Isaiah Roby scored a career-high 21 points and all five Husker starters reached double figures as Nebraska won its third straight road game with a 91-85 victory over Minnesota Tuesday night at Williams Arena.
Roby hit 8-of-10 shots from the field, knocked down all four free throws and narrowly missed a double-double by grabbing eight rebounds. James Palmer Jr. battled foul trouble to add 19 points, and he filled up the stat sheet by adding seven rebounds and a career-high nine assists. Anton Gill chipped in 12 points, while Glynn Watson Jr. and Isaac Copeland Jr. each scored 10 points.
While the starters combined for 72 points, a total of eight Huskers scored at least six points. Nebraska shot 50.8 percent from the field and was 11-of-23 from the 3-point line, tying their conference high with 11 threes. Seven different Huskers hit a three and Nebraska was also 18-of-22 from the free-throw line.
The win was Nebraska’s first victory at Williams Arena since a 77-60 victory over the Golden Gophers on Dec. 29, 2003. The Huskers improved to 18-8 with their sixth win in seven games, and NU remained in fourth place in the Big Ten standings with a 9-4 mark in conference action.
Nebraska survived a career night from Minnesota’s Nate Mason, who scored 34 points and hit seven 3-pointers. Jordan Murphy added 22 points as the Gophers shot 49.3 percent from the field and hit 10-of-19 from beyond the arc. Despite big nights from Mason and Murphy, Minnesota fell to 14-12 on the season and dropped to 3-10 in Big Ten play.
Nebraska led by as many as 15 in the first half, but it was Minnesota who raced out to a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game. The Huskers answered with back-to-back 3-pointers from Copeland and Roby that ignited an 11-2 run. Watson closed out the run with five straight points to give Nebraska its first lead at 11-9.
Nebraska led by four at the midway point of the first half before going on a 14-3 run. NU began the run with five straight points before Minnesota hit a three. The Huskers then scored the next nine points with Gill (5) and Palmer (4) combining for all nine points. Nebraska led 37-22 following the run, but after opening the game by scoring the first seven points, Minnesota also scored the final seven points of the half, using a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Isaiah Washington to trim the lead to 44-37 at the break.
After missing its first three shots of the game, Nebraska shot 59.3 percent in the first half (16-of-27), including 8-of-12 from beyond the arc. Five Huskers had at least five points in the first half, led by nine from Roby and eight apiece from Copeland and Gill. Mason kept Minnesota in the game with 15 first-half points, knocking down four of his six 3-point attempts. Jordan Murphy added 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting, as Minnesota shot 45.5 percent (15-of-33) from the field and 50 percent (6-of-12) from the 3-point line in the opening 20 minutes.
Minnesota scored the first four points of the second half to stretch its run to 11-0 going back to the first half. After trimming the lead to 44-41, Watson scored five straight points to stretch the lead back to eight, and Nebraska led 51-45 at the first media timeout of the second half.
Nebraska led 60-52 before the Golden Gophers used their third 7-0 run of the game to pull within one with 9:55 remaining. Gill halted the run with a pair of free throws before Michael Hurt tied the game at 62 with a three-point play. Copeland then knocked down a jumper, Gill hit two more free throws and Roby and Evan Taylor scored consecutive buckets in the paint to cap an 8-0 run in less than two minutes that gave Nebraska a 70-62 advantage at the 8:14 mark.
Following the run, the Huskers missed their next six shots but played Minnesota even over that stretch to maintain the eight-point advantage at 74-66 with five minutes to play. Nebraska continued to lead by at least five and went up by nine when Taylor saved a turnover and drilled a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to put Nebraska on top 81-72 with 2:33 remaining.
Palmer stretched the lead to 10 with a pair of free throws with less than a minute remaining before Mason knocked down consecutive 3-pointers to quickly cut the lead to 87-83 with 35 seconds remaining. But Palmer knocked down four more free throws down the stretch as Nebraska held on for the six-point victory.
After playing four of its last five games on the road – and going 3-1 in that stretch – Nebraska returns home to host Rutgers on Saturday at 3 p.m.