With last-place Nebraska visiting Williams Arena, the Gophers men’s basketball team received some needed tonic during a three-game losing streak.
But Minnesota lacked the straws that stirs their drink; their best players, Marcus Carr and Liam Robbins, were mired in foul trouble nearly the entire game and played limited minutes.
The U was still able to keep also-shorthanded Nebraska at bay to earn an elusive win, 79-61, at The Barn.
Minnesota (12-7, 5-7) led by 19 early in the second half, but it was down to single digits when head coach Richard Pitino had to call on Carr and Robbins again.
The Gophers, a 11-point favorite, missed 17 straight missed shots in one ugly stretch without their stars.
Carr played a career low 19 minutes, but still led Minnesota with 21 points and eight assists. Robbins had seven points and eight rebounds in 14 minutes, fouling out with two minutes left.
The U had 20 points off the bench, with 11 from Jamal Mashburn Jr.
Last-place Nebraska (4-10, 0-7) has lost 24 consecutive Big Ten games and were playing only their second game in nearly a month due to a COVID-19 shutdown.
The Cornhuskers played without leading scorer Teddy Allen (17.2 points per game) due to disciplinary reasons, according to Big Ten Network.
The Gophers hamstrung themselves with Robbins and Carr falling into foul trouble early in the first half. When each of them picked up their second fouls, Pitino immediately sat them for extended stretches.
When Pitino pulled Carr after his second foul, the point guard was visibly upset at the coach’s decision. Carr soon went back in the game, and within a minute of action, he picked up his third foul.
Robbins, who also returned to the game before getting his third foul, played only seven minutes, while Carr was in game for nine. Carr was still able to put up eight points and five assists in the limited time.
Despite the absences of their top two players for most of the half, Minnesota led 45-30 at the half. Brandon Johnson led the team with 10 points and finished with 13.
The Gophers’ game time against Purdue on Thursday has been moved to 4 p.m. It will air on ESPN2 and KTLK-AM.