball over Michigan State



Nebraska basketball
Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska basketball needed a win over Michigan State on Sunday night and notched a massive win. Here are three takeaways.

Just when people started to count out Fred Hoiberg and the Nebraska basketball team, the Huskers turned around and notched their biggest win of the season.

It’s probably one of the biggest wins of the Fred Hoiberg era as Nebraska beat Michigan State 77-70 to improve to 8-2 overall on the season and more importantly 1-1 in the Big Ten.

After a total collapse earlier this week against Minnesota, getting outscored 52-26 in the second half, it was gut-check time for the Huskers and they responded with a huge win.

Here are three takeaways.

Another big night for Juwan Gary

Fred Hoiberg might want to keep Juwan Gary in the starting lineup because he just continues to produce at a high level, scoring a game-high 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting.

Gary had some key buckets in the second half but really helped set the tone with a couple of 3-pointers in the first half. At one point, it seemed like Gary might be out of the game due to a shoulder issue.

However, he stayed in the game, toughed it out, and helped the Huskers find a way in what amounted to a must-win game for the Huskers. Whether it was scoring, defense, or rebounding — Juwan Gary did it all.

A bounce-back game for Keisei

It wasn’t the best game of the season for Keisei Tominaga, but his 15 points were vital. He connected on three 3-pointers and also made two big free throws late.

Tominaga is great at delivering shots in the arm for the Huskers and he did it at a couple of key points on Sunday. An underrated part of the result was the way Tominaga and Sam Hoiberg were able to control the game at the end. They didn’t turn the ball over (and hit free throws) under pressure and did a solid job on defense.

Gary was the Player of the Game, but Tominaga had a salty effort that was much-needed after a four-point showing without a field goal on Wednesday night.

Nebraska basketball back on track

The Creighton loss was ugly, but it wasn’t something that’s going to hurt your NCAA tournament hopes long-term. Losing to Minnesota was another story. It could haunt Nebraska as a bad loss down the stretch, but this helped make up for it.

With a road game looming on Sunday against Kansas State, Nebraska was looking at a four-game losing streak. Now, it has a chance to post a quadrant-1 victory.

Kansas State is a top-40 team. Michigan State is currently ranked 36th according to the Kenpom rankings. I know the Spartans are 4-5 right now, but they will turn things around and this win will look good on the resume.

It’s also sweet to end that 11-game losing streak.

More than anything, it should give this team some confidence and positive momentum heading into a three-game stretch before the final 18 Big Ten 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