Brandon Ubel Leads Nebraska Past Minnesota, 53-51
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Brandon Ubel scored Nebraska’s last 10 points and finished with 15, and the Cornhuskers defeated Minnesota 53-51 Wednesday night in the final college basketball game at Bob Devaney Sports Center.
The Cornhuskers (14-16, 5-12 Big Ten) never trailed, and Nebraska students stormed the court to celebrate the victory over the team that upset then-No. 1 Indiana just last week.
The Huskers won despite shooting only 36 percent. The Gophers (20-10, 8-9) shot 38 percent but made only 10 of 20 free throws while dropping to 1-7 in Big Ten road games.
Dylan Talley added 12 points for the Huskers.
Trevor Mbakwe scored 15 points and Andre Hollins had 14 for Minnesota. Rodney Williams, who scored a season-high 23 against Nebraska in January, was held scoreless.
The Huskers are moving to the new Pinnacle Bank Arena west of campus next season. Fans lingered in the stands after the game, snapping pictures of the 37-year-old arena.
First-year Nebraska coach Tim Miles grabbed the public-address microphone and said, “Hey, Husker fans. Thank you for 37 years in the Devaney Center. We love you.”
Minnesota had won four straight over Nebraska, including an 84-65 victory in Minneapolis on Jan. 29.
The Gophers couldn’t finish their comeback against the Huskers and a juiced-up crowd of 13,194 that came to see off the arena and seniors Ubel, Talley and Andre Almeida.
The Huskers led by as many as nine points in the second half but couldn’t put the Gophers away because of two long field-goal droughts.
After Hollins cut it to 46-44, the Gophers’ pressure defense forced Talley to take a long 3-pointer as the shot clock was running down. Rivers tried to chase down the long rebound but committed his fifth foul when he ran into Hollins. Hollins made the free throws to tie it at 46 with 2:21 left.
Nebraska was back on top 49-46 after Ubel went to the hoop against Elliott Eliason, got fouled and made the free throw.
Minnesota had another chance after Julian Welch partially blocked a Benny Parker shot. Hollins missed a 3 with 13 seconds left. Ubel was fouled on the rebound and made the free throws, and it was 51-46.
After Hollins drove the lane to make it a three-point game with 8 seconds left, Ray Gallegos was called for a five-second violation trying to inbound the ball.
Maverick Ahanmisi missed a 3-pointer, and Ubel got the rebound, took off up the court and was fouled again. He made two free throws to secure the victory.
Ubel hit just his sixth 3-pointer of the season as Nebraska went on a 10-3 run to start the second half and stretched its lead to 33-24. Mbakwe put back Ahanmisi’s missed free throw to pull the Gophers within 36-32 with 10 minutes left.
Gallegos broke a long field-goal drought with a 3-pointer that put the Huskers up 39-34. Hollins hit the Gophers’ first 3-pointer in nine tries to make it a two-point game again.
Nebraska led 23-21 after a physical first half. Minnesota had a shot-clock violation, and both teams nearly ran out the shot clock several other times.
Almeida, who entered the game after Ubel committed his second foul midway through the first half, turned in some quality minutes after sitting out the last two games with a knee injury.
The 6-foot-11, 314-pound Almeida looked light on his feet as he moved along the baseline. He dropped in an easy basket on his first touch and put back a missed shot on his third.
Later, he made a crowd-pleasing defensive play when he won a battle of strength against Eliason, a native of Chadron, Neb., whose homecoming drew boos from the student section. As Eliason tried to go up with a shot under the basket, Almeida got his hand on the ball and kept it down, with the ball squirting out of bounds off Eliason. The play got one of the biggest cheers of the night.
Almeida finished with three of the Huskers’ five blocked shots.
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