Nebraska can’t extinguish Oklahoma’s hot shooting, falls to Sooners in Orlando

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 in 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’ three-point success was the story early as OU made five of its first seven shots from three-point range. Oklahoma, who came into Thursday’s game averaging 5.3 threes a game and shooting 28.8% (21-for-73), made seven of its 12 shots (58.3%) from deep in the first half. OU finished 9-for-20.

Oklahoma’s first 15 points came via the deep ball 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.

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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, 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 scored 8 of the final 10 points in the first half.

Bandoumel and Gary both finished the first half with 11 points while Griesel had six. Griesel also led Nebraska with five rebounds in the half and Nebraska won the first-half rebound battle as a team, 18-9. The Huskers also made eight of their 13 free throws in the first half.

However, NU’s strong finish didn’t carry over. Nebraska started the second half 0-for-5 from deep and 3-for-11 from the field. Nebraska’s offense was virtually non-existent for most of the second half and the Huskers shot 9-for-26 from the field. NU also finished the second half 1-for-9 from deep and went through a 6:21-long scoring drought.

NU broke out of the slump with points on four straight possessions but it was too little, too late. Nebraska trailed by a dozen, 63-51, with less than three minutes left. The Sooners then extended their lead to 16 – their biggest of the day – and made eight of their final 10 shots, securing their first win of the season over a Power Five opponent.

Tanner Groves led Oklahoma with 17 points while Jacob Groves finished with 16. Bandoumel finished with 13 in the loss, while Gary led NU with 16. Nebraska will face either Memphis or Seton Hall on Friday and will close out the ESPN Events Invitational on Sunday.

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