WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Nebraska won a men’s basketball game on the road Tuesday night, and made it look easy.
It has been a long time since those words have been strung together.
The Huskers stretched a four-point halftime lead to 24 points in hammering Wake Forest 79-63 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
The true road win for NU (5-1) was just the sixth in the past four seasons. The 16-point victory was the largest on the road since a 17-point win at Minnesota (77-60) nine seasons ago.
Nebraska coach Tim Miles said his players felt they had unfinished business entering the game.
“They felt bad about the way they played against Kent State and wanted to come out and redeem themselves,” he said. “They really did. They played a very good game — a complete game.
“I thought we were pretty good on offense, pretty good in ball-handling, good on the glass and we defended their actions. We did a lot of things right.”
The two starters who struggled in Nebraska’s 74-60 home loss to Kent State on Saturday bounced back with huge games.
Senior center Andre Almeida recorded his first career double-double, matching his career scoring high with 20 points on 9-of-10 shooting and setting a career high with 11 rebounds. He also blocked three shots. All of that came in 27 minutes.
“He was as aggressive as I’ve seen him,” Miles said. “He did a really nice job getting to the rim. He played as well as I’ve seen him play.”
Junior guard Ray Gallegos added his career high of 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting. He had 17 points the second half.
“Ray Gallegos had a great rhythm and did a good job,” Miles said. “He was really hot. I didn’t say a word.”
Against Kent State, Almeida and Gallegos combined for six points and missed 9 of 11 shots.
Other than a short stretch in the first half, Nebraska controlled the game in front of 6,508 fans at Joel Coliseum.
In the first half, Wake Forest scored the opening basket but the Huskers went on a 14-4 run after that. Brandon Ubel’s three-point play put NU up 14-6 with 13:09 to go.
Freshman guard Chase Fischer came off the bench for Wake Forest to score eight points in two minutes to help the Demon Deacons take a 19-16 lead with 9:04 to go.
Nebraska reclaimed control of the tempo the rest of the half. The Huskers then outscored Wake Forest 12-5 — getting four points each from Almeida and David Rivers — to take a 28-24 halftime lead.
In the second half, Nebraska scored on 17 of its first 21 possessions to go up by 24 points at 66-42 with 6:24 to play.
Wake Forest (3-3) never got its offense untracked. Leading scorers Travis McKie and C.J. Harris, both averaging 15 points a game, were held to eight and two points, respectively, on a combined 3-of-17 shooting.
“I’m really proud of the kids,” Miles said. “They bounced back from a tough loss at home and played well in a national TV game and a big event in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. They represented right.”