Rally against Oregon comes up short
Lincoln. — Nebraska posted a valiant comeback to erase a 15-point second-half deficit, but fell short in an 83-76 loss to Oregon Wednesday night at the Devaney Center.
Trailing 68-53 with 10:31 remaining, Nebraska stormed back behind Jorge Brian Diaz, as the junior center scored eight of his 12 second-half points in a 22-7 spurt to lead the charge. Nebraska kept chipping away at the Ducks' lead before Bo Spencer's basket with2:05 remaining tied the score at 75 and brought the Devaney Center crowd to its feet
Diaz, who finished with 21 points, six rebounds and three blocks, blocked Oregon's next shot to give the Huskers a shot at the lead, but Nebraska could not capitalize. The Huskers were called for an offensive foul on the next possession, giving the Ducks the ball with 1:08 remaining. The Huskers forced a missed 3-pointer by Johnathan Loyd, but E.J. Singler got the offensive rebound and was fouled with 43 seconds left. Singler, who went 7-of-8 from the line as part of a 14-point night, sank both free throws to give Ducks a lead they would not relinquish.
Nebraska had an opportunity to take the lead but Dylan Talley's missed a 3-pointer on Nebraska's next possession, and Oregon got the rebound before Garett Sim's two free throws made it a four-point game. Oregon went 8-for-8 from the foul line in the final minute to snap the Huskers' 26-game home conference win streak and hand Nebraska just its second home non-conference loss in six seasons under Doc Sadler.
Diaz was one of four Huskers in double figures, as Talley came off the bench for 18 points, including four 3-pointers, while Brandon Ubel had 15 points, including 5-of-7 shooting. Bo Spencer was the fourth Nebraska player in double figures, finishing with 11 points and five assists.
Oregon (3-1) placed four in double figures, led by Sim's 20-point effort which including 4-of-6 from 3-point range and all eight free throws.
Nebraska used solid long-range shooting to build an early lead, as consecutive 3-pointers from Caleb Walker and Spencer capped an 8-1 spurt to give Nebraska's largest lead of the night at 19-12. The Ducks fought back, using a 15-2 spurt of its own to take a 27-21 lead after a Sim 3-pointer.
The Huskers quickly regained the momentum with a 9-2 run to regain the lead at 30-29 after Talley's 3-pointer, as the junior college transfer scored 13 of his points in the opening half for Nebraska. The Huskers eventually built a 36-31 lead, but Oregon used a decisive 14-2 run in the final minutes of the first half to take control and build a seven-point lead at 45-38 and eventually took a four-point lead to the locker room.
Nebraska cut the lead to 47-45 early in the second half, but could not stay out of foul trouble and the Ducks started to pull away. Tony Woods' jumper gave Oregon a 10-point lead, an advantage they would eventually push to 15 at 68-53 on Tyrone Nared's 3-pointer with 10:31 left before Nebraska made its late charge.
The Huskers return to action Saturday afternoon, as Nebraska hosts South Dakota State at 1 p.m. The game will be carried on BTN.com and tickets are available by calling 800-8-BIGRED.
*-Oregon snaps Nebraska's 26-game home non-conference win streak, dating back to Dec. 30, 2008. Nebraska is now 50-2 in non-conference home games under Doc Sadler
*-Oregon became just the 14th opponent in Sadler's six seasons to score 80 or more points.
*-Jorge Brian Diaz went over 20 points for the third time in his career with 21 points against Oregon. Diaz's last 20+ point game was against No. 1 Kansas on Feb. 6, 2010. Diaz's 2010-11 season high was 18 points at Iowa State
*-Brandon Ubel had a career-high 15 points in the loss, as his previous high was 14 on two occasions, lost recently against Alcorn on Dec. 8, 2010. Ubel had just seven points in Nebraska's first three games.
*-Brandon Richardson's steal in the first half was the 100th of his career.
*-Dylan Talley had a season-high 18 points, including a career high four 3-pointers. Talley has had two straight games of 15 or more points.
