ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Nebraska dropped back down to last in the Big Ten with an 82-58 loss at No. 25 Michigan on Thursday night.
Without Cam Mack, who was suspended for the game, the Huskers trailed by just four at halftime.
But an 18-4 onslaught to begin the second half solidified Nebraska’s 15th straight loss.
In the absence of Mack, Dachon Burke tried to carry the offensive load. He was 6 of 17 from the floor with 16 points. Haanif Cheatham scored a team-high 19 with five rebounds.
Nebraska shot 4 of 13 from 3 and 36.2% from the field with a season-high 22 turnovers.
“You don’t have to look much further than the turnovers tonight,” coach Fred Hoiberg said on his postgame radio show. “We gave ourselves a chance, and then the second half we came out and, you know, kind of the same old story. We just came out, turned the ball over and allowed them to go on a run.”
The 24-point loss ties for the largest defeat of the season. Nebraska’s regular-season finale is Sunday at Minnesota.
Isaiah Livers — who didn’t play for Michigan in the first matchup — scored 18 with three 3-pointers and 10 rebounds. On Senior Night, Jon Teske scored 12 with five rebounds, and Zavier Simpson had 11 points and 10 assists.
Nebraska (7-23, 2-17) turned it over 12 times in the first half and trailed by as many as nine, but crawled back with a 2-3 zone that slowed the Michigan attack. The Wolverines made just five of their final 24 attempts in the first half. The Huskers rattled off a 10-2 run in the meantime, sparked by back-to-back 3-pointers by Thorir Thorbjarnarson and Burke.
A score from Akol Arop and two Burke free throws made it 32-28 at the break. After an abysmal 8-for-30 performance from the foul line against Northwestern, Nebraska shot a season high 80% Thursday, making 12 of 15 free throws.
“In the first half, we withstood that run and did a really good job hanging in there,” Hoiberg said. “Twice they built up leads on us and we kept coming back. Second half we just didn’t do that.”
Nebraska collapsed in the opening minutes of the second, giving up an 18-4 run. The Huskers turned it over on their first two possessions, bumping that total up to 16 turnovers before the first media timeout.
A scoop down the lane by Simpson and Livers’ third 3-pointer gave Michigan its largest lead at that point of the game at 50-32 before Hoiberg called a timeout. The Wolverines made seven of their first nine shots to start the half.
“We were just trying to go into seams and go one-on-one,” Hoiberg said. “When we had movement we had some pretty good possessions, but just not enough of them, and we just kind of lost our minds there for a stretch and tried to get it all back at once.”
Hoiberg said not having Mack played a big part in the 22 turnovers and 24-point loss.
When someone who handles the ball that much is out, everyone’s forced into a new role, he said. Thorbjarnarson finished with nine points, seven rebounds and seven turnovers. Jervay Green played point guard often as well, finishing with two points and four turnovers in 19 minutes.
Hoiberg said he expects Mack back for Sunday.
“It’s gonna be a tough one, but just gotta go out and compete,” Hoiberg said. “(We’ll) hopefully come out and finish this the right way.”