Minneapolis – Nate Mason’s 25 points led four Golden Gophers in double figures, as Minnesota topped Nebraska, 88-73, at Williams Arena Thursday evening.
Mason hit 9-of-13 shots from the field, as Minnesota (23-7, 11-6 Big Ten) shot 56 percent and never trailed in winning their eighth straight game.
The Golden Gophers took control in the final five minutes of the first half, using a 14-2 run to build a 40-27 halftime advantage and were in control for most of the second half.
Nebraska (12-17, 6-11 Big Ten) used a 7-2 spurt to pull within 26-25 after a Tai Webster 3-pointer with 5:03 left in the first half, but would get no closer. The Gophers extended the lead with a 10-0 spurt, as three free throws from Mason pushed the Gopher lead to 11, at 36-25, before a Watson basket ended the run.
Jordan Murphy had 20 points and 11 rebounds for Minnesota while Depree McBrayer had 16 points and six assists off the bench.
Glynn Watson Jr. led five Huskers in double figures with 14 points and three assists while Ed Morrow Jr. had 12 points and six rebounds off the bench.
The Huskers cut the deficit to 11 in the opening minutes of the first half after a Watson jumper, but Mason has five points in a 13-4 run to push the lead to 20, at 53-33, after a pair of Amir Coffey free throws with 14:57 remaining. From there, the Gophers were in control before the Huskers made a late run to cut the deficit to 15.
In the first half, Minnesota shot 50 percent from the field, but also went 10-of-13 from the foul line, while the Huskers shot 34 percent from the floor and were unable to get to the line once in the opening 20 minutes.
Neither team could take control in the first 10 minutes before Minnesota used an 8-2 run to break open a 16-all tie and taking a 24-18 lead on a basket from Jordan Murphy. NU would chip away and get within one, but Minnesota stretched the lead to 13 at halftime.
The Huskers return home for the regular-season finale against Michigan on Sunday night. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and Senior Night Ceremonies for Tai Webster will begin at 6:45 p.m. A limited number of tickets are available by visiting Huskers.com/Tickets or calling 800-8-BIGRED Friday during business hours.
*-Minnesota shot 55.9 percent, becoming the first Husker opponent to shot over 50 percent since Michigan State on Feb. 2.
*-Minnesota’s 11 blocked shots was the second-highest total by a Husker opponent this season (Kansas 12)
*-Tai Webster reached double figures for the 30th straight game, the longest since Terran Petteway reached double figures in 30 straight games covering the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons. Over the last 20 years, only Tyronn Lue (36, 1996-97, 1997-98) has had a longer double-figure streak.
*- Webster became only the fourth Husker to record 500 points and 100 assists in a season, joining Tyronn Lue, Jaron Boone and Erick Strickland.
*-Michael Jacobson reached double figures for the first time since Feb. 9, as he had 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
*-Nebraska placed a season-high five players in double figures, as it also happened against South Dakota on Dec. 3
*-Jeriah Horne’s 10-point effort was his first double-figure effort since Jan. 29.
*-Nebraska enjoyed a 43-38 advantage on the glass, the eighth time in nine games that NU has tied or out-rebounded its opponent.