Wolverines creamed by Cornhuskers in blowout fashion

Michigan was hoping to build off an upset of No. 11 Wisconsin and string together back-to-back wins for the first time in two months.

Instead, the Wolverines continued their offensive struggles on the road without sophomore guard Dug McDaniel and returned to their losing ways in blowout fashion.

Michigan was dominated by Nebraska and buried by an overwhelming first-half run that it never came close to recovering from in a 79-59 thrashing on Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Nebraska's Josiah Allick, center, shoots against Michigan's Will Tschetter, left, during the first half on Saturday.

Grad transfer guard Nimari Burnett had 18 points and sophomore center Tarris Reed Jr. had nine points and nine rebounds for Michigan (8-16, 3-10 Big Ten), which shot a season-worst 32.3% from the field and fell to 0-4 in road games without McDaniel as he serves an academic suspension.

It was the same script for Michigan on the road without McDaniel. The defense remained one of the worst in the league and the offense struggled to create much of anything other than tough pull-up jumpers.

After a forgettable first half when Michigan trailed by as much as 30 and by 20 at the break, the Wolverines tried find a path back into the game while facing a mountainous uphill climb. They never could.

Burnett scored on a layup in transition to cut it to 48-29 with 18:34 remaining. That was immediately countered by Nebraska with a quick 7-0 burst to push the lead back over 20.

Michigan once again whittled the deficit under 20 when sixth-year guard Jaelin Llewellyn canned a 3-pointer to make it 57-38 with 13:08 to go. The Wolverines had their chances to pull closer but missed their next seven shots.

After Nebraska widened the margin back to 25, Michigan kept scratching and clawing. The Wolverines reeled off a 12-2 run that featured back-to-back 3-pointers from redshirt sophomore forward Will Tschetter and Burnett to make it 70-55 with 4:52 left.

BOX SCORE: Nebraska 79, Michigan 59

That’s as close as Michigan could get, as it was handed its 11th loss in 13 games and seventh setback by double figures during that stretch. The Cornhuskers, meanwhile, ended an eight-game losing streak against Michigan and picked up their first win in the series since Jan. 18, 2018.

Keisei Tominaga scored 19, Josiah Allick had 16 points and Brice Williams added 13 for Nebraska (17-8, 7-7), which shot 46.9% from the floor and improved to 7-0 at home during Big Ten play.

It took less than seven minutes for the Wolverines to fall into a double-digit hole that continued to grow and grow, as Nebraska came out firing on all cylinders while Michigan was spinning its wheels.

The Cornhuskers — who entered as the worst offensive rebounding team in conference play — continually beat the Wolverines on offensive glass, took advantage of second-chance opportunities, often made the extra pass and were the aggressors from the start.

After Burnett buried a 3-pointer to make it a two-point game with 15:32 left in the first half, Nebraska took complete control with a 34-6 flurry over a 10-minute stretch.

The Wolverines had no answer for Tominaga, who did a bunch of damage and ignited the run by draining a contested 3-pointer. He blew by freshman guard George Washington III on a baseline drive for a layup then used a pump fake to shake free for an open jumper to put Nebraska up, 18-7, at the 13:28 mark.

The deficit ballooned as everything snowballed for Michigan, which missed 15 of its first 20 field-goal attempts and hampered itself further with turnovers. On the defensive end, Tominaga continued to have his way. He drained a step-back 3-pointer, found an open teammate with a wraparound pass and flipped in a floater during a string of 13 unanswered points.

By the time Tominaga connected on his third 3-pointer and the dust settled on Nebraska’s huge run, the Wolverines were staring at an insurmountable 43-13 deficit with 5:21 left in the first half.

Michigan showed some life and closed the half on a 12-2 run to chip away at Nebraska’s cushion. Senior forward Terrance Williams II and Llewellyn capped the spurt with back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 45-25 at the break.

[email protected]