Despite a career-high 30 points from Ray Gallegos, the Nebraska men’s basketball team fell to No. 23 Minnesota, 84-65, Tuesday night at Williams Arena.
Gallegos became the first Husker since 2008 to score 30 points in a game, topping his previous high of 22 set at UTEP on Dec. 22, as the junior guard recorded his fourth 20-point game of the season. Gallegos went 12-of-17 from the field, including six 3-pointers to match his career high.
Unfortunately for the Huskers (11-11, 2-7 Big Ten), Minnesota put three players in double figures, led by 23 from Rodney Williams and shot 54.2 percent from the floor, becoming only the second Husker opponent in 2012-13 to shoot above 50 percent. Williams hit 8-of-13 shots from the floor, while the Gophers, who improved to 16-5 and snapped a four-game losing streak, converted 16 offensive rebounds in 20 points.
Both teams shot lights out in the first half, as Minnesota took a 44-35 halftime lead. Nebraska shot 63.6 percent from the field in the first half, as Gallegos had 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range. Minnesota, which hit 10 of its first 13 shots, shot 55 percent from the floor while also turning seven offensive boards into 10 points.
Williams got Minnesota going early as the senior forward had six of the Gophers first seven points before Gallegos’ jumper got the Huskers on the scoreboard. Williams had 12 of his 19 first-half points in the first 8:20, as the Gophers built an early 23-8 lead.
Gallegos keyed the Husker comeback, hitting three 3-pointers as part of a 10-2 run to pull the Huskers within 25-18 with 8:40 left in the half. Minnesota responded moments later with a 5-0 run before another Gallegos 3-pointer ended the run. Nebraska trailed 38-25 before Shavon Shields ran off five straight points, hitting a three-point play and a layup to make it an eight point game. NU cut the lead to seven twice in the final two minutes, the last being on Gallegos jumper for his 20th point of the half to make it 42-35 before Andre Hollins’ bucket with a second left pushed the lead to nine.
In the second half, the Huskers pulled to within 48-40 after a Shavon Shields’ 3-pointer with 16:53 left, but Andre Hollins keyed an 10-2 Gopher spurt with six straight points, including a 3-pointer to take a 58-42 lead after Joe Coleman layup with 12:30 left. Nebraska pulled to within 60-47 after a Ubel 3-pointer with 11:28 left, but could not get any closer, as 3-pointers from Austin Hollins and Joe Coleman stretched the lead back to 16, and NU was unable to cut into the Gophers’ advantage the rest of the way.
Brandon Ubel and Shields joined Gallegos in double figures with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Nebraska returns to action Saturday night, as the Huskers take on Ohio State. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. and will be televised on BTN and carried on the Husker Sports Network.