Gabe Kalscheur scored 26 points and Alihan Demir added 19 points and 10 rebounds on Sunday as Minnesota set a season-high in scoring with a 107-75 victory over Nebraska.
Marcus Carr had 18 points and 11 assists, while Daniel Oturu added 10 points and six rebounds for the Gophers (14-16, 8-12 Big Ten), who made a school-record 18 3-pointers.
Haanif Cheatham led the Huskers (7-24, 2-18) with 17 points. Jervay Green added 16, Thorir Thorbjarnarson had 14, and Kevin Cross scored 10.
The Gophers have to win at least three games at the Big Ten Tournament to ensure a .500 record required for NIT eligibility.
That means the game was likely the final one at home for Oturu. The 6-foot-10 sophomore and Twin Cities native is expected to declare himself eligible for the NBA Draft, where some services have him ranked as a top-10 pick. He’s averaging 20.3 points and leads the Big Ten with 11.6 rebounds per game.
Oturu put his skills on display during a 14-2 run late in the first half that helped Minnesota build a 52-37 lead at the break. After hitting a pair of free throws, he threw down a dunk on a breakaway and then hit a long jump shot for six straight points.
The Gophers hit 10 of their last 14 shots of the first half as they pulled away from Nebraska. Demir hit three straight buckets from inside to start the second half.
Kalscheur then caught fire, going 7 for 8 from beyond the arc in the second half to finish with a career-high eight 3-pointers.
Nebraska: The Huskers played without guards Cam Mack and Dachon Burke, who coach Fred Hoiberg suspended indefinitely on Saturday for violating team rules. The two guards combined for 24.2 points and 7.9 rebounds per game this year, while Mack led the team with 6.4 assists per game.
Minnesota: The Gophers had lost three straight home games, giving away big leads down the stretch in each of them. They made sure that didn’t happen again, thanks in large part to their long-distance shooting. Minnesota made a season-high 51.4% of its 3s.
Nebraska: The 14th-seeded Cornhuskers will face No. 11 Indiana in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament on Wednesday night in Indianapolis. Nebraska lost both games to Indiana this season, including a six-point overtime defeat on the road on Dec. 13.
Minnesota: Seeded 12th in the Big Ten tourney, the Gophers will take on 13th-seeded Northwestern in the first game on Wednesday evening. Minnesota swept a pair of games against the Wildcats this season, winning by an average of 17.5 points.
(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)