Nebraska 60, Northern Colorado 50

Wes Wilkinson scored 17 points to lead the Huskers as they held on for a 60-50 win over a pesky Northern Colorado squad Tuesday night at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

Playing their final tuneup before Big 12 Conference play, the Huskers (10-3) hit nearly 50 percent from the field in the opening period and built a 17-point lead, but the Bears -- who had won their first game of the year just five days before -- would not go away. UNC (1-16) went on a 19-0 run spanning the first and second periods to earn a two-point lead early in the second half before Nebraska picked up the intensity and iced the game down the stretch.

UNC got back into the contest by scoring 12 straight points to open second frame. Matt Kline hit a pair of 3-pointers to ignite the Bears and Sean Tiabi then added six points to give them a 37-35 lead three minutes into the second period. Tiabi connected on three straight free throws after being fouled behind the arc and added a traditional trey at the 16:40 mark to give the Bears the two-point lead.

Jamel White finally ended the Husker drought with a driving layup with 14:49 remaining in the contest, Nebraska's first basket since a B.J. Walker layup with 2:41 left in the first period. Wilkinson then recorded a tip-in and the Bears tied it at 37-all before Wilkinson's one-handed, putback dunk gave Nebraska the lead for good.

With Nebraska ahead 51-47 with under five minutes to play, Wilkinson made two big plays on one series as he ran down a long rebound of a missed shot on the opposite side of the court and then came back to drain his fifth trey of the day to give the Huskers a seven-point lead. After UNC missed a shot on the ensuing possession, Nebraska opened the advantage to 10 points as Marcus Walker found Bronsen Schliep for an alley-oop dunk. Schliep made it a three-point play as he drained the free throw after being fouled on the basket.

Tiabi drained a 3-pointer with just over three minutes left to cut NU's lead to seven, 57-50, but Schliep added a pair of free throws and Charles Richardson connected on the first of two freebies to push the final margin to 10 points.

Northern Colorado opened the game strong, posting a quick 5-0 lead before the Huskers could get on the board. Dwayne Birden hit a driving layup to open the game and Kline added a 3-pointer for the five-point lead.

Wilkinson then connected on his first 3-pointer for the Huskers at the 17:35 mark and, following a Dourisseau putback, Wilkinson added a second trey just before the 16-minute mark put NU ahead for the first time at 8-7. Richardson added a jumper to put NU ahead 10-7 at the first media timeout.

Aleks Maric added a basket to give Nebraska a 12-7 lead before Tiabi ended NU's 9-0 run with a 3-pointer. The Huskers extended the run to 15-3 as it held UNC without basket for more than four and one-half minutes. Nebraska then pushed the lead to 17 points, 31-14, on Wilkinson's 3-pointer with 3:11 remaining in the opening frame.

From there, the Bears continued to pound away at the Huskers and went on a 9-2 run in the final three minutes, hitting their final five shots of the half to cut the lead to 10 points, 35-25, at the intermission. UNC had hit just 6-of-24 attempts before the spurt but finished the half shooting 37.9 percent.

Wilkinson finished with a game-high 17 points as the only double-figure scorer for the Huskers. B.J. Walker added eight points and eight rebounds while Joe McCray came off the bench for eight points, five boards, three assists, two steals and a blocked shot in 21 minutes.

The Huskers hit just 31 percent in the second half and finished the game connecting on just 39.7 percent from the field, while the Bears hit 37.0 percent. Both teams had strong performances from beyond the arc as the Huskers hit 47.1 percent and UNC connected on 41.2 percent. Nebraska was able to hold onto the lead down the stretch behind its 42-34 advantage on the glass, but got to the charity stripe just nine times on the day.

Taibi finished with 15 points on 4-of-12 shooting, including hitting 4-of-8 from 3-point range, while Michael Gordy came off the bench to score 10 points.

Nebraska returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 7 when the Huskers open Big 12 Conference play against Oklahoma at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The game against the No. 14 Sooners will be seen on ESPN+ and can be heard on the Pinnacle Sports Network and on

Nebraska Postgame Notes

Nebraska finished the non-conference slate with a 10-3 record, the second time in the past three seasons it has won 10 games before conference play. It is the 24th time in the first 30 years of the Bob Devaney Sports Center that the Huskers won at least 10 home games.

 Nebraska guard Charles Richardson Jr. made his third start of the season and 15th of his career. It was Nebraska's sixth different starting lineup of the year.

