No. 15 Michigan deals blow to Nebraska's NCAA hopes

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman scored 21 points and Moe Wagner had 20 as No. 15 Michigan dealt a significant blow to Nebraska's NCAA hopes, beating the Cornhuskers 77-58 in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament on Friday.

The fifth-seeded Wolverines (26-7) face top-seed Michigan State on Saturday in the first semifinal at Madison Square Garden.

Wagner and Abdur-Rahkman were both limited by foul trouble in Michigan's opening tournament victory against Iowa. The Wolverines' stars fouled out in the overtime game against the Hawkeyes, but Michigan survived without them.

Against the fourth-seeded Huskers (22-10), Wagner and Abdur-Rahkman were full-go and Nebraska could not do much to stop them. Wagner drove the baseline for a dunk late in the first half that helped Michigan go up 34-24 at the break.

Abdur-Rahkman's 3 with 6:01 left in the second half made it 61-42 for the Wolverines. The many Michigan fans at the Garden spent the rest of the game singing the school's familiar fight song -- "Hail to the victors valiant" -- chanting "N-I-T" at Nebraska and savoring a chance to knock off the rival Spartans.

Isaiah Roby led Nebraska with 18 points.


Michigan: The Wolverines lost by 20 at Nebraska back in January in one of their worst offensive showings of the season. Abdur-Rahkman said Michigan failed to adjust to the Huskers' defensive switches.

Whatever the issue was in Lincoln, it was solved the second time around. The Wolverines got to the basket effectively in the first half, and the 3-point shooting that was off against Iowa (3 for 19) was on against Nebraska (11 for 23).

Nebraska: Selection Sunday is more than a week away with the Big Ten playing its tournament earlier than usual to get it into the Garden. It figures to be an uneasy wait for coach Tim Miles and his Huskers.

Despite a fourth-place finish in the Big Ten, and winning eight of nine to end the regular season, many observers have Nebraska firmly on the bubble for an at-large NCAA bid. The Huskers best regular-season victory is probably against Michigan. If Nebraska is left out, the Big Ten is looking at getting only four teams in the tournament, barring an upset winner at the Garden.


Michigan: The Wolverines beat the Spartans 82-72 in January at East Lansing.

Nebraska: NCAA or NIT?

*-With the loss, Nebraska falls to 3-7 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament
*-Nebraska saw its three-game win streak at Madison Square Garden snapped.
*-Nebraska falls to 2-3 against ranked opponents this season.
*-Isaiah Roby blocked five shots, one off his season high against Eastern Illinois in the opener. It marked the third time this season and fourth time in his career that he blocked four or more shots in a game. His five blocks was one off his season high against Eastern Illinois in the season opener. Roby also finished with a game-high 16 points and seven rebounds.
*-Roby now has 62 blocked shots on the season, which ranks 10th on Nebraska’s single-season chart. He moved past Wes Wilkinson (61, 2005-06) on Friday.
*-Nebraska finished with eight blocked shots, upping its season total to 178, which is third in school history. It is the 21st time this season that NU blocked five or more shots in a game.
*-Michigan’s 11 3-pointers marked the second-highest total the Huskers allowed this season (15 vs. UTSA). Nebraska led the Big Ten in 3-point percentage defense during the regular season.
*-Nebraska’s five assists were a season low (6 at Ohio State)
*-James Palmer Jr. finished with 16 points, and is now four points away from 10th place on Nebraska’s single-season scoring list. Palmer has reached double figures in 30 of 32 games.
*-Roby shared team-high scoring honors, marking the second time this season that Roby led NU in scoring.