‘We gotta find a way to get our identity back’: Husker hoops falls to Northwestern
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – With two of its most critical players injured, the shorthanded Nebraska men’s basketball team suffered a 78-63 loss to Northwestern on Wednesday night.
With both forward Juwan Gary and guard Emmanuel Bandoumel out for the season, the Huskers turned to freshmen to fill the gaps against the Wildcats.
In his first career start, replacing Bandoumel, guard Jamarques Lawrence had a career-high 12 points. He was 4-of-8 from the 3-point line, and those four 3-pointers tie a season high for Nebraska.
And Sam Hoiberg set career highs with six points and six rebounds in a career-high 17 minutes. Nebraska outscored Northwestern by 11 points in his time on the court.
The Huskers’ offensive leader was Keisei Tominaga who had 22 points, the most of his career in a Big Ten game and one point shy of his overall career high.
Tominaga scored 15 of his 22 points in the first half, including the Huskers’ first 12 points of the game.
But Northwestern had one of its best offensive performances of the season, shooting 51.8% from the field and making 11 from behind the arc.
The Wildcats were led by Ty Berry, who scored 26 points, including six 3-pointers.
Northwestern head coach Chris Collins commented on the absence of Gary and Bandoumel post-win, saying this is his favorite Nebraska team to watch.
“Their grit, their toughness — they gave this team an edge that you hadn’t seen for a while,” Collins said.
Nebraska head coach Fred Hoiberg said his squad made a “great run with a lot of reserves in the game” early, but Northwestern dominated the Huskers from the end of the first half.
The coach said he wants to see more energy, especially on defense, which is lacking one of its most vocal leaders in Bandoumel.
“Defense is a lot of mental stuff,” he said. “We didn’t come out with the right mindset tonight. We gotta find a way to get our identity back somehow, someway without some really key players on the floor, and I am confident we’ll bounce back.”