Nebraska basketball falls to Oklahoma

The Nebraska men’s basketball team suffered its second loss of the season Thursday afternoon, falling to Oklahoma in Orlando, Florida. The Huskers jumped out to an early lead and trailed by seven at the half, but ultimately fell to the Sooners, 69-56.

For a second straight game, Nebraska saw its opponent catch fire from behind the arc. The Sooners’ 3-point success was the story early as OU made five of its first seven shots from 3-point range. Oklahoma, which entered Thursday’s game averaging 5.3 3s a game and shooting 28.8% (21 of 73), made seven of its 12 shots (58.3%) from deep in the first half. OU finished 9 of 20 (45%).

“We got off to a great start scoring the ball. We made our first five field goal attempts, and they got hot again,” NU Coach Fred Hoiberg said. “It’s kind of the same thing from the 3-point line, and it opened it up a little bit.”

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Hoiberg added that his group needs to have more urgency Defending the deep ball, especially early. Oklahoma’s first 15 points came from behind the arc, and the Sooners put together a pair of 7-0 runs in the opening half. Nebraska led 10-6 early, only to see Oklahoma answer with an 11-2 run. Oklahoma’s 17-12 lead morphed into a 37-23 lead, and the Sooners looked to have seized the momentum.

However, the Huskers bounced back. Emmanuel Bandoumel scored six consecutive points, trimming the lead to 10. Bandoumel added a slick assist with just over two minutes left in the half, finding Juwan Gary cutting to the rim to make it 39-33. Jacob Graves — who led OU with 12 first-half points — responded with a layup, and Sam Griesel added a free throw in the final seconds, making it a seven-point game at the half. Nebraska recorded eight of the final 10 points before the break.

However, NU’s strong finish did not carry over to the second half. Nebraska started 0 of 5 from deep and 3 of 11 from the field. Nebraska’s offense was virtually non-existent for most of the second half as the Huskers shot 9 of 26 from the field.

“I thought the second half we honestly got better looks than we did in the first half. We just couldn’t convert,” Hoiberg said. “We missed a couple right at the rim and missed some wide-open 3s. (We’ve) got to find a way to convert those. And again from the free-throw line — 11 of 19, and a couple of those are one-and-ones. We had plenty of opportunities.”

NU finished the second half 1 of 9 from deep, the one make coming with four seconds left, and went through a six-minute scoring drought at one point. To add insult to injury, the Sooners went 2:39 between buckets in that stretch, but the Huskers were unable to cash in.

“I’m proud of the guys for continuing to at least be resilient and continuing to guard on that other end, and we hadn’t played much zone yet this year,” Hoiberg said. “We’ve been working on it and obviously had to change up to slow them down, and we did. But the inability to put the ball in the hole at the end of the day cost us.”

Bandoumel finished with 13 points in the loss, while Gary led NU with 16. Bandoumel led NU with five assists, while Griesel (eight) and Gary (eight) combined for 15 rebounds. Nebraska outrebounded Oklahoma 35-23. NU will face Memphis at 4:30 pm Friday on ESPN News and will close out the ESPN Events Invitational on Sunday.

“We’ve got to bounce back. We can’t let this one linger,” Hoiberg said.

Oklahoma (4-1);41;28—69

Nebraska (3-2);34;22—56

INSERT OKLAHOMA INDIVIDUAL STATS FROM BC-BKC–Oklahoma-Nebraska Long Box HERE

Percentages: FG .509, FT .667. 3-Point Goals: 9-20, .450 (T.Groves 3-3, J.Groves 2-4, Sherfield 2-5, Cortes 1-1, Hill 1-3, Bamisile 0-1, Noland 0-3). Blocked Shots: 6 (T. Groves 3, Uzan 2, Godwin). Turnovers: 6 (Noland 2, Sherfield 2, Hill, J. Groves). Steals: 6 (Hill 3, Sherfield 2, Noland). Technical Fouls: None.

INSERT NEBRASKA INDIVIDUAL STATS FROM BC-BKC–Oklahoma-Nebraska Long Box HERE

Percentages: FG .420, FT .579. 3-Point Goals: 3-14, .214 (Gary 2-5, Bandoumel 1-4, Tominaga 0-2, Wilcher 0-3). Blocked Shots: 4 (B. Keita 2, Breidenbach, Gary). Turnovers: 10 (Griesel 4, Wilcher 4, Gary 2). Steals: 4 (Wilcher 2, Bandoumel, Griesel). Technical Fouls: None.

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