After Friday's loss to Davidson, senior point guard Lance Jeter called Nebraska's showdown against Hofstra in the final day of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Sunday a "crucial" game for the Huskers.
With the possibility of going 0-3 in the tournament looming over their heads, the Huskers finally put it all together with a 62-47 win over the Pride to end their trip on a high note.
The biggest difference for NU on Sunday was in its play offensively, as it shot 54.8 percent from the field and made six 3-pointers on the day. In their two previous games, the Huskers had shot a combined 2-of-21 from beyond the arc.
Altogether, 10 different players scored in the game for Nebraska, and its bench outscored Hofstra's 37-5.
"I thought our offensive execution was not probably as good today as it was in the first two games, but the difference is we made shots," head coach Doc Sadler said on his post-game radio show. "Anytime you make shots, that makes up for a lot of bad things. We got 18 points today from the 3-point line."
After a shaky start to the game, Nebraska rebounded and put on easily its best first-half performance of the tournament. The Huskers trailed by as much as 12-6 through the first five minutes, but a 3-pointer by senior guard Drake Beranek sparked a 22-6 run that gave NU a 28-18 lead with 3:57 to go in the half.
While Nebraska was finally getting something going offensively, Hofstra was ice cold for the majority of the half. After a basket by guard Mike Moore with 9:06 remaining, the Pride managed just three free throws and went without a field goal for the rest of the half.
A late runner by senior guard Lance Jeter put Nebraska up 32-21 heading into halftime, as the Huskers shot 54.2 percent from the field (13-of-24) and made more 3-pointers (4) than it had in the past two games combined.
Things kept rolling right along in the second half when Nebraska went on another 10-2 run to make it 49-29 with 9:16 to play to take its biggest lead of the day. Hofstra was able to chip the deficit down to 12 in the final minutes, but the Huskers were never in danger and easily held on for a much-needed victory.
Sophomore center and Puerto Rico native Jorge Brian Diaz scored a team-high 11 points and was the only Husker to score in double figures, though nine of his teammates did score on the day.
Sophomore guard Ray Gallegos had a season-best eight points on 2-of-3 shooting from 3-point range, while Beranek finished with his best day as a Husker with seven points.
Hofstra's Charles Jenkins, who scored 27 points in Friday's loss to Western Kentucky, scored a game-high 15 points.
Nebraska won't return to action again until Saturday, Nov. 27, when it plays host to USC at 5 p.m.
"I really believe this team can shoot the basketball," Sadler said. "We just didn't shoot it very well the first two ball games. We've got to really continue to work on our shooting and get a lot of shots up, and hopefully at the same time get some confidence shooting.
"All the guys playing college basketball for the most part can shoot the basketball, so it's a fine line of confidence. We've got to get confidence in thinking we can make shots. When we make shots, we've got a chance to be a good team."