Behind a career-high 16 points from Caleb Walker, the Nebraska basketball team opened the 2011-12 season with a 65-48 victory over South Dakota Friday night at the Devaney Center.
Walker was a perfect 5-of-5 from the floor, including a trio of 3-pointers, to pace four Huskers in double figures. Walker topped his previous high of 13 set three times last season and also had seven rebounds in 24 minutes of action.
Walker got the Huskers off to a quick start, scoring the first seven points for Nebraska, which led wire to wire in posting its 11th consecutive season opening win.
Three other Huskers joined Walker in double figures, including Jorge Brian Diaz, who had 11 points and a career-high five blocked shots while Brandon Richardson and Dylan Talley had 10 points apiece.
Talley nearly recorded a double-double in his debut, as he snared nine rebounds and had five assists in 20 minutes off the bench.
Diaz and Toney McCray keyed a decisive run for the Huskers, as Nebraska used an 11-2 spurt to turn a four-point lead into a 13-point bulge. Diaz, the 6-foot-11 center, got the run started with a dunk before hitting a short jumper on NU’s next position.
McCray, who came off the bench to score eight points and grab six rebounds, than added a pair of baskets to key the run of eight unanswered Husker points. Moments later, Talley stretched the lead to 31-18 with a three-pointer, as the Huskers eventually took a 12-pint lead into the half.
South Dakota, which returned four starters from a team that won 18 games last year, made a run in the opening minutes of the second half to pull within 31-22, but Nebraska responded with six straight points, capped by Brandon Richardson’s 4-point play to make it 37-22 with 16:13 left.
From there, Nebraska used its long range shooting to keep the Coyotes at bay, hitting 5-of-9 from 3-point range in the final 20 minutes, and never trailed by less than 10 points.
The Huskers held a South Dakota team that averaged 79 points per game last year to 48 points on 31 percent shooting. Louie Krogman led USD with 16 points.
Nebraska returns to action Monday night, as the Huskers travel to USC. Tipoff is set for 9:30 pm.
Infor courtesy of huskers.com