The Nebraska Cornhuskers finally earned their first win of the Fred Hoiberg-era, using a monster first half to demolish the South Dakota State Jackrabbits, 90-73, on Friday night in Lincoln, Neb.
Cam Mack scored a game-high 24 points to help Nebraska erase its early-season frustrations in the wire-to-wire victory.
The 90-point outburst stood in stark contrast to Nebraska’s two dreadful losses to open the season, when the Huskers (1-2) scored 125 points combined, including 47 in their season-opening loss to UC Riverside.
Mack shot 8-for-14 from the floor, one of four Cornhuskers to score in double-figures. Haanif Cheatham added 17 points, Dachon Burke Jr. pitched in 17 points and seven rebounds, and freshman Kevin Cross contributed 10 points.
Junior forward Douglas Wilson paced South Dakota St. (3-2) with 17 points and 14 rebounds.
Nebraska improved to 13-0 all-time vs. the Jackrabbits.
The Cornhuskers shot 56.8 percent from the floor in the first half en route to a 51-27 halftime lead. They led by as many as 31 points and never trailed.
Nebraska put three players in double-figures in the first half, Mack with 14, Burke 12 and Cheatham 10.
The game started meager enough, with Nebraska ahead 4-2 in the first 2 1/2 minutes.
But then the Cornhuskers turned up the pace and defensive intensity.
Mack nailed a 3-pointer, Burke earned a three-point play on a layup, Cheatham followed with another layup in transition and Nebraska was up 12-2 with 15:13 left.
Thorir Thorbjarnarson’s trey made it a 20-point game, 32-12, with 8:32 left. From there, the Huskers would go on another spurt, 13-2, culminating with Yvan Ouedraogo’s layup that made it 45-14 with 4:50 left.
Thorbjarnarson is the only returning player from last year’s Nebraska team under former coach Tim Miles. Nebraska leads the nation with 14 first-year players.
Nebraska forced the Jackrabbits into nine first-half turnovers.
Next up for Nebraska is Southern on Nov. 22. The Jackrabbits host North Alabama on Tuesday.
—Field Level Media