Cornhuskers Too Much For Buffaloes in Big 12 Home Opener
LINCOLN, Neb. - Aleks Maric scored 28 points and Jamel White added 18 points, but it was a stellar effort on the defensive end that led the Nebraska men's basketball team to a 71-50 victory over Colorado Saturday at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
The Huskers held Colorado to just 13 first-half points, the lowest single-half point total by any conference opponent in the history of the Devaney Center. The Buffaloes' 13 points were also just one more than the Devaney Center record for few points scored in a half set by Arkansas in 1987, Bethune-Cookman in 2003 and Morgan State in 2004.
It was CU's second lowest first half output of the season after scoring 11 points in the first half against Air Force back on Nov. 18.
NU limited Colorado to just seven assists, while forcing 18 turnovers that led to 25 Husker points. Nebraska also held CU's leading scorer Richard Roby, who entered the night averaging 18.3 points per game, to just one point. The Huskers held Roby without a field goal for the first time in his career, while they forced him into 0-of-5 shooting and seven turnovers during his career-low scoring effort.
The Huskers' defensive effort propelled them to a 17-point halftime advantage and Nebraska (12-5, 1-2 Big 12) cruised from there to give Head Coach Doc Sadler his first Big 12 Conference victory. Colorado fell to 5-10 overall and 1-4 in the league.
Nebraska got off to a strong start, running to a quick 10-0 lead before Colorado even got a shot off. Maric had a basket to open the scoring and added a pair of free throws while freshmen Jay-R Strowbridge and Ryan Anderson punched in 3-pointers to key the run. The Huskers also turned up the defense, forcing the Buffs into six turnovers and holding CU without a field-goal attempt until Jeremy Williams hit a jumper with 15:55 left in the half to cut the NU lead to eight.
The lead grew to 13 points, 16-3, on Jamel White's jumper with 12:57 to play before intermission and Nebraska kept applying the pressure, forcing CU into nine turnovers before the second media timeout. Colorado finished with 14 miscues in the opening frame while hitting just 25 percent from the floor. Nebraska shot just 42.9 percent, including connecting only 2-of-11 from 3-point range, but only had two turnovers, a season low for one period.
White extended the lead to 19 points with a layup in transition after a Richardson steal, giving NU a 30-11 advantage with 1:10 left in the opening period. CU cut the halftime deficit to 30-13 on Dominique Coleman's jumper with 44 seconds left. The 13 points were just one off the Devaney Center opponent low for a period set three times before, most recently by Morgan State in 2004.
Nebraska enjoyed a comfortable lead for the entire second half, leading by as much as 25. While the Buffaloes nearly tripled their first-half point total with 37 second-half points, NU still held CU to its second-lowest scoring night of the season.
The Huskers shot well in the second half, hitting 14-of-24 shots from the field (58.3 percent), while knocking down 10-of-12 free throws. Colorado shot at a 48.3-percent clip in the second period after hitting just 5-of-20 shots in the opening period.
Maric finished 10-of-12 from the field and 8-of-9 at the charity stripe to pace the Huskers. He narrowly missed a double-double as he pulled down eight rebounds to go along with his 28 points. White was the only other Husker in double figures with 18 points, as Nebraska had balanced scoring with nine players scoring at least three points.
Xavier Silas led two Buffaloes in doubles figures with 13 points, although he hit only five of his 12 shots from the field. Coleman added12 points and five assists.