Juwan Gary scored a season-high 17 points, as Nebraska used a key second-half run and a strong defensive effort in the final 20 minutes to defeat Arkansas Pine-Bluff, 82-58, on Sunday afternoon at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Gary hit 5-of-9 shots from the field and added seven rebounds and three steals to pace four Huskers in double figures. He led the way for a Nebraska team that shot 53.7 percent from the field, including 7-for-19 from three-point range and forced 18 turnovers.
Blaise Keita notched his first career double-double for the Big Red with 14 points and 10 rebounds. He came alive in the second half, scoring 11 points and recording seven rebounds as Nebraska used a 31-6 run to take control after falling behind by as many as eight points. C.J. Wilcher also chipped in 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting, which included a 3-for-3 mark from 3-point range, while Wilhelm Breidenbach had 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting.
The Huskers jumped out to a quick lead, with an 11-3 advantage in the first 4:22 of the contest. Gary led the way, hitting two quick triples, and scored the first eight points for Nebraska. Wilcher contributed five points of his own and Nebraska pushed the lead to 20-8 with 11:32 remaining in the first half.
However, Arkansas Pine-Bluff answered with a 13-3 run to tie the game at 33 with 4:00 left in the first half. Pine-Bluff was led by freshman Zach Reinhart, who finished with a career-best 17 points on 5-for-7 shooting, including four 3-pointers. Reinhart scored all 17 of his points in the first half, going 5-of-5 from the field, including 4-of-4 from distance to stake the visitors a 39-36 lead at the break.
UAPB (1-6) shot 48 percent from the floor, including 8-of-12 from 3-point range, in the opening 20 minutes, but shot just 32 percent in the second half was out-rebounded 23-7 after halftime.
After Arkansas Pine-Bluff jumped out to a 44-36 lead early in the second half, Nebraska used an 8-0 run to pull even at 44 with 15:49 left. UAPB regained the lead at 47-44 after a 3-pointer from Shaun Doss Jr. moments later before the Huskers started the run with six straight points as part of a 31-6 spurt over build a 24-point cushion.
The Huskers return to action Thursday, Nov. 24, as they travel to Orlando for the ESPN Events Invitational against former Big 12 rival Oklahoma. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. (CT), and the game will be carried on the Huskers Radio Network and televised by ESPN.