Charleston, S.C. – Freshman Tai Webster had 13 of his 14 points in the second half, as Nebraska learned the lessons from its two losses to earn a 73-65 win over Georgia at the Charleston Classic Sunday afternoon.
The Huskers, who allowed 110 second-half points in its two losses in Charleston, held Georgia to 43.3 shooting in the second half and took control down the stretch on the defensive end.
Nebraska trailed 52-50 before going on a 9-2 spurt to take a 59-54 lead on a Shavon Shields reverse layup. Walter Pitchford tied the game at 52 with a long jumper before Webster connected on a 3-pointer from the wing to give NU a three-point lead. Georgia cut the lead to 55-54 on a basket from Marcus Thornton, but Webster hit a pair of free throws before Shields, who missed his first five shots of the day, went baseline and flipped one off the glass to give the Huskers a five-point lead and force a Georgia timeout.
Georgia got to within 63-59 after 3-pointer from Nemanja Djurisic, but a Webster basket and a Leslee Smith tip-in started a 10-2 run that put the game put away, as the Huskers built their biggest lead of the day at 73-61 with 32 seconds left.
Webster set season bests in both points (14) and assists (three) while going 7-of-9 from the foul line on the afternoon to lead four Huskers in double figures. Terran Petteway continued his strong tournament effort with 15 points and seven rebounds while Walter Pitchford and Ray Gallegos added 12 and 11 points, respectively. Nebraska also got another big effort off the bench from Smith, who had eight points and a season-high 11 rebounds, as Nebraska out-rebounded the Bulldogs, 36-35.
Early on, Georgia ran off six straight points, taking a 14-8 lead after a pair of Juwan Parker free throws before Nebraska regrouped behind the play of Smith. The junior keyed a 9-3 run as Nebraska tied the score at 17 after a Deverell Biggs steal and hoop.
Nebraska then went on a 13-2 run keyed by the shooting of Gallegos, who hit a pair of 3-pointers in the run. The Huskers took a their first lead at 22-21 after a Biggs free throw with 7:08 left and eventually built a 34-25 lead after a Gallegos jumper with 2:47 left in the half.
Georgia fought back, as the Bulldogs closed the half on a 6-0 spurt, pulling to within 34-31 after a Nemanja Djurisic basket with 41 seconds left in the half. Georgia continued to chip away, as the Bulldogs continued the 10-1 run in the opening minutes of the second half, pulling even at 35-all on a Charles Mann free throw before Gallegos ended the Huskers’ dryspell with a 3-pointer.
The lead went back and forth, as Georgia took a 51-48 after a jumper by Donte’ Williams before Nebraska seized momentum
Mann led Georgia with 16 points to pace three Bulldogs in double figures.
The Huskers return to action next Saturday, as they take on Northern Illinois. Tipoff is at Noon (central) and the game will be carried on the Husker Sports Radio Network and online on the Big Ten Digital Network