Huskers Shut Down No. 23 Michigan, 72-52
LINCOLN – James Palmer Jr. led four Huskers in double figures, as Nebraska turned in its best defensive effort of the season in posting a 72-52 win over No. 23 Michigan Thursday night in front of a crowd of 15,794 at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Palmer had a game-high 19 points, while Isaiah Roby added a career-high 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting to lead the Huskers to their first win over Michigan since 1964. Prior to tonight, the Huskers were winless in eight tries against the Wolverines since joining the Big Ten in 2011-12.
Isaac Copeland and Anton Gill added 13 and 10 points respectively, as Nebraska shot 55 percent from the field in its best shooting performance since late November.
While Nebraska enjoyed a balanced attack, it was its defense that shined in breaking a 10-game losing streak to Michigan. The Huskers (14-7, 5-3 Big Ten) held the Wolverines (16-5, 5-3) to season lows in points (52), 3-pointers made (four) and 3-point percentage (22.2 percent) on just 37.5 percent shooting.
NU was also able to force 11 turnovers, including nine steals, against a Wolverine team that led the Big Ten in turnovers.
Nebraska took control of the contest with an 18-4 run, erasing an early deficit and never trailed again.
Nebraska trailed 12-10 before Roby’s reverse layup triggered an 8-0 NU run, as the Huskers built an 18-12 lead on a James Palmer Jr. layup with 11:51 left in the half. Nebraska’s defense helped keep up the lead, as the Huskers used another 10-2 spurt to extend the lead to 28-16 and force Michigan to call timeout. In all, the Huskers held Michigan without a field goal for more than seven minutes during one stretch of the first half.
Michigan pulled to within 30-21 on a Charles Matthews putback, but Copeland, who went 5-of-8 in the first half, hit a driving basket to push the lead back to 11 at the break.
Michigan whittled the lead to eight, at 35-27 before Roby’s dunk ignited a 10-1 run that pushed the margin to 17 with just over 13 minutes remaining.
Michigan made one last run, cutting an 18-point deficit to 12 after a Jordan Poole dunk with 8:38 remaining, but would get no closer. Palmer hit a pair of three throws on the next possession before pushing the lead back to 17 with a 3-pointer from the top of the key that forced Michigan to take a timeout.
Charles Matthews led Michigan, which had won nine of their last 10, with 15, as the Huskers limited Moritz Wagner to just 2 points on 1-of-5 shooting.
The Huskers return to action Monday night, as they travel to Ohio State. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. (CT) and will be carried on the Husker Sports Network and BTN.