BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- With a big lead slipping away, Nebraska
freshman Joe McCray made the biggest shot of his short career
The guard from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., scored the last of his 21
points on a 3-pointer with 1:34 left to help the Cornhuskers hold
off a big Colorado comeback for a 68-61 victory.
"Even as a freshman, he's not afraid to take big shots," coach
Barry Collier said.
After scoring 11 of his team's first 13 points -- a layup and
three 3-pointers -- McCray stayed silent for most of the game. But
after a 17-point lead had been trimmed to four, the Huskers (8-4,
2-0 Big 12) ran a play for him.
"He had a little traffic there," Collier said. "He had to
work to get the ball. He got it, and just turned and fired."
It hit nothing but net to increase the lead to 61-54, and
Nebraska had more or less secured a win in this, its first
conference road game of the season. McCray finished 5-for-8 from
"It feels good," McCray said. "We're trying to get to the
Freshman Richard Roby (20 points), the half brother of Nuggets
forward Kenyon Martin, scored nine straight points to help Colorado
(8-5, 0-2) pull within five with 4 minutes left. But CU never got
the game to within one possession, and now the Buffs must prepare
for a home game Saturday against No. 2 Kansas.
Colorado coach Ricardo Patton was the first to concede that that
game could get ugly if the Buffs don't improve quickly.
"As I said to the team, we have the possibility of having the
worst team we've had in a while if we don't pick it up and start
playing some `D'," Patton said.
The Buffaloes were 15-1 at home in the Big 12 over the last two
seasons, but this team is nothing like those last two.
Missing its top four scorers and top three rebounders from last
season, and missing this season's top rebounder, Julius Ashby, with
a foot injury, CU's young, thin lineup got even younger and
Starting in Ashby's place, 6-foot-11 Lamont Arrington was no
match for the Huskers. Arrington finished with no points and no
rebounds in nine minutes. Colorado's 6-9 forward, Andy Osborn, also
missed the game with a foot injury.
Meanwhile, Nebraska center Aleks Maric, a 6-foot-11 freshman
from Sydney, Australia, finished with eight points and 11 rebounds,
five of those on the offensive glass.
Jason Dourisseau had 11 points and seven boards for Nebraska.
The Huskers grabbed only five more rebounds than the Buffs, but
they ran to their big, early lead by basically shutting down the
middle on defense. CU scored just three baskets in the paint in the
first half en route to a 37-22 lead.
The loss spoiled a 22-point, 14-rebound performance by CU's
Chris Copeland, who shot 6-for-12. He was the only Buffalo to make
at least half his shots on a night in which CU shot 34 percent.
Patton said the slow start -- not the first time it has happened
to the Buffs this season -- could be a sign of a team that got
overconfident due to its 8-4 nonconference record.
"It's got to be mental," he said. "It can't be anything
physical. For some reason ... when we won a few games early, guys
started to believe we were better than we are."