Lincoln - It was a closing night to remember, as Brandon Ubel scored all 15 points in the second half to lead Nebraska to a 53-51 win over Minnesota Wednesday evening at the Devaney Center.
One of three Husker seniors making their final home appearance, Ubel willed the Huskers (14-16, 5-12 Big Ten) down the stretch, scoring the Huskers final 10 points to keep Minnesota at bay.
Ubel's 3-point play with 2:02 left broke a 46-all deadlock and gave NU the lead for good while he salted away the final game in the Devaney Center by hitting four straight free throws in the final 11 seconds to preserve a hard-fought win.
Fellow senior Dylan Talley joined Ubel in double figures with 12 points, as Nebraska went 16-of-20 from the line including 13-of-14 in the second half.
NU's third senior, Andre Almeida, played a major role in limiting a Golden Gopher attack that scored 84 in the first matchup in Minneapolis. Almeida gave the Huskers 18 minutes off the bench, grabbing five rebounds and blocking three shots while he added a pair of baskets.
The final game after 37 years in the Devaney Center featured plenty of drama, as Minnesota (20-10, 8-9 Big Ten) had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds. With eight seconds left, a five-second call on the Huskers gave the ball to the Golden Gophers under the Husker basket.
Minnesota got the ball to Maverick Ahanmisi for a game-tying attempt, but his 3-pointer was off the mark, and Ubel grabbed the rebound and dribbled to the front court where he was fouled with 0.9 seconds left. Ubel sank both free throws to give NU a five-point lead before Andre Hollins' 3-pointer at the buzzer provided the final margin.
Nebraska never trailed in front of a near sellout crowd at the Devaney Center, jumping to an early 9-4 lead in the first five minutes after a Talley 3-pointer. The Gophers came back, as a three-point play from Elliott Eliason and an Andre Ingram jumper helped Minnesota pull within 10-9. The Huskers were unable to shake the Gophers the remainder of the half until a 4-0 run gave NU a 23-19 lead with 1:53 left in the half on a Shavon Shields free throw before Eliason's basket pulled Minnesota within two at the break.
Ubel, who was battled foul trouble in a scoreless first half, got the Huskers going quickly in the second half, hitting a 3-pointer and a jumper to stretch the lead to 28-21 with 18:05 left. Minnesota pulled within 28-24 but Talley hit two straight baskets, the last being a 3-pointer to give the Huskers a 33-24 lead and force a Gopher timeout.
The Huskers led 36-29, but were in severe foul trouble with Shields and David Rivers both saddled with four fouls and the Gophers took advantage. Mbakwe led a 5-0 Gopher run to pull within 36-34 before Ray Gallegos broke a nearly four minute dryspell with a 3-pointer to extend the lead back to five points at 39-34.
Minnesota would continue to claw back down the stretch after Nebraska built a 46-41 lead, as Andre Hollins scored five of his 14 points in pull the Gophers even with 2:15 left before Ubel's three-point play gave Nebraska a lead they would not relinquish.
The Huskers close the regular season Saturday afternoon, as they travel to Iowa. Tipoff is set for 1:15 p.m. and the game will be televised on BTN and carried on the Husker Sports Network.