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December 8, 2010

Hot start sparks Nebraska to 78-57 over Braves

All the talk coming into Wednesday night's game against Alcorn State was about how Nebraska couldn't seem to score with any consistency in the first 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes against the Braves, all that talk cooled off significantly.

Behind a 40-point effort in the first half, Nebraska jumped out to an early lead over ASU and finished up the night with a 78-57 victory. However, the lead ended up shrinking to as few as 15 points in the second half, but the Huskers were still able to hold on down the stretch.

"We kind of talked about before the game how we wanted to put together a full 40 minutes, and today we weren't able to do that (in the second half), so it's a little bit disappointing," sophomore center Brandon Ubel said. "But it's always good to see the ball go in the hole."

With one of the biggest issues the past week being Nebraska's scoring struggles in the first half, the Huskers put that issue to bed in a hurry. With a 10-0 run to open the game, NU closed out the half with a 20-1 run to take a 40-17 lead into halftime.

The lead was their largest first-half advantage of the season and the 40 points were the most they've scored in the opening half all year as well. Nebraska's previous largest haftime lead was 13 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Sophomore center Jorge Brian Diaz scored 10 of his 15 points in the first half on 5-of-6 shooting, while the Huskers shot 54.8 percent from the field.

As fate would have it, though, the offensive stalemates Nebraska usually goes through in the first half eventually showed up in the second half against the Braves.

Leading 62-33 with 10:18 to go, the Huskers went the next 5 ˝ minutes without making a single field goal and slowly let Alcorn State chip away and cut the lead to as few as 15 with 5:20 to go in the game.

"It kind of switched up on us," Ubel said. "I think you could probably tell we didn't come out with the same intensity or fire that we did in the first half. Obviously that's something we've got to fix. We've got to figure out how to play a full game together."

Luckily for NU, Jeter was there to save the day, as he scored eight straight points to put an end to the ASU rally.

As much as the first-half success was a boost in confidence for the Huskers, they were just as disappointed with the second-half letdown.

"I think that's what's normal, but I'm not for sure that's what good teams do," Sadler said. "As I told the team before, when you get guys down and you step on somebody's throat, you've got to step on it, and we didn't do that."

Ubel scored 14 points and junior guard Caleb Walker scored just two points but hauled in a game-high 12 rebounds for the Huskers, who have now won five games in a row.

Guard Marquiz Baker scored a game-high 32 points for Alcorn State, which dropped to 0-8 on the year.

Nebraska will play host to TCU on Saturday at 1 p.m.

"It's a win," Sadler said. "You always enjoy the wins. I thought at times, especially in the first half, we did some things… but obviously in the second half, I'm disappointed that we didn't finish the basketball game in the second 20 minutes. I guess that can be normal.

"I could sit here and tell you all the things we didn't do, but the fact of the matter is we did win the basketball game. That's the most important thing."



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