The Bob Devaney Sports Center wanted one last victory before it closed down in Lincoln, Neb. The arena got its wish on Wednesday night.
Nebraska’s three seniors played a big role on Senior Night as the Cornhuskers beat the Minnesota Gophers, 53-51. The trio of Andre Almeoda, Brandon Ubel and Dylan Talley combined for 31 points en route to the victory.
After drubbing the Cornhuskers by 19 in its first meeting in January, Minnesota could not find the basket on the road at Nebraska (14-16, 5-12) as the Gophers dropped its seventh straight road game.
Minnesota (20-10, 8-9) last won on the road at Illinois on Jan. 9.
The shooting difficulties afflicted multiple Gopher players on Wednesday.
Usual starters Andre Hollins, Joe Coleman, Austin Hollins, and Rodney Williams combined for one point in the first 26 minutes.
While Andre finished with 14 points, his struggles were evident. An example with five minutes remaining in the game, Hollins nipped the ball away from Nebraska but was errant on the two-on-one opportunity. Instead of going in for the easy layup, Hollins missed the floater.
As a team, Minnesota was just three of 13 from three-point range and missed half of its 20 free throw attempts.
Ubel was a force to be reckoned with in the second half for the Huskers, scoring all of his game-high 15 points in the final 20 minutes. Ubel plowed through defenders as soon as the whistle blew to begin the half, gliding for the first five points.
The senior center also tallied six rebounds and four assists in 30 minutes.
With the Cornhuskers leading by six, Ubel received the ball on the interior for Nebraska. His shot was blocked by Andre Ingram. Yet, Dylan Talley recovered the loose ball and nailed the three-pointer.
The Gophers inched back from a nine-point deficit late but fell short as Maverick Ahanmisi rimmed out Minnesota’s final shot with just seconds remaining.
If Minnesota had won on Wednesday, the team would have been in the driver’s seat to finish above .500 in the Big Ten for the first time under Tubby Smith. Instead, the Gophers, who could have been ranked as high as sixth in the conference, could drop to ninth if the team loses at Purdue on Saturday.
The coaching staff went with the same starting lineup as Senior Day last Saturday. The senior-heavy lineup gave way to more playing time for Andre Ingram and Julian Welch.
Ingram made the most of his extra playing time. The senior shot a season-high four shots in the first half, accumulating six points in 22 minutes.
The lineup change also gave way to an extra boost defensively. The Gophers blocked nine shots on Wednesday night, including three from both Ingram and Elliott Eliason.