Behind a season-high 29 points from Glynn Watson Jr., Nebraska topped No. 14 Minnesota, 78-68, Tuesday evening at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Watson hit 9-of-17 shots from the floor and grabbed a career-high nine rebounds, to pace three Huskers in double figures. The nine rebounds topped his previous best of six and played a major role in Nebraska out-rebounding the Golden Gophers, 42-38.
Nebraska (7-3, 1-1 Big Ten) held Minnesota to season lows in points and field goal percentage (32.4), holding the Big Ten’s highest scoring attack to 20 points below its season average.
Watson scored seven straight points for the Huskers in a 7-1 spurt in the opening four minutes of the second half, stretching what was a 39-31 halftime lead to 14 and force a Minnesota timeout.
Minnesota (8-2, 1-1 Big Ten) closed a 17-point deficit to eight on two occasions, the last being 74-55 with 47 seconds left, but Isaac Copeland and Watson went 4-of-6 from the line in the final minute to hold the Gophers at bay.
Copeland finished with 12 points and five rebounds, while James Palmer Jr. added 11 markers and four assists. NU’s biggest work was on the defensive end, where the Huskers blocked nine shots, including three by Duby Okeke and forced 13 Golden Gopher turners.
Nate Mason had 20 points to pace Minnesota, but Nebraska limited Jordan Murphy to 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting, and 10 boards as he totaled his 10th straight double-double.
Nebraska put together one of best first halves of the season in taking a 39-31 lead to the locker room. NU held the Golden Gophers to its lowest first-half total of the season and just 33 percent shooting, while NU shot 40 percent and out-rebounded Minnesota, 25-19, in the opening 20 minutes.
Nebraska trailed 14-12 before running off 10 straights, including six from Copeland, to build a 22-14 lead after Copeland’s 3-point play with 8:53 left in the half.
Minnesota chipped away and used a 9-2 spurt to pull within 24-23 after a Nate Mason 3-pointer with 6:15 left in the half, but the Huskers would answer, as a Thomas Allen 3-pointer ended the Gopher spurt.
Minnesota pulled to within 34-31 after a Nate Mason basket, but closed the half with five straight points, including a 3-pointer from Copeland and a pair of Taylor free throws, to push the lead back to eight at the break.
The Huskers return to action on Saturday afternoon, as Nebraska travels to Omaha to take on the Creighton Bluejays.