Sam Griesel’s 22 points led three Huskers in double figures, as Nebraska used a decisive second-half run to put away Maine, 79-66, in the season opener at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Griesel scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half in his Husker debut, finishing with 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting and nine rebounds.
Juwan Gary pitched in a double-double with 14 points and a career-high 11 rebounds, including eight offensive boards, while Keisei Tominaga had 19 points off the bench, including 10 during a two-minute first half surge.
Nebraska, which built a 40-28 lead at the break, saw Maine pull to within 54-53 after a 3-pointer from Gedi Jouzapaitis with 13:00 left. That would be as close as it got, as Emmanuel Bandoumel’s basket started a 14-1 Husker run, while Griesel and Tominaga combined for nine of the Huskers’ points in the run building a 68-54 lead with 8:35 left.
The Huskers clamped down on the defensive end as Maine missed eight straight shots and was 2-of-16 in a nearly 10-minute stretch after opening the half by hitting 10 of its first 12 shots after halftime.
Juozapaitis led the Black Bears with 20 points, including 6-of-7 from 3-point range, while Kristians Feierbergs added 16 points and six rebounds in the loss.
Nebraska jumped out to a blistering start, scoring the first nine points of the contest. Gary,
scored six points in the first 3:04 of the contest, including a trio off offensive boards. The Huskers eventually built a 13-2 lead in the first 6:23 of the before Maine settled in.
The Black Beats pulled to within 28-21 on a Juozapaitis 3-pointer before Tominaga and Griesel combined for seven straight points to push the lead back to 14. Tominaga scored NU’s final 10 points of the half, including a 3-pointer that made it 40-25 with 2:24 left in the half.
The Huskers return to action on Thursday, Nov. 10, as Nebraska hosts Omaha at 7 p.m.