Los Angeles, Calif. - Brandon Richardson's keyed Nebraska's decisive 8-0 run in double overtime, as the Huskers gutted out a 64-61 victory at the Galen Center late Monday.
Nebraska trailed 56-54 in the second overtime before Richardson, who played at nearby Hawthorne High School, and senior Bo Spencer keyed the run which put Nebraska up for good. Spencer tied the game at 56 with a jumper before Richardson found Jorge Brian Diaz for a layup to give the Huskers the lead for good with 3:03 remaining. On Nebraska's next possession, Richardson delivered the dagger, his fourth 3-pointer of the night, putting the Huskers ahead 61-56.
Spencer led the Huskers with 22 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, while Richardson totaled 12 points and matched his career-high in 3-pointers. Jorge Brian Diaz was the third Husker to finish in double figures with 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots.
Trailing 63-56 with 1:21 left, USC (1-1) made one last run, as Alexis Moore's 3-pointer and a Dewayne Dedmon dunk pulled the Trojans within 62-61 with nine seconds left. USC then fouled Spencer, who calmly sank both foul shots to make it a 3-point lead. USC had one final chance to tie, but Maurice Jones' 3-pointer was off the mark and the tip failed before Caleb Walker grabbed the rebound to secure Nebraska's first non-conference road win since a win at USC two years ago.
Nebraska, which improved to 2-0, needed heroics at both the end of regulation and in overtime to get the game into a second extra period.
In the first overtime, NU missed its first four shots, but trailed only 52-49 before Spencer ended the scoring drought with a long 3-pointer with 42 seconds left. USC milked the clock before Jones, who lead USC with 18 points, drove and hit short jumper to put USC ahead 54-52. After a timeout, Nebraska got the ball to Toney McCray just past midcourt, and he drove to the basket but was fouled with 2.8 seconds remaining. McCray then then sank both free throws to knot the game and Jones was unable to hit a game winner at the buzzer.
In regulation, Nebraska survived a late scoring drought, as the Trojans erased a seven-point second half deficit before the Huskers fought back to send the game into overtime.
Nebraska led 41-34 after Dylan Talley 3-pointer but Jones led USC back, scoring seven points in an 8-0 spurt to put the Trojans back on top. Jones, who had five points in the first 32 minutes, hit a 3-pointer and then a pair of free throws to make it 41-40 before giving USC its first lead since the opening minutes of the second half with a driving layup with 8:07 left
Jones led three USC players in double figures with 18 points, but the Trojans shot 33 percent and were out-rebounded 43-36.
Richardson ended the run for the Huskers with his third 3-pointer of the night to put NU ahead 44-42. Diaz split a pair of free throws to give NU a 3-point lead, but the Trojans ran off seven unanswered points to take control. After Aaron Fuller's basket, Jones hit a 3-pointer to stake USC to a 47-45 lead with 3:58 left and the Trojans eventually pushed the lead to 49-45 with 2:42 left after Jones split a pair of three throws.
Diaz ended the Huskers' drought with a basket before Nebraska got a defensive stop. Nebraska set up a play before McCray was fouled with 58.9 seconds left. The senior had been held scoreless before stepping to the line where his first shot rattled around the rim and fell in. McCray's second attempt was perfect, pulling NU even at 49. USC had two chances to win in regulation, as Jones missed a jumper before USC got the rebound and called timeout with 19 seconds left. The Trojans could not get a great look before Dewayne Dedmon's jumper from 18 feet clanged off the rim at the buzzer.
USC took an early lead and led by as many as four points on two occasions, the last being 10-6 before the Huskers regrouped. Nebraska used long range shooting to run off seven unanswered points, as 3-pointers from Caleb Walker and Richardson and a Brandon Ubel free throw gave NU a 13-10 lead.
USC came right back to tie the score at 13, but Richardson's second 3-pointer of the night keyed a 6-1 run, as the Huskers built a 19-14 advantage after a Diaz free throw with 6:26 left in the half. The Trojans scored consecutive baskets to make it 19-18 before Spencer quelled the run with a long jumper. NU got the lead back out to four points with 1:10 left in the half as Spencer hit two free throws after USC's James Blasczyk bloodied Talley's nose with an elbow, but Garrett Jackson's put-back made it a 2-point game at the break.
The Huskers return to action Sunday afternoon, as Nebraska faces Rhode Island at the Devaney Center. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m and the game will be carried on the Big Ten Network and on the radio on the Husker Sports Network and Huskers.com.
*-Nebraska is now 2-0 in double-overtime games under Sadler, as the other one was a 83-79 win against Texas Tech on Feb. 27, 2010. NU is now 4-4 in overtime games under Sadler while tonight's OT win was the first on the road since a 78-75 win at Colorado on Feb. 17, 2001. The Huskers had lost their last three road overtime games since the win at CU. That was Nebraska's only overtime road win since the 1997-98 season prior to tonight.
*-Tonight's road-opening win was the Huskers' second since the 1996-97 season and first since a 62-50 win at TCU in the 2008-09 season..
*-USC falls to 32-7 in non-conference games since the Galen Center opened, and Nebraska is the only non-conference school to have two wins in the building.
*-Brandon Richardson matched his career high with four 3-pointers, as he also had four against Creighton on Dec. 5, 2010
*-Nebraska has now won the last three games against USC by a total of eight points
*-USC drops to 32-7 in home non-conference games at the Galen Center, with two of the losses coming at the hands of Nebraska.
*-Nebraska was 12-of-15 from the foul line in the final 30 minutes of tonight's game, including 5-of-6 in the overtime periods.
*-Jorge Brian Diaz had three blocked shots and has eight blocks in Nebraska's first two contests.
*-Bo Spencer tied his career high with seven rebounds, as he also had seven rebounds against Western Kentucky on Nov. 17, 2009 when he was at LSU. Spencer also now has 12 career games with at least 20 points, as he finished with a game-high 22 points in the win at USC. He also tied a career high with 44 minutes played.
USC Head Coach - Kevin O'Neill
"Both teams played a heck of a game. For this early in the year, for both teams to play defense and execute says a lot. Unfortunately, we couldn't finish. We had our chances. Unfortunately, we lost. But we'll grow from this and get better. I thought our defense was outstanding. We did a good job on their bigs. We did everything but win. Now we've got to turn around and get ready for San Diego State on Thursday.
"Mo has got to take it on his shoulders. He did better tonight in the second half.
"It was tough to lose. We've got to regroup and keep going. There's no break in the schedule. There were some positives, but I'm not happy. It was right there for us to win.
"I think Nebraska is really good. They'll win a lot of games. Spencer made a big shot.
"We've got to establish an inside game."
USC Guard Maurice Jones:
:"It was frustrating. Those shots, I usually make. We did better as a team, a lot better than I thought we would. We've got to use this as a learning experience.
"They came out, executed and made a lot of shots.
"I feel like our freshmen, Byron and Alexis, played a lot better. They played really well."
Nebraska Head Coach Doc Sadler:
"Great game by both teams. Both sides played exceptionally hard"
"Have to be impressed for it to be the 2nd game of the year, on the road, making clutch free throws down the stretch, and coming out with the win."
"Our speed has to get better. Our cuts were too slow and they must get quicker. However, I will give the other team credit on defense."