Nebraska cruises past Oklahoma 63-45

Thursday, February 28th 2008, 11:45 am
By: News 9

Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. - Nebraska coach Doc Sadler jokingly suggested that it would be fine with him if the Huskers season ended Wednesday after they shut down Oklahoma 63-45 to take their third straight Big 12 Conference win.

Nebraska built a 17-point halftime lead and never let Oklahoma get close in the second half, holding the Sooners to just 37 percent shooting for the game.

"We were just fortunate tonight to play one of our better games defensively," Sadler said. "We had a lot of energy. We held an unbelievable team to 12 points in the first half. I wish the season ended today. I'd be happy as heck."

Nebraska (17-9, 6-7) led by as many as 23. Oklahoma (18-10, 6-7) never got closer than 13 points in the second half.

The 45 points tied the season low score for Oklahoma. The Sooners also scored 45 in a loss to Texas Saturday.

"When you hold a quality team like Oklahoma to 45 points, you're playing good defense," said Aleks Maric, who had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Nebraska. "That just builds confidence and that's a big part of it."

The Sooners outscored the Huskers 6-2 to open the second half. But Nebraska countered with a 13-4 run to go up 44-22 on Steve Harley's jumper with 11:23 remaining.

In turning back Oklahoma, Nebraska avoided the second-half collapse of two weeks ago that it go from holding Iowa State to a league record 11 first-half points to losing 60-50.

"At halftime, coach stressed that we've been here before and said the first five minutes was key," said Ade Dagunduro, who had 13 points for the Huskers. "If we could stop them the first five minutes, it would propel us to win the game. That's what happened."

Oklahoma didn't get within 20 points until Blake Griffin's short jumper made the score 59-41 with 4:20 left.

Nebraska held the Sooners to just two baskets in the final 12 minutes of the first half to build its lead, outscoring Oklahoma 20-4 to go up 29-12 at intermission.

Oklahoma hit just 26 percent of its shots in the first half. The Sooners turned the ball over eight times in the half, four of them to Nebraska steals. Oklahoma finished the game hitting just 37 percent of its shots.

Nebraska shot 50 percent from the field and made 13 of 17 free throws -- 10 of 13 in the second half. Nebraska has shot 50 percent or better in its each of its last three games.

"I think it's being more patient," Sadler said of the Huskers improved shooting. "We're getting better shots. I've said from day one we're a decent shooting basketball team. We're taking 50-percent shots now."

Sooner coach Jeff Capel wasn't happy with anything his team did Wednesday.

"It was just a really bad performance, it was a really disappointing performance," Capel said. "We tried to explain the magnitude of this game to our guys, but they didn't come out with the effort that we needed to, and Nebraska did."