The Huskers handed Division II opponent Southwest Minnesota State a lopsided defeat, 79-38. Nebraska was able to empty the bench on the Mustangs, as every available player entered the game and scored. In his first career start, Nebraska native Tanner Borchardt pulled down nine rebounds and scored four points, filling in for Isaiah Roby, who is nursing a groin injury.
“I’ve been prepared for this moment all season,” Borchardt said. “I was ready to go.” Nebraska certainly was ready, jumping out of the gates to a 12-0 start in the first half. However, SMSU responded by scoring six unanswered points. What followed shortly thereafter was an ugly stretch of basketball.
Neither squad could find a basket for over four minutes. Leading by 10 points with about six and a half minutes to go until the half, Nebraska was able to slowly extend the lead to nearly 20 points before the buzzer sounded.
The Mustangs opened up the scoring in the second with a put back jam, but then the Huskers put their foot on the gas, scoring the next five baskets in the game. The Huskers ultimately wound up with a margin of victory over 40 points, as SMSU had no answer for Nebraska’s length and athleticism.
The Mustang’s head coach, Brad Bigler, was a former point guard under Miles, back when he coached at SMSU. “(Miles would) be like a mentor. He’s a guy that when I came into college, I was fortunate to play for him for four years,” Bigler said. “He was a young coach at the time. I just appreciated his energy at that point in his life. He made me a better player and a better person.”
Miles was just as complementary in his comments. “He means a lot to me,” Miles said. “For him to come up a day before a league game and play us on the road… I just appreciate those guys.”
Sitting at 11-2, the Huskers will be starting conference play on January 2nd in College Park, Maryland. The Big 10 schedule will be unrelenting, but the Huskers are a confident bunch, and will relish the opportunity to take on a challenging opponent week in and week out. “I think we can play with anybody,” senior guard Glynn Watson said. “I think that’s what we found out with ourselves. When we (shoot) the ball, there’s not too many teams in the country that can play with us. We just need to keep playing together.”
Watson finished with 16 points. James Palmer Jr. also had 16. Thomas Allen and Isaac Copeland also found themselves in double digits, with 10 and 12 points respectively.