GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands – Haanif Cheatham scored 19 points and Jervay Green scored 14 and Nebraska pulled away for an 82-71 win over Washington State in the Cayman Islands Classic on Monday night.
Cheatham and Green combined for 26 points in the second half.
Dachon Burke and Kevin Cross added 14 points apiece and Cam Mack had 10 with eight rebounds, six assists and three steals for the Cornhuskers (3-2).
CJ Elleby matched his career high with 27 points for Washington State (2-3) and Isaac Bonton added 17 points.
Nebraska had a pair of 13-2 runs in the second half. The first started barely two minutes in and erased a four-point deficit. Green, who had eight points during the streak, started it with two free throws and followed with a 3-pointer to put the Cornhuskers on top 41-40. He had another 3 during the run, which ended with 13:47 to go and Nebraska up 49-42. The Cougars went 1 for 8 with three turnovers.
Washington State was only down five points when the next run began at the midway point. Cheatham led the charge with six points as the Cornhuskers hit 4 of 5, including a pair of 3s. Cheatham had a 3 to start it and Cross made it 69-53 with a 3 at the 7:22 mark. In that 3 1/2-minute stretch WSU went 1 for 8 with two turnovers.
The Cougars shot 32% in the second half while the Cornhuskers shot 64%, including 5-of-7 3-pointers.
Neither team led by more than six points in the first half, with the Cougars up 37-34 at the break. The difference was at the foul line where WSU was just 5 of 9 while the Cornhuskers went 2 of 7. Elleby led Washington State with 13 points and Cross had nine for Nebraska.
Washington State: Nebraska is the first Power 5 team the Cougars have played. … First-year coach Kyle Smith is rebuilding a program that has lost to Santa Clara and Omaha.
Nebraska: WSU is the first Power 5 team the Cornhuskers have played, which makes their three-game winning streak a little less impressive. A win over Southern in overtime and losses to UC Riverside and Southern Utah at home prove what a difficult rebuilding project first-year coach Fred Hoiberg has. … Husker Matej Kavas, a graduate transfer from Seattle, averaged 10 points and 9.7 points in two previous games against the Cougars, but had just two in the win. … Nebraska was coming off back-to-back 90-plus games, the first time that has happened since 1999-2000.
Inside the numbers
The Cougars led the nation in fewest turnovers per game at 7.3 but had 13 against the Huskers. They also forced 15.8 turnovers, eight of them steals, and Nebraska turned it over 15 times, seven of them steals. … Also of note, WSU was 6 of 27 (22%) from 3-point range, Nebraska 9 of 18, which made up for a 13 of 25 performance at the foul line.
Nebraska now leads the series 7-2, with the last game 21 years ago in Fairbanks, Alaska. It was nine degrees for that Alaska tipoff. Monday it was 70 degrees warmer.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.