After a listless loss to Kent State on Saturday, Nebraska showed it was up to the task in its first road game of the season, earning a hard-fought 79-63 win over Wake Forest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Andre Almeida posted his first career double-double at Nebraska to lift Nebraska past Wake Forest.
The Huskers got a career night from senior center Andre Almeida, who scored 20 points and grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds for his first career double-double. Guard Ray Gallegos got hot after halftime, finishing with 20 points as Nebraska (5-1) lead by as many as 24 points and picked up its largest road victory since a win over Minnesota in 2003.
“We showed the tape with the kids and felt bad about the way they played against Kent State and wanted to redeem themselves,” Miles said on his post-game radio show. “They really did. They truly did. They played a complete game. I thought we played good on offense, defended their actions, did a lot of things right.”
Nebraska jumped all over the Demon Deacons, who started three freshmen in the contest. The Huskers quickly ran to an eight-point lead behind Almeida, who had eight points and seven rebounds before halftime. The Huskers also played strong defense, forcing the Demon Deacons to miss eight of their first 10 shots. Wake Forest (3-3) would shoot just 42 percent from the field on the night.
“I thought (Almeida) was aggressive as I've seen him,” Miles said. “He did a really nice job of getting to the rim, and that's hard. Andre had a great night and played as well as I've seen him play.”
Nebraska grew its four-point halftime lead in the second half as Gallegos got hot from the field. The junior guard had been just 1 for 5 from the field in the first half, and quickly got into a rhythm, sparking a 14-3 Nebraska run midway through the second half that saw Nebraska grow its lead to 24 points.
Gallegos finished with 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting in the second half, and credited his teammates with being supportive after his slow start.
“Wake Forest is a good team and coming off a loss, it's tougher on the road,” Gallegos said. “A road win against Wake Forest, I think it's a good win for us.”
The Demon Deacons fought back, cutting the deficit to 13 late in the game, but Nebraska shot 62.1 percent in the second half and went 17-of-24 from the foul line to close out the game and earn Miles his first victory as Nebraska's head coach.
The Huskers don't play again until they host Southern Cal on Monday. Miles said his team should get plenty of confidence from Tuesday's win, which avenged a last-second loss to the Demon Deacons in Lincoln last year. Nebraska, for the record, played just six scholarship players in the win.
“The smallest things – getting back, guarding the ball, taking away their actions – it seems like it's that simple, but when you do those fundamental things, you can be OK,” Miles said.