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Huskers fall short to Minnesota

Logic would dictate that if a team shoots 55 percent from the floor on the road and has its leading scorer go for 30 points, that a team would likely have earned a win.

Ray Gallegos scored a career-high 30 points for Nebraska on Tuesday.

The problem for Nebraska on Tuesday night against Minnesota was those numbers didn't account for the Golden Gophers' dominance in the paint.

Nebraska (11-11, 2-7 Big Ten) got a career-high 30 points from Ray Gallegos, but couldn't overcome a 44-16 deficit in points in the paint and a 36-19 rebounding disadvantage in an 84-65 loss to No. 23 Minnesota (16-5, 4-4) on Tuesday.

The Golden Gophers set the tone early in Tuesday's game, playing tough inside and hitting the offensive glass hard. Minnesota came in as one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country, and showed it, corralling 16 offensive rebounds against the Huskers.

Nebraska coach Tim Miles said his team didn't come out and play with intensity from the opening tip.

“They did what they had to do,” Miles said on his postgame radio show. “They got off to a quick start, they got Rodney Williams off quick and then we didn't rebound. Some of it is they have some length and athleticism we don't have, we need more of that and it will only be solved through the recruiting process. At the same time, you have to do your job. We just had some letdowns that way. That was frustrating because there were times I thought we were playing really well on one end of the floor, on offense, but we couldn't cut into the lead.”

Minnesota jumped out to a 7-0 lead and never trailed the entire game. Williams scored eight of Minnesota's first nine points en route to leading the Golden Gophers with 23 points. Nebraska quickly found itself down double-digits, but the Huskers hung close behind hot shooting from Gallegos, who scored 20 points in the first half.

Nebraska shot 64 percent from the field before halftime and went into the locker room only down 44-35. Miles said Minnesota was obviously clicking on offense on Tuesday.

“I thought the timing of their offense and the pace they ran it, was better than I had seen them run it in the previous four or five games,” Miles said.

Nebraska, which has taken good care of the ball for most of the season, gave Minnesota 19 points off turnovers, and 20 second-chance points Tuesday. Despite all that, Nebraska had the deficit down to 48-40 with less than 17 minutes remaining in the game before fouls, turnovers and missed rebounds did Nebraska in.

The Huskers return to the court Saturday night at home against Ohio State.

“They were crisper than we were,” Miles said of Minnesota. “They were playing with more urgency than we were. They looked like a team that had just lost four in a row and were dying to get a win. Their offensive pace was tremendous and we didn't match that very well.”

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