Lincoln – Behind another solid all-around performance, the Nebraska men’s basketball team built a 17-point halftime lead and never looked back while posting its third conference victory in a row with a 63-45 win over Oklahoma in front of more than 10,000 fans at the Devaney Center on Wednesday night.
The win improved Nebraska to 17-9 on the year, including a 6-7 mark in the Big 12 Conference, good for a tie for sixth place in the conference standings. Oklahoma fell into the tie for sixth with the loss, falling to 18-10 overall and 6-7 in league play.
Nebraska placed four players in double figures, led by Aleks Maric, who recorded 16 points and 11 rebounds to post his eighth double-double in his last nine games. Steve Harley added 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting, while Ade Dagunduro scored 13 and Paul Velander poured in a season-high 11 points on a perfect shooting night.
The Huskers were impressive again on both sides of the court in winning for the sixth time in nine games. NU shot 50 percent from the field, while holding Oklahoma to just 37 percent. Nebraska also turned the ball over just eight times, marking the Huskers' best ball security in Big 12 play. NU also recorded 14 assists for the third consecutive game as Nebraska's plus-six assist-to-turnover margin was also its best in the conference season.
Nebraska used a harassing defensive effort to overcome a slow shooting start en route to building a 17-point halftime advantage, its largest of the conference season. Oklahoma had stretches of 4:58 and 7:05 without a field goal while hitting just 5-of-19 shots in the first half.
The Sooners struggles started right from the opening tip. OU turned the ball over on five of its first six possessions, but Nebraska was only able to build a 2-0 lead as the Huskers missed six of their first seven shots. The Sooners' first field goal tied the game at 2-all with 15:02 remaining in the half.
After OU took its only lead of the gae at 5-4, Velander drilled a pair of 3-pointers to put NU on top 12-8. Nebraska pushed the lead to 18-10 on a tremendous follow up slam by Dagunduro and a driving bucket from Harley with 8:20 remaining.
Neither team would score again for more than four minutes before a second Dagunduro dunk gave Nebraska a 10-point lead. Maric then threw home a slam of his own on the Huskers’ next possession to cap an 8-0 run that put Nebraska in front 22-10 with 3:30 remaining in the half.
Following a timeout, Oklahoma hit just its fifth basket of the half, ending a long drought of 7:05 without a field goal. Nebraska then scored the final seven points of the half to take a 29-12 lead into the break.
In the second half, Oklahoma used a quick 6-0 run to cut the lead to 13 early in the second half, but that was as close as the Sooners would get. A pair of 3-pointers from Velander and Dagunduro fueled an 11-3 Husker run that put Nebraska on top 46-23 midway through the period. From there Nebraska led by at least 18 the rest of the way, outscoring Oklahoma 34-33 in the second half.
Blake Griffin scored 10 of his team-high 17 points in the second half and the Sooners knocked down four 3-pointers, but it was not nearly enough to take down the red hot Huskers.
Nebraska looks to continue its hot streak when it hits the road this Saturday for a 12:30 p.m. contest at Oklahoma State that will be televised on ESPN Plus.