Nebraska Postgame Notes

*-Nebraska improved to 20-8 on the season, matching its best 28-game start in the Big Ten era (also 2017-18).It is the seventh time Nebraska has won 20-or-more games in the regular season (also 1919-20, 1977-78, 1965-66, 1990-91, 1992-93 and 2017-18). 

* Nebraska tied a school record with its 17th home win, which had been done three other times in school history. Nebraska is 17-1 at Pinnacle Bank Arena this season.

*-Nebraska has now won 10 Big Ten games, marking only the third time since joining the conference that NU has reached double figures in conference wins.

*-Nebraska held Minnesota to a season-low 55 points as its previous low was 58 at San Francisco on Nov. 26. Minnesota entered Sunday’s game averaging 76.7 points per game.

*-Nebraska has won four straight Big Ten games by at least 15 points including tonight’s 18-point victory.  This marks the first time Nebraska has won four straight conference games by 15 or more points since winning four straight Missouri Valley Conference games by at least 15 points in 1911-12.  

*-Nebraska last won four straight conference games by double figures in 1998-99 when the Huskers won four straight Big 12 games by at least 13 points.  

*-Juwan Gary posted a career high with 22 points, betting his previous career high of 20 on two other occasions. Gary also had a career-high four 3-pointers, topping his previous best of three on two other occasions. 

*-Nebraska is 15-0 this season when holding opponents under 70 points and has won 19 straight dating back to last season. 
*Jamarques Lawrence finished with 11 points off the bench, the 25th double-figure effort off the bench by a Husker this season. NU has had at least one double-figure bench scorer in 23 contests.

Postgame Quotes

Nebraska Head Coach Fred HoibergOn the team’s toughness“With the way things went in the second half up in Minneapolis, whatever it was, a couple months ago, that’s what really defines this team. Since that game, Ben Johnson’s done an absolutely phenomenal job with his group, and they really pride themselves on winning the glass, winning the 50/50 game. I thought early that our guys set the tone. It was Josiah (Allick) again, that got two offensive rebounds early in the game. I think the best sign for us was when the ball wasn’t going in the basket, and some really weird things happened, like Keisei (Tominaga) misses a wide-open layup on the first play. Sam (Hoiberg) has a ball that looked like it went in and then all of the sudden bounced out. Keisei had two wide-open threes, and we missed a couple other easy ones, and we still had an eight-point lead at halftime. If our guys continue to buy into that, it’s not always easy to continue to defend and continue to grind out possessions. When the ball’s not going into the basket, it’s human nature to get a little deflated, but I thought our guys, pretty much all the way through – we had one little minute-and-a-half stretch where they cut down the 12-point lead to six – but we got a big basket to put it back to eight. I thought the aggressiveness we came out with in the second half was exactly where we needed it to force it back to double-digits. Our movement was better in the second half and our guys finished plays. It’s not very often where Rienk (Mast), CJ (Wilcher), Keisei (Tominaga), and Sam (Hoiberg) go 0-11 combined from three, but we still found a way to win the game by double-digits. I’m really proud of the guys, we need to keep that defensive edge. I like how we’re playing right now, and we have to continue to go out there and focus on the next one, a really good Ohio State team who have had a couple of the best wins in the conference in the past week.”

On limiting Minnesota offensively“I think the biggest thing was finishing possessions. We didn’t do that the first time that we played, and they had a lot to do with it. Their physicality just overwhelmed us in that second half and believe me, we watched a lot of those clips and we talked a lot about it these last three or four days heading into this one. Our guys have had great prep, that’s what I talked about. We need to have the two best days of prep of the year after a big road win. After our first road win in conference, we can’t have a letdown. We knew we were going to have as good of a crowd as we’ve had all year, and we needed to get them into the game early. I thought we did that with hustle plays. We didn’t do it with making shots, we did it with hustle plays, which I know this fanbase appreciates as much as anything. We just found a way to continue to go out there and play when the ball wasn’t going in and that’s a great sign, when you have a team that will do that and battle through those bad stretches of offense.”

