Story by NU Athletic Communications
Keisei Tominaga scored a career-high 31 points while Nebraska outscored No. 14 Illinois 11-1 in the final 3:28 of regulation to get to overtime before the Illini prevailed 87-84 Sunday evening.
Tominaga finished with a game-high 31 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range while Rienk Mast and Juwan Gary finished with 22 and 12 points, respectively for Nebraska (16-7, 6-6 Big Ten)
Coleman Hawkins led four Illinois (17-5, 8-3) players in double figures with 20 points and seven rebounds. Marcus Domask added 19 points, including a game-tying free throw with 3.1 seconds left in regulation.
The Huskers trailed 72-62 after a 3 pointer from Terrence Shannon Jr. with 3:29 left before mounting a furious comeback.
A 3-pointer from Brice Williams and a layup from Keisei Tominaga with 2:24 pulled Nebraska within 72-67. The Huskers got a stop on the defensive end before Mast was fouled and hit both free throws to make it all three-point game.
On Illinois’ next possession, Gary had a steal and was fouled as he converted both free throws to cut the deficit to one. After a couple of fouls, the Huskers got another steal as Josiah Allick came up with the ball and NU called timeout with 27.4 seconds left.
Gary, who posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 boards got Williams miss and Mast’s basket with 9.1 seconds remaining gave Nebraska a 73-72 advantage.
Illinois got the ball to Domask on the baseline, and he was fouled with 3.1 seconds left. He made the first to tie it up before missing the second to send the game to overtime.
Nebraska led briefly in the overtime period, as a Gary basket gave NU a 75-74 lead. Illinois responded with five straight points to build a 79-75 lead after Quincey Guerrier’s 3-pointer.
Nebraska would continue to fight as a Tominaga 3-pointer and a Mast bucket cut the Illini advantage to 81-80 with 2:40 left on OT.
Nebraska was within 87-84 with under 20 seconds left before Shannon’s steal gave the Illini an opportunity to salt the game away with 1.7 seconds left. Shannon missed both free throws and Tominaga’s heave from 85 feet nearly sent the game to a second overtime.
Illinois came out red hot to open the second half, hitting its first six shots to take a 47-40 lead after a Hawkins 3-pointer just 3:28 into the second half.
Nebraska would regroup, using an 11-5 run to pull within 52-51 after a 3 pointer from Sam Hoiberg.
The Huskers were in striking distance and was within 66-60 before 3 pointers from Hawkins and Shannon stretched the lead to 10 with 3:29 left. Thats when the Huskers mounted the comeback to get the game to OT
In the first half, Nebraska held the Illini to 39.3 percent shooting, as the Huskers led for most of the half and took a 36-34 lead into the locker room.
Nebraska rode the hot hand of Tominaga in the first half, as he had 12 of the Huskers’ first 16 points as NU built a 12-6 lead after his second 3-pointer of the night with 13:39 left in the half.
Illinois ran off five straight points to regain the lead, but the Huskers could come back with a 7-0 run of their own and eventually built the margin to 26-19 after another Tominaga 3-pointer.
NU, which held Illinois to just one field goal over a seven-minute span, could not extend the lead, as the hosts got to the foul line 12 times in the first half to get within 28-27 after a Terrence Shannon Jr. dunk to force a Husker timeout.
The Huskers would have an answer as 3-pointers from Mast and Allick helped NU build a 36-29 lead with 2:24 left in the half, and the visitors took a two-point lead, at 36-34, into the half.
The Huskers will continue the two-game roadtrip on Wednesday, Feb. 7, as the Huskers travel to Northwestern. Tipoff from Welsh-Ryan Arena is set for 8 p.m. (central) and will be carried on BTN and the Huskers Radio Network.
Postgame Notes *-Nebraska improves falls to 1-2 in overtime games. Tonight was the Huskers’ second straight OT contest.
*-Juwan Gary posted his fourth double-double of the season and 7th of his career with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
*-Nebraska went a season-best 14-of-14 from the foul line.
*-Keisei Tominaga had a career-high 31 points, topping his previous career high of 30 against Penn State on Feb. 5, 2023. It was his fifth game of 20+ points this season.
*-With his five 3-pointers, he moved into the top-10 list of NU’s career chart with 149, passing both Tyronn Lue (145, 1996-98) and Cookie Belcher (146, 1997-2001). Tominaga’s five 3-pointers tied a career high set five previous times, most recently against Purdue on Jan. 9.
*-Nebraska had an 11-0 run to overcome a 10-point deficit and take the lead in the final seconds of regulation. It was NU’s 17th double-figure run this season.
*- Tominaga’s 31 points is the most by an Illini opponent this season (30, Isaiah Stafford of Valparaiso). He also set Illini opponent highs in 3 pointers (five) and free throws (eight)
*- Nebraska hit 12 3-pointers in tonight’s loss, marking the 13th time this year that NU has reached double figures in 3-pointers.
*- Nebraska now has 222 3-pointers this season, a total which is eighth on Husker single-season charts.
*- Nebraska went over 80 points for the 14th time this season. The Huskers fall to 12-2 with both losses coming in overtime (at Rutgers, at Illinois)
*- Nebraska finished with nine turnovers, marking the 11th time this season with 10 or fewer turnovers in a game.
*- Juwan Gary’s 12 points gave NU at least one bench player in double figures for the 20th time in 22 contests.