By Connor Clark
KFOR Sports

LINCOLN–(KFOR Nov. 13)–The Nebraska men’s basketball team (3-0) overcame a sloppy offensive performance to beat a scrappy Rider (1-2) team 64-50 on Monday night.

It was the return of Keisei Tominaga following an ankle sprain he suffered in an exhibition game vs. Doane, but the season debut wasn’t as glamorous as expected. Tominaga made his second shot of the night, which was a three, but ended up with nine points on 3-13 shooting.

Despite the nonchalant numbers, Tominaga hit two straight threes that ignited a spark for PBA.

“His impact on the floor is ridiculous,” C.J. Wilcher said. “Whether he’s making shots or not, the gravity and the attention he gets from the defense makes it a lot easier for us.”

Instead it was Wilcher leading the way on offense leading the team with 13 points and five rebounds as the first man off of the bench.

Reink Mast recorded his second straight double-double adding 12 points and 13 rebounds, and Josiah Allick added 10 points of his own. However, it was an ugly night for an offensive fan as Nebraska only made nine of 32 three point attempts and shot 33 percent for the game.

“We were not very good offensively,” head coach Fred Hoiberg said. “Too stagnant early, we were playing too much one-on-one basketball.”

Despite the struggles shooting the basketball, it was the defense that stayed true for Nebraska down the stretch. The Huskers were able to use a 17-0 run in just over nine minutes to close it out in the second half without worry.

“Every night defense has to be out constantly” Hoiberg said. “There’s going to be nights where the ball doesn’t go through the hoop like tonight, and you have to be able to continue to guard on that other end. You have to be able to still defend at a high level and that’s exactly what our guys did.”

Hoiberg’s team knows they have to stay locked in with so many games in such little time, but such a schedule can be a benefit for a team trying to build chemistry as the season intensifies.

“Just staying locked in to whoever we play,” Lawrence said. “I think we get better consistently at our principles, thinking about what we can do better, and just thinking about ourselves.”

Nebraska is back in action on Wednesday night against Stony Brook at Pinnacle Bank Arena at 7 p.m. It’s the second of three games for the Huskers this week.