Nebraska used a balanced offensive attack to beat Washington State 82-71 on Monday night in the first round of the Cayman Islands Classic at George Town.
Nebraska (3-2) trailed 37-34 at halftime but then exploded on offense in the second half. The Huskers nearly matched their entire first-half scoring output in the first 12:18 of the second half.
With 7:42 left in the game, Nebraska had scored 32 second-half points to take a 66-53 lead. The Huskers were able to maintain that lead the rest of the way to advance to a semifinal matchup with George Mason.
The Cougars (2-3) will oppose Old Dominion on Tuesday in the losers bracket.
Haanif Cheatham finished with 19 points for Nebraska, but he had plenty of help. Jervay Green scored 16 points, and Kevin Cross and Dachon Burke each had 14 points. Cam Mack posted 10 points, seven rebounds and six assists, and Cross grabbed a team-high eight boards.
CJ Elleby carried Washington State with 27 points and Isaac Bonton had 17, but they didn’t have the help Cheatham and Green received for Nebraska. No other Washington State player scored more than seven points.
The Cornhuskers shot 52.6 percent from the floor compared to the Cougars’ 37 percent. Nebraska made 9 of 16 3-point attempts while Washington State was 6 of 27 from behind the arc.
Nebraska’s big second half, with an explosive offense that overwhelmed the Cougars, was never more apparent than in a stretch of seven minutes midway through.
Washington State led 40-36 with 18 minutes left, but a 20-7 surge pushed the Cornhuskers to a nine point lead with 11:11 remaining. Green scored 11 points in that sequence, hitting three 3-pointers.
—Field Level Media