 Nebraska allowed just 25 points in each half, equalling the fewest points allowed in any half this season. The Bears' 50 points is a Nebraska opponent low this year.

 • Marcus Walker recorded six assists to equal his career high. He had six assists with two turnovers in 28 minutes of action, his third performance this year with six assists. It was his fifth effort with at least five assists.

Wes Wilkinson hit a career-best five 3-pointers by going 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. The Big 12 leader for 3-point percentage, Wilkinson finished with 17 points and seven rebounds. He also added three blocked shots and leads the Big 12 Conference with 31 blocks in 12 games this season. Last year, he had a career-high 33 blocks in 27 games.

• Bronsen Schliep came off the bench to give the Huskers a spark and finished with a season-high five points, hitting his only shot and all three free throw attempts. Schliep finished one point off his career high.

Nebraska recorded its second-highest 3-point percentage of the year as it hit 8-of-17 from beyond the arc.

Nebraska Coach Barry Collier quotes
On Nebraska playing its last non-conference game of the season
"We had a poor start, but we bounced right back. We played well through the first two-thirds of the first half to get a substantial lead, but we lost our ability to execute. Northern Colorado has guys who can shoot, especially from three, to get back into it. I'm not pleased with how many times we turned the ball over."

On the play heading into Big 12 season on Saturday
"We're not playing 16 games on Saturday, we're playing one. We looked good at times tonight. Sometimes we're guilty of looking past opponents, which is not a good thing for a team to have in its noggin. We're kind of stuck on our egos instead of actually performing. Now we're headed into a high level of play in the Big 12."

On senior forward Wes Wilkinson
"We missed [Wes] on Saturday. He needs to take the opportunities when he gets them, and tonight he took his opportunities behind the 3-point line. He picked up [his shooting percentage] to 83 percent tonight, if I figured that right. He is confident he can make shots, so he shoots without the fear of missing. Wes is having the senior year you want guys to have. He will be a huge weapon for us if he continues to shoot for us."

Nebraska player quotes

Forward Bronsen Schliep
On his spark at the end of the game
"At that point in the game that's what we needed. We came out strong to start the game, but we let down at the end of the first half and the start of the second. Down the stretch we needed someone to step up and play defense."

On the upcoming Big 12 schedule
"When we get into the Big 12 games, we can't let 10 minute spurts like the one we had tonight occur. We need to tighten it down and make sure everyone is ready to play at the start, especially at the start of the second half because we've had some problems with that."

On the team's thoughts heading into Big 12 play
"We've improved since the beginning of the season, but probably not as much as we'd hoped. We're not as far along as we wanted to be because we wanted to be undefeated. We have to learn from each game. Every game is going to be a battle. It will be nice to have the students back and more people here when we play better teams, so hopefully we can draw energy from the crowd."

Forward Wes Wilkinson
On his shooting:
"I was just happy to go out and play and not deal with the foul trouble. I was just having fun."

On how the team feels after tonight's game
"They're a respectable team even though their record may not show it. We can't have defensive lapses like we did tonight. They did a good job hitting shots and executing plays. We need to play our best regardless of the competition. When we have a 17-point lead, we need to shut the door and not let them come back. We have to play up to our level of expectation and with a lot of intensity. We have a lot of improvement still to make. We'll come to practice tomorrow and keep driving to get better."

Northern Colorado Head Coach Craig Rasmuson quotes
On the game, compared to Northern Colorado's last game against Northwestern
"I thought that the Northwestern game was an aberration.  Our kids showed great class and effort in how they played.  I told our guys at halftime that if we outrebound them and hold them to forty percent shooting that we would be right in it at the end.  If we would have gotten a couple of shots, we would've been right there at the end."

On the impact of this game on the rest of Northern Colorado's season
"I know that we are a better team walking out of here than we were walking in.  Our kids' spirits are good.  Our hustle and our effort are where we want them to be.  We just have to keep in perspective where we are in our schedule, with seven of next 12 games at home."

On Nebraska's Wes Wilkinson
"No doubt, he was the difference in the game.  We couldn't get a guy out on him.  We didn't have the bodies big enough to defend him.  He had a good night, but he had to have a good night.  But that's what your seniors, your leaders, your captains do.

On Northern Colorado's Michael Gordy
"He told me at the first media timeout that he wanted to go in.  His conditioning showed some ill effects (from the layoff).  We need him in our rotation, especially against big teams like Nebraska."  

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