Jan. 30, 2010
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP)— Nebraska coach Doc Sadler walked down the bench and high-fived every one of his players Saturday night as the final seconds ticked off the Cornhuskers' 63-46 win over Oklahoma.
"I'm proud of this team, man," Sadler said. "They've been busting their tails, and it's good to see them rewarded."
Nebraska (13-8, 1-5) got its first Big 12 victory of the season and avoided its worst conference start since 1962-63 with a workmanlike performance against the cold-shooting Sooners (12-9, 3-4).
Brandon Richardson scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half and the Cornhuskers pulled away for their first win since Jan. 5 against Southeastern Louisiana.
The win came just in time for the Huskers, who play five straight games against teams in the Top 25, starting Tuesday at home against No. 11 Kansas State.
"This was a good one for us and the team is happy," said Lance Jeter, who matched his career high with seven rebounds. "We know we have a tougher one Tuesday. We celebrate tonight. Tomorrow brings a new day."
The Sooners, winless in four conference road games, shot just 35 percent and had their fewest points since scoring 45 in back-to-back losses to Texas and Nebraska in February 2008.
"It was like two years ago. It was deja vu all over again," Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said. "We could never get into a rhythm offensively."
Ryan Anderson added 11 points and Jorge Brian Diaz 10 for the Huskers, who shot 52 percent in the second half and finished at 44.4 percent.
Cade Davis scored 13 points to lead the Sooners. Tommy Mason-Griffin, who scored 38 points against Iowa State on Wednesday and was averaging 28.3 in his previous three games, was held to nine.
Willie Warren and Tony Crocker, both of whom missed the Iowa State game with right ankle sprains, returned against the Huskers and scored a combined nine points on 2-of-9 shooting.
"Coach said to be more aggressive in the defensive game, and that's what we did," Richardson said. "We caused them to miss shots, and we picked up our intensity to force turnovers."
Anderson and Diaz scored back-to-back baskets early in the second half to put Nebraska up 35-22, and the Huskers nursed double-digit leads until Davis' 3-pointer pulled the Sooners to 53-44.
But after Christian Standhardinger converted a three-point play and Richardson hit a 3 and layup, the Huskers' lead was up to 17 points with three minutes to play.
Richardson scored seven straight points for the Huskers during one stretch of the second half and finished 6 for 11 from the field.
"Injuries have slowed him down," Jeter said, "but when he's healthy, he's probably the best player out there because of the way he shoots and plays aggressive defense."
Nebraska had shot under 40 percent in its three previous games.
"I know this, this team has no chance to succeed unless we play harder than everybody else," Sadler said. "When we do that, we can play with most teams. Then we have to make shots. When this team makes shots, it's a pretty good team."
Oklahoma missed 10 of its first 11 shots and made 30 percent from the floor in the first half but was still able to hang with the Huskers. The Sooners pulled within 21-20 when Mason-Griffin passed to an all-alone Andrew Fitzgerald along the baseline for an easy layin.
A three-point play by Standhardinger after putting back his own miss, Richardson's two free throws and Anderson's 3-pointer from in front of the Sooners' bench gave the Huskers a 29-20 halftime lead. It was OU's lowest halftime point total of the season.
Tipoff was pushed back to evening because of a snow and ice storm in Oklahoma that delayed the Sooners' charter flight to Lincoln.
Capel said the difficult travel was no excuse.
"We got here in plenty of time," he said. "They just outplayed us, out-toughed us. That's something we have to do a better job with."