Nebraska surges past Omaha in 80-67 win
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) Nebraska coach Tim Miles was quick to spell out the key to Nebraska’s 80-67 come-from-behind win over Omaha on Tuesday.
”The story of the night is what Shavon did,” Miles said. Shavon is Shavon Shields, who scored a career-high 35 points to lead the Huskers past Omaha.
Shields scored 21 of those points in the first half to pull Nebraska out of a first half deficit and into a lead it never relinquished.
”I just tried to play within the offense and take shots as they came,” Shields said. ”They were falling tonight. I didn’t change anything. Sometimes it takes us awhile to get going. We’ve got to fix that. We’ve got to find a way to play with urgency. We didn’t do that at the start of the game.”
Nebraska (3-1) trailed by as many as 16 early but opened up a double-digit lead late in the first half.
Omaha (2-2) cut the Nebraska lead to 47-43 on C.J. Carter’s layup with 13:15 left.
Shields then hit Nebraska’s first field goal of the second half and followed that with a 3-pointer to push the Husker lead back to 52-43 with 12:25 remaining. Nebraska went up 61-50 on Shields 3-pointer with 9 minutes left. Omaha didn’t get any closer down the stretch.
Omaha opened the game hot, hitting eight of its first nine shots, four of them 3-pointers, in the first five minutes to take a 23-7 lead. Nebraska, which made just 1 of its first 10 free throws, stormed back with a 23-2 run to take a 30-25 lead on Terran Petteway’s breakaway dunk with 6:21 remaining in the half.
The Huskers never trailed again, going up 40-29 after a pair of Shields free throws with 2:36 left in the half. Omaha scored just 11 points in the final 15 minutes of the first half.
”I thought we needed a quick start and we got that,” said Omaha coach Derrin Hansen. ”I thought our guys played with a lot of confidence. I thought defensively, we were really dialed in. As the first half wore on, we weren’t quite as good on our switches…. The second half, I liked our fight.”
The Huskers, Miles said, may have come out flat because of Saturday’s overtime loss at Rhode Island. But they also took a punch from the Mavericks.
”They made some tough shots,” Miles said. ”We also made some defensive errors. After that we got our heads calmed down. We’re not four minutes into it and they’ve got 21 points. I’m like `what’s the record…Then we got 11 straight stops. That’s not bad defense after you’ve given up 23 (points) in 12 (possessions)”
And Miles had Shields, his most consistent performer this season, playing at the top of his game.
”I’m scared to think of the consequences of him not being steady, if he was EKGing like the rest of them,” Miles said. ”He’s really been the rock for us, our go-to guy.”
Devin Patterson had 20 points to lead Omaha. Carter finished with 13 points for the Mavericks and Tyus had 12.
Petteway had 20 points and 12 rebounds and Tai Webster added 10, all of them in the second half, for Nebraska.
Nebraska: The 16-point comeback matches Nebraska’s largest at Pinnacle Bank Arena (vs. Indiana on Jan. 30, 2014). Shields’ 35 points ties the PBA record, held be Pittway against Minnesota on Jan. 26. The Huskers are 18-1 in PBA. Their only loss in the arena, which opened at the start of the 2013-2014 season, was to Michigan, 71-70 on Jan. 9.
Omaha: Formerly known as Nebraska-Omaha, the Mavericks have never defeated Nebraska. The Mavericks are either 0-3 or 0-4 against the Huskers, depending on who’s counting. Nebraska’s 2006 win over UNO counted for the Huskers. It was an exhibition game for the Mavericks.
Nebraska hosts Tennessee-Martin Friday
Omaha hosts Nevada Saturday