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Nebraska men's hoops vs. Mississippi Valley State, 11/6

Nebraska's Thorir Thorbjarnarson (34) drives to the hoop against Mississippi Valley State at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Tuesday. Everybody got into the act in NU's 69-point victory. Thorbjarnarson set a career high with nine points.

The Nebraska men's basketball team set the school record for margin of victory in either 1906 or 1907 with an 82-8 win over Crete.

It is not known whether the Huskers played the entire town in that game.

What is known is that the 2018-19 NU team, one of the school's most talented in years, almost broke that 112-year-old mark Tuesday night, routing an overmatched Mississippi Valley State outfit 106-37 to open the season in front of 9,322 at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

That 69-point margin of victory is the second-largest in program history.

It's not a game film which Husker head coach Tim Miles will over-analyze. But he was pleased with the way his team stayed within its plan even when things got out of control.

"I think the things I'll look for are, like, discipline — how did you play when you were tired; how did you play through that moment," Miles said. "It's going to be things like that."

It was the kind of night that allowed Miles to put his suit jacket back on before halftime.

Normally the Nebraska head coach’s evening attire doesn’t make it much past the first few minutes of game action. That was true again Tuesday.

But as the Huskers pulled away, the jacket slipped back onto Miles's shoulders and he was able to get extended runs for players who haven't seen much of the court at the college level.

Nana Akenten, for instance, scored 18 points and knocked down five threes. Brady Heiman was one point short of a double-double with nine points and 13 rebounds. Thorir Thorbjarnarson had nine points and four boards.

"First off, glory goes to God. But my teammates just kept encouraging me; my coaches as well," Akenten said. "I was just out there having fun."

It didn't take long for the game to become a race to see what records the Huskers could break.

In a 55-13 opening 20 minutes, Nebraska (1-0) tied the PBA record for points in a half while Mississippi Valley State tied the arena record for fewest points scored in a half.

The Delta Devils shot 9 percent (3-for-32) in the opening 20 minutes, and Nebraska had played everyone but walk-ons Johnny Trueblood and Justin Costello by the midway point of the first half.

It took until the final four minutes of the game for MVSU to surpass the record for fewest points by an opponent (26 by Bethune-Cookman in 2003). Nebraska's 106 points were the most in a game since 2006, and MVSU's 37 points were the fewest for an NU opponent since 2007.

"At halftime we just preached to finish the game strong and not worry about the score," Nebraska's James Palmer said. "We've just got to work on everything. It was a good win for us to get our feet wet, but we've still got to work on our overall game, offense and defense."

If there was some tangible basketball-related news to be taken from the game, it was that the Huskers easily took care of an overmatched opponent, and showed an improved shooting stroke from their exhibition win over Wayne State.

The Huskers shot 55 percent from the floor, and matched their four made three-pointers against the Wildcats about halfway through the first half. They finished 15-of-37 from beyond the arc.

Glynn Watson, whose three-point percentage dipped below 30 last season, hit 5-of-7 from three. Akenten's 18 points came in just 16 minutes.

Watson led NU with 19 points, three rebounds and three assists. Palmer had 17 points, three rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots. Isaac Copeland had 10 points for Nebraska. Freshman Brady Heiman finished one rebound short of a double-double with nine points and 13 rebounds as all but one player scored.

Nebraska hit the 90-point mark with 6:47 left on a Tanner Borchardt putback, at that point leading by 67 points. The margin ballooned to as much as 72 as the second half wore on.

The Delta Devils, ranked 348 of 351 teams by KenPom, broke their own record for lowest opponent field goal percentage at PBA, shooting 19 percent (13-of-68) to lower their .259 mark in a Husker win in 2015.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or cbasnett@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.

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Husker basketball reporter

A Ravenna native, Chris covers the University of Nebraska men's basketball team and assists with football coverage. He spent nearly 10 years covering sports at the Kearney Hub and nearly four years at the Springfield News-Leader in Springfield, Mo.

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