Bruce Thorson, USA Today Sports

Nebraska: 81 Southern: 76

Freshman Jeriah Horne scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half, as Nebraska closed non-conference play with an 81-76 win over Southern Tuesday evening.


Lincoln, Neb. – Freshman Jeriah Horne scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half, as Nebraska closed non-conference play with an 81-76 win over Southern Tuesday evening.

Horne, a 6-foot-7 freshman from Overland Park, Kan., hit 7-of-9 shots from the floor, including four 3-pointers to pace four Huskers in double figures.

Horne’s 3-pointer with 11:01 left broke a 53-all tie and keyed a decisive 8-0 run for the Huskers, who improved to 6-6 on the season and snapped a three-game losing streak. After Southern closed to within 66-63, Horne came through with five points in a 7-2 Husker spurt, including a 3-pointer with 3:49 left to stake the Huskers a 73-65 advantage before his final basket, a jumper with 14.1 seconds remaining to beat the shot clock, gave the Huskers a 79-73 lead.

Southern (4-8) had one final opportunity as a 3-pointer from Emanual Sheperd with 4.1 second left, but Glynn Watson Jr. hit a pair of free throws to seal the win.

Watson had 13 points for the Huskers, while Anton Gill came off the bench for 10 points and three rebounds, as the Husker reserves accounted for a season-high 38 bench points.

In the first half, the Huskers got a balanced attack and a strong performance from the bench in taking a 40-36 halftime lead. Nebraska put eight players into the scoring column, including six points apiece from Ed Morrow Jr., Gill and Jordy Tshimanga. 

Nebraska trailed 14-11 at the 14:39 mark before the Husker reserves keyed a 14-2 spurt, as the bench scored all 14 of the Huskers point, including six markers from Tshimanaga, who also had five boards in the first half, and a pair of 3-pointers from Gill, the second putting the Huskers up 25-16 with 10:03 left in the half.

The Huskers led 34-25 after an Evan Taylor jumper, but the Jaguars used an 8-2 spurt to pull within 36-33after a 3-pointer from Shawn Prudhomme, who had eight first-half points. The Huskers eventually built a 40-33 lead before Brandon Ganaway banked in a 30-footer to beat the halftime buzzer, as Southern went 5-of-7 from 3-point range in the opening half.

Ganaway’s 3-pointer sparked the visitors, who used a 12-1 spurt to build a 45-41 lead after a banked in 3-pointer from Tre’Lun Banks with 15:57 left. Banks led four Jaguars in double figures with 16 points.

Nebraska fought right back as a Watson’s 3-pointer keyed six unanswered points as the Huskers built a 47-45 lead after a pair of Evan Taylor free throws with 14:34 left, and neither team seized control until NU’s run keyed by Horne.

The Huskers will be off until opening Big Ten play at No. 16 Indiana on Wednesday, Dec. 28. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. (CT) and will be televised on BTN and carried on the Husker Sports Network.

Opening statement
“I’m proud of these guys. I thought they played hard, and we played with better pace. We withstood a very good effort by an excellent Southern team. They have a lot of potential to make the NCAA tournament.  Quite frankly our bench was excellent. They were 14 for 25 and when you see a guy like Jeriah Horne gets 18 and guard Anton Gill gets 10, those two guys go six for nine from three. That’s a great deal of help for our offense.”

On Jeriah Horne’s performance 
“We played [Jeriah Horne] and he came through. I credit his patience. We played small, so we got out rebounded and there were some things we gave up on the interior, but he got them back in bunches. We still have to figure out where he fits in the rotation, but I was very proud of him and that’s going to hopefully build his confidence a great deal.”

On the freshmen performances
“We had a really hard practice yesterday where we challenged everybody. No one in particular and in film today I thought we were to the point again on just watching practice yesterday and they responded. All three of [the freshmen] played well and gave us a lot of help.”

On tonight’s win going into Big Ten play. 
“It was huge. It was one of those things where they banked in a couple of three’s. You’re sitting there like we’re not getting a break. These guys are making everything, and I thought our guys played alright defensively. Our second half defense wasn’t where it should be, but at the same time, everybody felt good. Everybody felt like they accomplished something in practice yesterday. It was very physical, hard practice. I thought we played harder today. I think we can at least rest our head on our pillow tonightknowing the way we have to win. The way we have to play is to go all out, give extreme effort, run harder, play harder and good things will happen.”

On the team’s energy tonight after Sunday’s loss:
“It came from the loss and that slap in the face of reality and a really good hard practice. These guys just really believing ‘We can do it, but we have to play a certain way.’ It was from the get go when I thought that these guys were hitting tough shots. They were hitting tough shots. We stopped three straight times and went down four straight possessions. We hit a deep three and then something weird happened and we threw it to them and they got one. We probably gave them 12-15 points in the first half counting that 3-pointer at the buzzer.  So, I thought ‘Holy Cow’ but, they never lost energy. The crowd was there and was great, they really supported the guys, and I really appreciate that. But I thought these guys just kinda believed. Like ‘If we play hard, were going to win’ and you have to believe that regardless of who’s name is across whether that be Gardner-Webb, Indiana, Maryland or anybody so I thought that was a good step forward. We got to keep encouraging them and building them up and understand that there’s going to be some discomfort, pain to the game, the physical style we have to play to be successful.”

On what the team has to improve on entering Big Ten play.

“Our offense no doubt and our second half defense isn’t up to our standards. Those are our two things more importantly. I’m excited for conference play.  think those two things mostly.

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