Junior Forward Juwan GaryOn defensive performance“Nothing like we’ve never done before, we just go out and play our defensive edge, and have that defensive edge. That’s what we did. As a team, if we can play defense like this, it’s going to be a very great run for us in the next month or so. Today was a great feel, just having a full game of defense, so we’ll continue doing it.  

On his shooting performance“It’s just confidence. Teammates were finding me, wide open shots, like you said. Nothing too special, they find me wide open, I’m going to take my shots. They trust me to take those shots. I put a lot of work into my shot over the year or two years I’ve been here with Fred (Hoiberg). Nothing special at all, if I’m wide open, I’m going to shoot it. It doesn’t matter if I make it or miss, I’m going to shoot the next one if I’m wide open for sure. It’s more just a confidence thing for myself.”

On the home-court advantage“The fan base is like a sundae, like a cherry on top of us for sure. Their energy, the noise, we just feel their energy. Their energy comes off us, it just brings all the energy toward us. I give a lot of credit to our fans, I love the support, I love that they come out every game. I think it’s our fourth game we’ve sold out this year. This has been a very fun season just seeing the crowd enjoying us play.”

Junior Guard Brice Williams
On wanting it more“We turned the tides. We got a road win, and obviously we’ve been taking care at home. We know that every night we have to go out there and be tough. We’re making that turn heading into March, and that’s what you want to do. You don’t want to come out too hot and then level off, you want to be on the uptick, trending upward as the season goes on, and that’s what we’re doing right now. We’re figuring out what works, we’re staying with what works, and we’re going to keep doing what works. 

On what went into the defensive performance“Just attention to detail. Every team in the country scouts, but it’s all about execution. Limiting what they want to do and figuring out how we can make their weaknesses our strengths. We executed on all of our matchups at our highest level so far and took them out of their game. They only had 55 points, and that’s probably the lowest they’ve had all season so far.”

Minnesota Coach Ben Johnson
On the offensive struggles in the beginning
“Yeah. We tried to try to warn our guys that this is a really good team. Obviously, they did an unbelievable job here at home. Coming from the last game, we fully understood the type of intensity that they were going to bring, and I just didn't think we matched it. In the first half, although it was relatively close, I still didn't feel like the physicality was anywhere close to even. With the second half, just their defensive presence, we couldn't get the ball really posted like we wanted to, and we worked on struggling to finish when we got downhill and ended up settling for probably too many jumpers. That's credit to them. I thought they did a phenomenal job with their energy and they turned up on defense and I have to give (Juwan) Gary a lot of credit. I thought we did a lot of good things with some of their other key guys, and I thought he did a good job of stepping up and making timely shots. I thought he really was a big piece of their win today.”

On who wanted this win more
“I just felt like for our guys, it was the first time we've been here and so I just told them, that's what desperation feels like and we have to learn from that. That's what a possessed team looks like and feels like. Not that we didn't want to win, because I know we did, But there's levels and I just thought they rose to a different level. Again, I credit this place. This is one of the hardest places to play in the league. I think they do a really good job of feeding off the crowd and the energy in here, and we just didn't respond well. But part of that not responding well is because you know, they did a really good job.”

On the noticeable changes in Nebraska since Minneapolis
“I just think as the season progresses, teams get better with their stuff. So I think you know, they're just running their offense crisper, the timing is better, the cuts are harder, guys probably know their roles a little bit more, and then defensively, you're just more comfortable in your system. Now when you get comfortable then you can take another layer of playing hard – that was five, six or seven, now let's get it to eight, nine or 10. They were as aggressive, if not more in their post, than we've seen and they really forced us to not get anything in the paint. I think that was their effort and their system, you can just tell that they're really clicking and have a lot of confidence in it right now.”