Winston-Salem, N.C. - Nebraska received career performances from Ray Gallegos and Andre Almeida, as the Huskers posted an impressive 79-63 victory over Wake Forest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge presented by Dick's Sporting Goods Tuesday evening.
Gallegos and Almeida had 20 points apiece, as the Huskers broke open a close game with a 20-2 second-half surge in posting their largest road win margin since the 2003-04 campaign.
Gallegos scored 17 of his career-high 20 points in the second half, hitting 7-of-8 shots in the final 20 minutes to improve Nebraska's record to 5-1 on the season. Nebraska scored on 16 of its first 19 possessions of the second half, turning a 28-24 halftime lead to as much as a 24-point lead in cruising to victory.
Nebraska, which scored 51 points in the second half, shot 62 percent in the second half and placed four players in double figures. Gallegos tied a career high with four 3-pointers, including a pair in the second-half surge, to help the Huskers hand Wake Forest its first home loss in seven ACC/Big Ten Challenge games.
While Gallegos was torching the Demon Deacons on the outside, Almeida put together one of the most dominant efforts of his career with his first career double-double. The 6-foot-11 senior matched his career high with 20 points on 9-of-10 shooting, grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds and blocked three shots, as Nebraska held Wake Forest to just 43 percent shooting from the field.
Wake Forest was within 42-37 after an Arnaud Adala Moto basket, before Gallegos and Dylan Talley combined to lead the Huskers on a 20-3 surge over the next six minutes to put the game out of reach. The pair combined for all 20 of the Huskers' points in the run, as Talley finished the night with 14 points and eight rebounds.
Gallegos, who was 1-for-5 in the first half, got the spurt started by scoring five straight points as NU used a 7-0 run to take a 49-37 lead after a Talley basket. Moments later, the pair helped Nebraska run off eight unanswered points, as the Huskers built a 62-40 lead with 8:05 left, and Wake Forest never got within 13 points the rest of the way.
Madison Jones led Wake Forest (3-3) with 14 points, as NU held Demon Deacon stars Travis McKie and C.J. Harris to a combined 10 points, as the pair entered Tuesday's game averaging nearly 32 points per game. NU held Harris, who hit the game-winning shot in NU's 55-53 loss in Lincoln last season, to just two points on 1-of-6 shooting, while McKie totaled eight points on 2-of-11 shooting from the floor.
The Huskers played solid basketball in the opening 30 minutes, holding Wake Forest to 32 percent shooting in the first half taking a 28-24 lead into the locker room. The Huskers got off to a good start, using an early 8-0 run to build a six-point lead and led 14-6 before Wake began to battle back behind the play of backup guard Chase Fischer, whose shooting provided Wake Forest (3-3) much-needed spark. Fischer scored all eight of his first-half points, including a pair of 3-pointers, in a 13-2 run to give the hosts a 19-16 lead.
Wake led 22-18 before the Huskers closed the half on a 10-2 run to take a four-point lead into the locker room. Gallegos got the run started with a 3-pointer before Almeida's layup and a jumper from David Rivers capped a run of seven straight points for Nebraska. Rivers, who finished with a career-high seven rebounds, then added a put back to help give NU a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the evening.
The Huskers will be off until they host USC at the Devaney Center Monday night. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. and tickets are available for purchase by visiting Huskers.com or by calling 800-8-BIGRED.
*-Nebraska improves to 1-1 all-time in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The win marks the first time in seven ACC/Big Ten Challenge games that Wake Forest has lost at home. Wake Forest falls to 10-3 all-time in Big Ten/ACC Challenge games.
*-Nebraska's 79 points was a season high, topping the 75 against UNO on Nov. 18
*-Nebraska's 16-point victory was its largest road margin since a 77-60 win at Minnesota on Nov. 29, 2003. Nebraska has won nine road games by double figures over the last decade.
*-Nebraska Coach Tim Miles becomes the first Nebraska Head Coach to win his first road game at Nebraska since Paul Schlisser in 1919-20, a 47-9 winner over Hastings College on Jan. 13, 1920. Prior to Miles' win, the previous 14 Nebraska basketball head coaches had lost their first road game as Husker head coach.
*-Ray Gallegos' 20-point effort was a career high, topping his previous best of 16 against Southern in the season opener. Gallegos also tied his season and career high with four 3-pointers. He scored 17 of his 20 points in the second half, going 7-of-8 from the field.
*-Andre Almeida recorded his first career double-double with 20 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Almeida's 20-point effort matched his career high set against South Dakota in the 2010-11 season opener, while his 11 rebounds topped his personal best of seven, set four previous times
*-Nebraska improves to 3-1 in road non-conference games over the last two seasons.
*-Nebraska committed a season-low eight turnovers, eclipsing his previous low of nine on two other occasions.
*-Nebraska shot 50.9 percent from the field in the victory, the third time in six games that Nebraska has shot over 50 percent. NU's 62.1 percent in the second half marked the Huskers' best shooting half of the season.
*-Nebraska's 51-point second half was its highest scoring half since scoring 55 against Arkansas Pine Bluff on Nov. 15, 2010, a span of 67 games.
*-Benny Parker tied or set career highs in both points (eight) and steals (four) in Tuesday's win. Parker now has committed one or fewer turnovers in five of the Huskers' first six contests. Parker now has a 2.6-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in 2012-13.
*-David Rivers grabbed a career-high seven rebounds, topping his previous best of six against Southern.