LINCOLN, Nebraska — A week after coming out flat on the road, Michigan got off to fast starts in the first and second halves to beat one of the hottest teams in the Big Ten.
Duncan Robinson scored 21 points and Derrick Walton Jr. had 12 rebounds to go with his 19 points, leading the Wolverines to an 81-68 win over Nebraska on Saturday.
The Wolverines (15-5, 5-2 Big Ten) squandered most of an 18-point lead in the second half in front of a spirited sellout crowd at Pinnacle Bank Arena, but they held on to end the Cornhuskers' four-game win streak. Michigan has won all six meetings with the Huskers (12-9, 4-4) since Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011.
"In a couple of our away games that we've lost, we've gotten off to very bad starts. It wears on you fighting back where you lose your confidence," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "We had early confidence. What I love is we withstood a charge at the end of the first half and a couple charges during the second half."
The Wolverines, who fell behind 11-0 in an 82-71 loss at Iowa last Sunday, used a 16-2 run to go up 18-6 against the Huskers. But Michigan made only one field goal the last 7:46 of the half and led 33-30 at the break.
Michigan made its first nine shots after halftime and led 54-36 with 13 minutes left. But the Wolverines kept turning over the ball and couldn't put the Huskers away. Tai Webster made two straight steals and layups to pull Nebraska within 66-64.
Robinson's backdoor cut for a dunk put the Wolverines up six points, and they made all 10 of their free throws in the last 3 minutes.
Walton scored 13 of his 19 points in the second half. He made 4 of 6 3-pointers, 3 of 4 after half.
"I don't think I did anything different than my usual shooting ritual," Walton said. "Tonight I got a lot of clean looks and my teammates helped me free myself up to hit some shots. I was able to knock some shots down."
Nebraska, coming off Wednesday's 72-71 upset at No. 11 Michigan State, got 15 points apiece from Glynn Watson Jr. and Andrew White III.
The Huskers were able to stay in the game by converting Michigan's seven second-half turnovers into 13 points. Beilein wasn't surprised Nebraska was able to make up most of its 18-point deficit.
"If you've been watching college basketball, with the shorter shot clock and the 3-point shot, leads aren't safe," Beilein said. "Eighteen can get to 12 quickly, and then there's a little spurt where you answer, and then two more 3s and it's six. We had a couple turnovers there that were very costly as well. We fouled guys in transition. So it just happens."
Michigan: Wolverines need one win to match their total from 2014-15 ... Played their sixth straight game without senior guard Chris LaVert, who has a lower left leg injury. Before injury, he was leading scorer at 17.6 points a game ... Robinson entered game leading nation in 3-point shooting at 51.6 percent.
Nebraska: Entered game shooting Big Ten-best 49.3-percent in conference games ... Averaging 75.9 points in Big Ten games. Last season Nebraska averaged 57.1 points in conference play and scored more than 70 in only one game ... Miles, his staff and the first 500 students through the doors wore yellow shirts for the third annual #AveryStrong Day and bone marrow donor drive. The event supports Avery Harriman, 8-year-old son of former assistant coach Chris Harriman, and other pediatric cancer patients. Fans ages 18 to 44 were encouraged to sign up for the bone marrow registry.
The overflow crowd of 15,745 impressed Beilein.
"Great college atmosphere in Nebraska. This is a great place to play. And we're really appreciative of the opportunity," he said.
A visiting reporter asked Nebraska coach Tim Miles what he thought of the crowd.
"A little weak," he deadpanned. Miles added, "They were awesome tonight. I wish we could have given them something to cheer about instead of howl about."
NO DISRESPECT INTENDED
Walton drew a chorus of boos when, with 10 seconds left in the game and Michigan up 10 points, he shot — and made — a 3-pointer.
"Honestly, I didn't want to get a shot clock violation. I wasn't trying to be disrespectful or anything," he said. "(Coaches) told me to go once the clock was kind of winding down."
Michigan hosts Rutgers on Wednesday.
Nebraska visits Purdue on Saturday.