basketball Edit

Huskers can't keep up with Minnesota in 79-61 road loss

Playing its second game in three days after a month-long layoff, Nebraska still had plenty of rust to knock off in a 79-61 loss at Minnesota on Monday night.

With leading scorer Teddy Allen and his 17.2 points per game benched per coach’s decision, the Huskers once again found offense tough to come by from start to finish.

Lat Mayen (15) and Shamiel Stevenson (14) combined for 29 points, but NU shot just 36.8 percent from the field, made 3-of-15 3-pointers, and committed 18 turnovers.

Marcus Carr finished with a game-high 21 points and eight assists for Minnesota (12-7 overall, 5-7 Big Ten), as the Golden Gophers led by 15 at halftime and went up by as much as 20 before all was said and done.

Nebraska dropped to 4-10 overall and 0-7 in Big Ten play, and its conference losing streak extended to 24 games dating back to last season.

Nebraska couldn't overcome an early Minnesota run and dropped its seventh straight game in a 79-61 defeat on Monday night.
Nebraska couldn't overcome an early Minnesota run and dropped its seventh straight game in a 79-61 defeat on Monday night. (Associated Press)

Minnesota, which entered the game ranked dead last in team field goal percentage at 40.7, opened the night hitting nine of its first 13 shots – including a stretch of seven in a row – with seven assists to take an early 13-point lead.

Stevenson scored 10 of his 14 points in the first half to keep NU somewhat within reach, but the Huskers ended up shooting just 33.3 percent and missed all eight of their 3-pointers at the break.

Nebraska fell behind 51-32 after the first two minutes of the second half, but Minnesota would then go ice-cold on offense and missed 15 straight shots. That allowed the Huskers to trim the deficit down to nine after a 3-pointer by Lat Mayen with 13:25 left to play.

A jumper by Kobe Webster capped a 13-1 run that pulled NU to within 52-45, and NU got it within seven again after another 7-2 spurt with 6:46 remaining.

That would be as close as Nebraska would get, however, as the Gophers came up with answers each time the score got into single digits and kept the Huskers at bay the rest of the night.

Mayen’s 15 points were a career-high, and he was responsible for all three of NU’s made 3-pointers. Dalano Banton finished with nine points, six assists, five rebounds, and five turnovers.

Brandon Johnson had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota, while Jamal Mashburn Jr. chipped in 11 points off the bench.

Nebraska will return to action on Wednesday night to host Wisconsin for an 8:30 p.m. CT tip on Big Ten Network.

3-POINT PLAY

1. Teddy Allen’s benching was notable

After going just 1-of-10 from the field with three points, three turnovers, and four fouls in 23 minutes last time out at Michigan State, Allen was benched by head coach Fred Hoiberg against Minnesota and did not play at all in the loss.

But the reasoning went well beyond poor performance.

Before tip-off, it was announced on the Big Ten Network broadcast that Allen had been ruled out because he “did not meet the internal expectations of the program.”

Senior forward Trevor Lakes, who hadn’t seen game action since Jan. 2 and only had six appearances all season, made his first start as a Husker in Allen’s place. Lakes played just six minutes and did not attempt a shot.

A player who had a long history of issues on and off the court when he transferred to NU from Western Nebraska Community College this offseason, Allen’s latest incident is certainly notable.

Hoiberg said after the game that he made the decision to bench Allen before the game and he would re-evaluate the situation when the team returned to Lincoln. Hoiberg did not clarify if Allen would return to the lineup for Wednesday night's game vs. Wisconsin.

The Huskers need all the help they can get right now, and having their most productive scorer watching from the bench was a crippling blow.

2. Stevenson has been a bright spot

There hasn’t been much for Nebraska to feel good about over the last two games, but Stevenson's emergence has been one of the bright spots.

After a four-game stretch earlier this season where he played a combined 24 minutes with six total points, the junior guard/forward has come alive.

He played 19 minutes and finished with eight points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a block in the loss at Michigan State on Saturday.

The Toronto, Canada native then followed that up with his best overall performance of the season at Minnesota. As the Huskers struggled to find any semblance of offense, Stevenson was at times the only spark on the floor.

Stevenson wasn’t perfect by any stretch. He also turned the ball over a whopping five times and at one point shot the ball six straight times in the first half, missing four.

But for a guy who has been one of the most underperforming players on the roster this season, given the expectations NU had for him coming into the year, his uptick in production has been good to see.

3. Eduardo Andre needs to play more

After not playing at all at Michigan State, freshman center Eduardo Andre saw a considerable amount of action on Monday night.

Based on how he played in his 12 minutes against Minnesota, a case can be made that he needs to be a more regular part of the rotation.

The 6-foot-10 Andre didn’t score a point in the loss, but he hauled in three rebounds, two assists, and a blocked shot – all personal highs in conference play.

Not only is he the tallest player on a roster lacking size, but he’s also shown flashes of skill and athleticism that are impressive for his frame.

He’s probably not ready to give 25-plus minutes yet, but Nebraska would be wise to provide Andre with more opportunities the rest of the way to see how he develops with more experience.

THEY SAID IT

“It’s just a decision that I made before the game. That’s it… We’ll move past it. We’ll re-evaluate everything when we get back to Lincoln and meet as a staff and put our prep together about how we’re going to move forward against Wisconsin. But tonight was a coach’s decision, and we’ll re-evaluate everything tomorrow.”
— Head coach Fred Hoiberg on the status of junior guard Teddy Allen following Monday night's benching.