Zavier Simpson and Jon Teske got a nice surprise for their final home game at Michigan.

Former coach John Beilein was in the crowd.

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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – MARCH 17: Head coach John Beilein of the Michigan Wolverines looks on in the second half against the Michigan State Spartans during the championship game of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at the United Center on March 17, 2019, in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

“I did not know Coach Beilein was going to be here. I wanted to bring him down after the game because I knew me and Jon were going to give a small speech, but I was told that he left,” Simpson said. “Definitely appreciate the support from him.”

Simpson had 11 points, and 10 assists, and Teske scored 12 points as No. 25 Michigan beat Nebraska 82-58 on Thursday night. Beilein watched from a box about halfway up the seating bowl as his old team closed out its home schedule with a relatively easy win.

Michigan (19-11, 10-9 Big Ten) led 32-28 at halftime before starting the second with an 18-4 run.

Nebraska (7-23, 2-17) was without guard Cam Mack, suspended for a violation of team rules.

BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – DECEMBER 13: Fred Hoiberg, the head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers gives instructions to his team against the Indiana Hoosiers at Assembly Hall on December 13, 2019, in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

“It changes everybody’s role out there on the floor,” Cornhuskers coach Fred Hoiberg said. “Cam’s a guy that plays a lot of minutes for us.”

The Cornhuskers have lost 15 straight.

Isaiah Livers had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Michigan. Haanif Cheatham led Nebraska with 19 points.

Teske and Simpson each won his 108th game for the Wolverines, extending the school record. Simpson played in his 145th game, breaking a tie with Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman for Michigan’s career lead.

EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN – JANUARY 05: Head coach Juwan Howard of the Michigan Wolverines talks with Zavier Simpson #3 during the second half while playing the Michigan State Spartans at the Breslin Center on January 05, 2020 in East Lansing, Michigan. Michigan State won the game 87-69. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Abdur-Rahkman, who played on Michigan’s 2018 Final Four team, was also back at Crisler. He was shown on the video screen, and then there was a huge ovation when Beilein was put on the screen late in the first half.

“That was very, very cool. When they showed him on the big screen, I looked up,” Teske said. “I give him so much credit for the past few years. He’s improved my game so much.”
Beilein left Michigan after last season to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he lasted less than one season with them and resigned last month.

BIG PICTURE

Nebraska: The Cornhuskers fell behind 11-2 but were able to keep it close until halftime. Ultimately, this was Nebraska’s fifth double-digit loss in its last six games.

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Michigan: The Wolverines were coming off two straight losses, but this was a comfortable victory that assures Michigan at least a .500 record in the Big Ten regular season. The Wolverines are also one victory short of 20, which would be a nice accomplishment in coach Juwan Howard’s first season.

ANN ARBOR, MI – JANUARY 22: Michigan Wolverines head basketball coach Juwan Howard reacts to a call during the second half of the game against Penn State Nittany Lions at Crisler Center on January 22, 2020, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Penn State defeated Michigan 72-63. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

“The year that I’ve been here working with Jon and Zavier has been awesome,” Howard said. “It’s been a dream for me to be able to come into a program that had two guys that have been great examples, great leaders to each and every guy in the locker room.”

ANOTHER VISITOR

Beilein and Abdur-Rahkman weren’t the only people from previous eras of Michigan basketball in attendance. Ray Jackson — a Fab Five teammate of Howard’s in the 1990s — was at the game too.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JULY 07: Coby White #0 of the Chicago Bulls brings the ball up the court against Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman #39 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2019 NBA Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center on July 7, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

“Ray and I, we’ve been through a lot,” Howard said. “Our college experience was beautiful. He’s one of my favorite teammates. I enjoy the brotherhood that we’ve shared.”

TURNOVERS

Michigan isn’t known for forcing a lot of turnovers and Nebraska doesn’t commit many, but on Thursday, the Cornhuskers gave the ball away 22 times.

“We’ve done a great job all year at taking care of the ball. That’s one area we’ve been really good at — especially with the pace that we’re playing,” Hoiberg said. “The last two games, we’ve gotten a little loose with it.”

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Michigan barely stayed in the AP Top 25 this week and still has another big test before the next poll.

UP NEXT

Nebraska: The Cornhuskers play at Minnesota on Sunday.

Michigan: The Wolverines wrap up the regular season at No. 9 Maryland on Sunday.

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