Lincoln - Bo Spencer's 23 points led three Huskers in double figures, as the Nebraska men's basketball team improved to 3-0 on the season with an impressive 83-63 win over Rhode Island Sunday afternoon at the Devaney Center.
Spencer hit 8-of-13 shots from the floor, dished out four assists and had three steals, as the Huskers built a 15-point lead in the first 10 minutes of the game and cruised to a 20-point win over the Rams.
Caleb Walker had a career-high 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the floor, including a trio of 3-pointers, while Dylan Talley came off the bench for 14 points and five rebounds, as nine Huskers broke into the scoring column in Nebraska's highest output of the year. Senior Brandon Richardson dished out a career-high eight assists and matched his personal best with four steals as the Huskers forced 18 turnovers and converted them to 27 points.
Nebraska (3-0) shot 57.1 percent from the floor, including 10-of-23 from 3-point range while holding URI (0-3) to a season-low 37.7 percent shooting. The Rams, who averaged 90 points per game in its first two contests, had just 20 at the break, as Nebraska led by as many as 24 points in building a 40-20 margin.
Nebraska came out blistering, hitting its first seven shots from the floor to build an early 16-7 lead, as Walker and Spencer combined to score 14 of the Huskers' first 16 points URI pulled to within 16-9, but 3-pointers from Toney McCray and Dylan Talley sparked a 13-0 Husker run, as Nebraska built a 29-9 lead after three Spencer free throws with 8:10 left in the half. The Huskers eventually got the lead to as much as 24 after a Richardson 3-pointer with 3:08 left in the half, as Nebraska went 6-of-14 from long range in the opening half.
The Huskers took the suspense out of the second half, using an 8-0 run to build a 55-27 lead after Talley's 3-point play with 13:41 remaining. URI made one last run, pulling to within 65-46 with 7:57 left, but Walker and Spencer led NU on an 8-2 spurt to quickly push the margin to 25 and put the game out of reach.
Orion Outerbridge led Rhode Island with 24 points and 10 rebounds, while Nebraska held Jamal Wilson, who was averaging 31 points per game, to 14 points and six turnovers.
The Huskers return to action Wednesday night as they host Oregon at 8 p.m. Tickets are available for the contest between the Huskers and Ducks by calling 800-8-BIGRED or visiting Huskers.com.
*-Nebraska scored a season-high 83 points and are now 20-2 under Sadler when scoring 80+ points.
*-Nebraska held Rhode Island to a season-low 63 points after the Rams scored 90 points in each of their first two contests. Nebraska has now held all three of its opponents under 65 points this season and is allowing 57.3 points per game
*-Nebraska's 24 assists matched the Huskers' highest total in Doc Sadler's six seasons at Nebraska NU also had 24 assists against Maryland Eastern Shore on Jan. 4, 2008. Nebraska also committed a season-low 13 turnovers in the win.
*-Bo Spencer set a season high with 23 points, his second straight game of scoring 20 or more points.
*-Brandon Richardson set tied or set career highs in both assists (8) and steals (4) in the win over URI.
*-Caleb Walker set a personal best with 17 points, the second time in three games he has established a new career high Walker, who is averaging 12.3 points per game is shooting 81 percent from the floor and 79 percent from 3-point range.
*-Nebraska converted 18 URI turnovers into 27 points, while allowing just 6 points off of 13 turnovers.
*-Nine Huskers broke into the scoring column, including freshmen Josiah Moore and Corey Hilliard Jr.
*-Nebraska improves to 49-1 in home non-conference games under Doc Sadler and has won 26 straight non-conference games at the Devaney Center.
Rhode Island Coach Jim Baron
On Nebraska's start
"It's been a long haul playing three tough games on the road with all three of those teams going to the postseason (last year). It's a real challenge for us with so many inexperienced guys. You're playing against a good team in a tough environment with some good players. We just fell short. We missed some shots, missed some opportunities and they capitalized on it."
On URI's offensive struggles
"You can't have 15 turnovers in the first half and expect to be in the game. Again, they aren't a pressing team, but we did get out of our sync as far as what we needed to do because our numbers were down. We had to make some adjustments going from full court to half court, and we couldn't guard them because we got into foul trouble, then we went to the zone. They're a good basketball team, and we have to play in a way that's going to get us some easy baskets. That's what our press has done, getting the ball in the open court and making some shots off of turnovers. We have to get back to that."
Nebraska Coach Doc Sadler
On if Brandon Richardson is the unsung hero
"He is just so solid. We like to have him defend the best perimeter player that the other team has, and he chases after loose balls. He'll be a tough guy that will help us down the stretch."
On how Bo Spencer has progressed
"He is only going to get better. He made some shots today, but he still needs to get better defensively. The coaches, the media, the team - they all know he's good. He's just had to sit out for a year, so it's going to take some getting used to."
On Dylan Talley's production
"He is someone that we will need for 25-30 minutes a game. He has gotten much better defensively."
On the fast start today
"We knew that the score early on didn't matter. They were down big against Texas and came back to take the lead. For us, it was more of the way we got the lead. We took good shots and we were making them."
On if this is the deepest team he has had in terms of players wanting to take shots at the end
"It's the best after three games. If Caleb Walker goes 7 of 8, we feel good about our chances. Bo (Spencer) can get them an easier shot than we've probably been able to accomplish in the past. If the shooter knows a good pass is coming, he will feel good about his shot."
Nebraska Guard Caleb Walker
On if he can continue shoot 7-8 from the floor
"I really hope to. That would be really nice. It's really a spark to help out the team."
On if it's easy to shoot when Bo Spencer is making it easy
"I think that's the great thing about this team. Bo's a leader and with the ball in his hands he does a lot of great things. He's going to penetrate, so you have to be ready to shoot when he penetrates and kicks. And you have to run the floor with him because he pushes it."
On if Bo Spencer brings a different aspect to the transition game
"I think it's pretty much the same. It's an up-tempo beat when they get the ball in their hands. With the wings, you really have to run because they're pushing it. You never know, if they shoot it, you might get a chance to get a rebound. If they drive and kick, you got to be ready to shoot."