University of Miami

UM men’s basketball team hopes to get back on track vs. Nebraska in ACC-Big Ten Challenge

Butler forward Kelan Martin, left, pressures Miami guard Davon Reed during the Puerto Rico Tip-Off college basketball tournament in San Juan, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015.
Butler forward Kelan Martin, left, pressures Miami guard Davon Reed during the Puerto Rico Tip-Off college basketball tournament in San Juan, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015. AP

They slipped from No. 15 to No. 21 in the Associated Press Top 25 after a heartbreaking home loss at the buzzer to Northeastern, but the University of Miami men’s basketball team has a chance to get back on track Tuesday night at Nebraska in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

The Hurricanes (5-1) play the Cornhuskers (5-2) in the annual conference duel, and UM players and coaches are hoping for a better outcome than the last time these two teams met in Lincoln. Nebraska won that ACC-Big Ten Challenge 60-49 on Dec. 4, 2013. In that game, the Huskers held the rebuilding Hurricanes to 13 points in the first half.

Rion Brown led UM that night with 25 points — 23 in the second half — but the rest of the team struggled. Davon Reed went 2 for 11 and Tonye Jekiri scored two points. They are the only players remaining on this year’s roster, and both have been playing much better of late.

Reed had a big game against Northeastern, scoring a career-high 19 points, and also had seven rebounds, four assists and steal and a block. Jekiri had 12 rebounds, eight points, and a monster block in the closing minutes.

Miami started the season 5-0 and entered Thanksgiving on a high after beating back-to-back Top 25 opponents at the Puerto Rico Tipoff, and entering the Top 25 at No. 15. But Northeastern’s three-point shooting gave UM trouble. The Canes trailed much of the game, took a seven-point lead late, but were unable to hang on.

Nebraska’s two losses are to ranked teams — 87-63 to No. 8 Villanova and a four-point loss to No. 17 Cincinnati.

UM coach Jim Larrañaga is expecting another tough game, and has challenged his team to do a better job guarding jump shooters.

“This will be our first true road game; we have played at home and at neutral sites,” Larrañaga said. “Now, we have to play at a very hostile environment. It’s a team we played a couple years ago, and we lost, didn’t play well at all there. Hopefully, we can play much better than we did two years ago. They’re a very good team, in the Big Ten. It’s going to be a huge challenge.”

No. 21 UM men at Nebraska

What: ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

When, where: 9 p.m. Tuesday, Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln, Nebraska.

TV, radio: ESPNU; WHIM (1080 AM).

Records: UM 5-1, Nebraska 5-2.

Scouting report: The Hurricanes try to rebound after losing on a buzzer-beater to Northeastern. Miami is 0-4 on the road in ACC-Big Ten Challenges. The UM bench is averaging 28.3 ppg. Nebraska’s leading scorers are Andrew White III (14.9 ppg) and Shavon Shields (13.4 ppg).

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