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Minnesota's Nate Mason is defended by Nebraska's Jordy Tshimanga (left) and Isaac Copeland during Tuesday's game in Lincoln, Neb.

LINCOLN, Neb.—Minnesota's Amir Coffey described his team's play Tuesday by reciting an old basketball line.

"We couldn't throw the ball in the ocean standing on a cruise ship," he said.

The No. 14 Gophers scored a season low in points and shot a season-worst 32 percent in 78-68 loss at Nebraska.

Nebraska's Glynn Watson Jr. had a season-best 29 points, symptomatic of poor defense against on-ball screens.

"Ball-screen (defense) was killing us," Coffey said. "That's something all good teams run. We have to get better at that."

Foul trouble also slowed Minnesota. Jordan Murphy, the Big Ten's leading scorer, spent the final nine minutes of the first half off the court after picking up two fouls.

"We need Jordan on the court, and it showed tonight, but other guys gotta step up," guard Nate Mason said.

Murphy finished with 10 points – his previous low this season was 16 – and 12 rebounds, extending his streak of a double-double in each game this season.

An 8-0 run gave the Cornhuskers (7-3, 1-1) a 22-14 lead with nine minutes left in the first half, and Nebraska maintained the lead the rest of the game.

Minnesota committed 23 fouls, leading to Nebraska's 22-of-28 (79 percent) free-throw shooting. That wasn't purely the result of bad defense, Mason said.

"Oh my God, the refs were terrible. The whole game, we couldn't get a call," he said.

Minnesota missed its first six shots in each half; the second lapse proved fatal as Nebraska opened the second half with a 9-1 run to push the lead to 48-32.

The Gophers didn't make a serious run until the final minutes. An 11-2 surge cut the deficit to 72-64 with 58 seconds left, but Minnesota got closer.

Mason, who became Minnesota's 12th-best all-time scorer, led the Gophers with 20 points but was 5 of 16 from the floor. He was hardly alone as Coffey was 5 of 15 and Murphy 4 of 12.

"They doubled out of the post, and it frustrated us," Mason said. "We've got to learn to play a different way, a different style."

Coach Richard Pitino agreed, noting that the Cornhuskers took away Minnesota's inside game and the Gophers weren't able to counter.

"Obviously, we didn't have it going," Pitino said. "It's not going to be as easy for us to just throw it inside."

Nebraska showed vast improvement from an 86-57 loss Sunday at Michigan State. Nebraska shot 27 percent in that game but 47 percent against Minnesota.

NEBRASKA 78, NO. 14 MINNESOTA 68

MINNESOTA (8-2)

Murphy 4-12 2-2 10, Lynch 3-6 3-4 9, Mason 5-16 7-10 20, McBrayer 3-7 0-0 7, Coffey 5-15 6-8 17, Fitzgerald 0-3 0-0 0, Hurt 0-0 0-0 0, Konate 0-2 0-0 0, Washington 2-7 0-0 5, Harris 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-68 18-24 68.

NEBRASKA (7-3)

Copeland 3-5 4-5 12, Tshimanga 2-5 0-0 4, Taylor 1-4 2-2 4, Watson 9-17 9-10 29, Palmer 3-10 4-6 11, Roby 2-2 0-0 4, Okeke 2-3 0-2 4, Gill 1-5 3-3 5, Allen 2-2 0-0 5. Totals 25-53 22-28 78.

Halftime — Nebraska 39-31. 3-Point Goals — Minnesota 6-16 (Mason 3-6, McBrayer 1-1, Washington 1-3, Coffey 1-4, Fitzgerald 0-1, Murphy 0-1), Nebraska 6-21 (Copeland 2-4, Watson 2-6, Allen 1-1, Palmer 1-5, Taylor 0-1, Gill 0-4). Fouled Out — None. Rebounds — Minnesota 35 (Murphy 12), Nebraska 39 (Watson 9). Assists — Minnesota 9 (Mason 3), Nebraska 11 (Palmer 4). Total Fouls — Minnesota 23, Nebraska 19. Technicals — Coffey, Palmer, Tshimanga. A — 15,598 (15,147).

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