Having just eight available scholarship players against the Wolverines would be a tall task to ask, Nebraska played tough through the first 20 minutes of the game, but couldn’t overcome 22 turnovers as a four-point halftime deficit (32-28) extended quickly to 20 points in an 82-58 loss to Michigan in Ann Arbor on Thursday night.
Husky Haanif Cheatham led the way with 19 points and Dachon Burke chipped in 16 for Nebraska who was without point guard Cam Mack, who was suspended for a violation of team rules before the game.
Michigan (19-11, 10-9 Big Ten) had five players in double figures, led by Isaiah Livers, who had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Zavier Simpson, who scored 11 points and added 10 assists for the Maize Blue crew. Neither Livers nor Simpson played in the first contest between the teams in Lincoln earlier this season.
“You don’t have to look much further than the turnovers with 22 of them,” Nebraska head coach Fred Hoiberg said on his postgame radio show. “I thought in the first half, we had 12 turnovers at half and I thought we went out there and really competed through that. Defensively, we held them to 4-for-16 for the end of the half, and then we came out in the second half and kind of the same story with second halves: we came out and turned the ball over and allowed them to go on the run. In the first half, we withstood that run.”
The Wolverines turned 22 turnovers into 24 points on the night as the Wolverines shot 59 percent from the field in the second half and scored 17 fastbreak points on the night.
In the first half, the Wolverines built a quick nine-point lead before the first media timeout, and then led by nine again at the midpoint of the first half, but was never able to extend the lead past double digits. A pair of three-pointers by Thor Thorbjarnarson and Burke sparked a 10-2 Husker run that cut Michigan’s lead to one with 6:52 left in the half. But it was Michigan full-court pressure in the second half that was the difference in the game.