Nebraska 68

(8-4, 2-0 Big 12)

Colorado 61

(8-5, 0-2 Big 12)

    9:00 PM ET, January 12, 2005

    Coors Events Center, Boulder, Colorado

    1 2 T
    NEB 37 3168
    COLO 21 4061

    Top Performers

    Nebraska: J. McCray 21 Pts, 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

    Colorado: C. Copeland 22 Pts, 14 Reb, 1 Stl, 3 Blk

    Nebraska 68, Colorado 61

    BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- With a big lead slipping away, Nebraska freshman Joe McCray made the biggest shot of his short career Wednesday night.

    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 3-point range.

    "It feels good," McCray said. "We're trying to get to the next level."

    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 thinner.

    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."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 68 61
    FG Made-Attempted 26-59 (.441) 18-52 (.346)
    3P Made-Attempted 5-16 (.313) 6-23 (.261)
    FT Made-Attempted 11-22 (.500) 19-26 (.731)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 20 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 18 4

    2004-05 Season

    » Jan 12, 2005 NEB 68, @COLO 61Recap
    Mar 2, 2005 @NEB 70, COLO 55Recap