MINNEAPOLIS — Nebraska got a career-high 30 points from guard Ray Gallegos and posted its second-best field-goal percentage of the season on Tuesday night, but it didn't matter.
That's because the Huskers started slowly, gave up a season-high in points and got badly outrebounded in an 84-65 loss to No. 23 Minnesota.
The Gophers (16-5, 4-4) broke a four-game losing skid by athletically manhandling NU in the paint (44 points to 16) and on the boards (36-19).
Gallegos' 30 points on 12 of 17 field goals, including 6 of 9 3-pointers, were the most by a Husker since center Aleks Maric went for 32 against Missouri five seasons ago.
“Ray was super,” NU coach Tim Miles said. “If it wasn't for Ray ... finish the sentence.
“Ray was really in rhythm and looked really smooth. I felt like we couldn't run enough stuff for him, but we also had to have some inside presence.”
Gallegos had 20 points in the first half, but Minnesota never trailed and never really was threatened after Nebraska (11-11, 2-7) stumbled out of the gate.
Minnesota claimed the opening tip and ran a backdoor play for a dunk just 14 seconds in. It was 7-0 Gophers less than 2 minutes later. The margin was 23-8 with 12:06 to go in the half.
|BIG RED TODAY ON FACEBOOK|
|Join the conversation on the Big Red Today Facebook page.|
Forward Rodney Williams, stuck in a shooting slump, had 12 of Minnesota's first 23 points. He finished with a season-high 23.
“The start was pretty frustrating,” Gallegos said. “In practice, we went over and over about defensive rebounding. Then they came out and got a lot of second chances that hurt us a lot.”
Nebraska — more accurately, Gallegos — finally charged up the offense.
His back-to-back 3-pointers brought NU back to 25-18 with 8:39 to go. The Huskers closed to seven points two more times before half. The last one was on a long 2-pointer from Gallegos, giving him 20 and making it 42-35.
In the second half, Gallegos didn't score in the first 12 minutes. By then, Nebraska trailed 63-47.
Miles didn't fault his team's effort, instead praising Minnesota's sense of urgency.
“They were crisper than we were,” he said. “They looked like a team that had lost four in a row and needed a win.”
Nebraska shot 54.5 percent from the field (24 of 44), and had been 10-0 when shooting 40 percent or better this season. Minnesota countered by hitting 54.2 percent, plus its 16 offensive rebounds were just three shy of NU's overall count.
The Huskers play Saturday at 6 p.m. at home against No. 11 Ohio State (16-4, 6-2). The Buckeyes beat NU 70-44 on Jan. 2.