Opening Statement: "First of all, I cannot say enough about our crowd. I thought that they were a huge, huge factor in the run we made, and I cannot tell you how much this team appreciates that, and we need that. We don't make that run without this kind of crowd. You have to give Oregon credit. I thought they played harder. And what I mean by that is you cannot score 76 points at home and get beat. You can't do it. There are very few teams, as I told the team, you look at tonight's ballgames at any team that played and scored 76 points, and they probably won the basketball game. Give our guys credit. They fought back and fought back and got right there tied and now it is a 50-50 ball and we give up an offensive rebound. Again, that is a credit to Oregon. They made the play and they didn't. As I told the team, we can sit here and look at total points and that. You're going to score a lot of points when you score 76 points. You won't win many games when you give up more than 76 at home and that is what we did. That was the ball game."
On if Sadler was surprised how often Oregon was able to get in the lane tonight: "Any time they wanted it. So yeah, that hasn't been an issue but it was tonight. Again, I thought their cuts were harder. I thought everything they did was harder. I thought we were very fortunate to get back into the ball game. Very fortunate."
On if it was something Oregon did or Nebraska didn't do that allowed Oregon to get in the lane so much: "Again, they do a nice job. It is more what we didn't do. There has been so much talk and things written about how much offense we got and how much offense we have. Guys, we scored 76 and that's a lot of offense but you aren't going to win any games. We have to understand that you still have to protect that lane on the defensive end. We obviously did not do that. I don't know what we ended up with but it was 18 at halftime. 18 paint touches at halftime. It was well over 30 I'm sure."
On if Nebraska upped the defensive intensity on their run toward the end of the game: "I don't think so. I think they missed some shots. Guys, give them credit. They shot at 50 percent and I don't know that we did anything different. They missed some shots. They missed some free-throws but they'd get the offensive rebound on the free-throw. They missed a shot late and they get an offensive rebound. You can't defend and be successful until you get the basketball and we didn't finish it off."
On what happened on the run "We just fought back. We never want to give up. We believe in each other; we believe in our team. We believe in coach and what he teaches us to do. And we just practice hard. We learn to just keep at it. There's going to be adversity, but you just have to play through it. Things started to turn tonight but we just didn't finish it."
On the defensive effort "I think we played good defense. We played hard, but we fouled a lot and we didn't rebound as a team. We have up a lot of boards, and I know that hurt us. I think we played hard from the initial possession, but they just out toughed us tonight on the boards."
On Oregon's defensive pressure and how they handled it "I think we were able to handle it pretty well. I don't think the problem was offense. It was on the defensive side of the ball and rebounding. That's where we had problems tonight."
Oregon Guard Farrett Sim
On how the team got the win tonight "I think we just buckled down defensively. In the first half, we were giving them too many open threes and they were knocking them down. I think we just clamped down defensively and kept playing team basketball. I think we were making a lot of extra passes and good offensive plays for each other."
On what happened when the lead diminished "I think we just let up a little. Give credit to them. They came aggressively at us and got to the free throw line. When it came down to it, we buckled down and made free throws and won the game."
On Oregon's ability to make free throws down the stretch "We shoot free throws every day and this year we haven't actually shot free throws that well. That was good for us; good for our confidence."
Oregon Tyrone Nared
On how physical the game was "Yeah, they had size over me so I knew I needed my athleticism to help us rebound. That's what helped us down the stretch."
On what happened when they held Nebraska to four points in seven minutes "We just decided that we were going to lock in and play defense and get stops every position. It worked out well for that seven minute stretch."
On what happened when the lead diminished "We started getting a little too comfortable. Coach was right. We started making baskets and getting easy on the defensive end and we can't do that."
Oregon Head Coach Dana Altman
On the game "We had a pretty good lead there and had a number of bad possessions. It came down to bad turnovers and bad shots. I didn't like the way we played there for a few minutes. But we found a way and that's the important thing. It's a tough place to play; a tough place to win and we found a way."
On Oregon's ability to make free throws down the stretch "We had the right guys shooting them. We had experience in there and we played our experienced guys tonight. I think eventually some of our new guys will get in. This atmosphere was a little tough for them, but they'll get better and we'll get better when they do."
On how good of a win this is "Any road win is a good win. Doc's done such a good job here. Their non-conference record under him is pretty good. We went to Vanderbilt and had a chance but didn't get it done. We got it done here and we are going to BYU next. The road experience will definitely help us for our Pac-12 games."
Source: University of Nebraska Athletic Dept.