C.J. Wilcher scored 13 points and Rienk Mast added 12 points and 13 rebounds as Nebraska fended off Rider 64-50 on Monday night in Lincoln, Neb.
The Cornhuskers (3-0), who entered as a 14.5-point favorite, saw their nine-point lead at the half dwindle to one midway through the second half, but Keisei Tominaga, who missed the first two games with an ankle injury, hit back-to-back 3-pointers to trigger a 17-0 run.
A preseason All-Big 10 selection, Tominaga finished with nine points on 3-of-13 shooting, with all but two of his shots coming from long range.
Mast, who entered as Nebraska’s leading scorer and rebounder, scored six points during the key burst.
Josiah Allick tacked on 10 points for the Cornhuskers.
Corey McKeithan led Rider (1-2) with 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting, and Mervin James added 10. James’ night ended prematurely, however. Sitting on three fouls, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference preseason player of the year returned picked up his fourth with 13:21 to go, and he was whistled for a technical right away after disputing the call.
Nebraska hit the three resulting free throws to lead by nine, but DJ Dudley scored four points in an 8-0 burst as Rider climbed within 47-46. The Broncs couldn’t get over the hump, however, as Tominaga’s consecutive treys pushed the lead back to seven with 9:32 left.
Rider fell apart, going nearly nine minutes without scoring before McKeithan’s jumper made it 64-48 with 1:30 to play. The Broncs shot only 30.4 percent from the floor.
Nebraska was little better at 33.3 percent but dominated in rebounding (47-34) and on the offensive boards (14-7).
Rider scored seven straight points midway through the first half to tie the game 17-17. James scored the last five points of the run, on a 3-pointer and then a nifty baseline reverse layup.
The Cornhuskers rebuilt the lead, outscoring the Broncs 13-2 over about four minutes and led 30-19 after two free throws from Mast. Wilcher had five points during the run and Brice Williams added four.
–Field Level Media
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