Huskers Grab Season-Opening Win

The Nebraska basketball team opened up their regular season, beating Longwood in the first game of the John Thompson Foundation Classic 80-65. Sophomore center Aleks Maric scored a double-double, leading his team to the win.

Sophomore center Aleks Maric posted his fourth career double-double and the Huskers' newcomers combined for 30 points in their debut to help Nebraska roll to an 80-65 win over Longwood in the season opener for both teams and the first game of the John Thompson Foundation Classic at the Bob Devaney SportsCenter Friday. The win marked the 25th consecutive victory in a Huskers' home opener, as well as the 17th win in the last 19 season openers.

Maric led NU (1-0) with 10 rebounds and was one of three Huskers to pour in 14 points. Sophomore guard Joe McCray added 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range, while freshman Jamel White also added 14 points. Fellow freshman Marcus Walker scored seven points, while recording a team-high five assists.

NU Head Coach Barry Collier, who has led the Huskers to five consecutive season-opening victories as coach, was pleased with Nebraska's effort as the game progressed.

"I thought we were making improvements as a team," Collier said. "We did better in the second half on defense on the perimeter. As the game went on, we dominated in rebounds and had good shooting across the board and we were able to get the win."

NU dominated the glass, outreboudning Longwood 45-32 and shot exactly 50 percent from the field in each half and 47 percent from 3-point range, while the Lancers made just 24-of-61 shots from the field.

The Huskers started out on a strong note, using a 12-3 run to take a 15-8 lead with 13:36 left in the first half. Senior walk-on Bronsen Schliep, who was making just his second career start, began the run with a dunk, and following a McCray 3-pointer, senior forward Jason Dourisseau followed with an alley-oop dunk off an assist from Marcus Walker. Dourisseau finished just shy of his second career double-double with 13 points and nine boards.

Longwood chipped into the lead and pulled within one, 18-17, before junior forward B.J. Walker jump started the Huskers. Walker took a defensive rebound away from three Lancers, and on the other end of the court made an aggressive move on the offensive board to set up Aleks Maric's basket to give NU a 22-17 lead. White then took an offensive charge on the other end and B.J. Walker hit a jumper for a quick 7-0 run.

Bryan Butler started a Longwood comeback as he drained consecutive 3-pointers to bring LU within one, 24-23, and and Dana Smith's 3-pointer at the 3:41 mark gave Longwood a three-point lead at 29-26. But Maric started a 15-3 run that included five points by Dourisseau and a McCray 3-pointer to ignite the Huskers to a 41-32 lead at halftime. Longwood kept it close for most of the first half with superb outside shooting, finishing 8-of-15 from behind the arc in the first period.

Nebraska held Longwood's top returning scorer, Michael Jefferson, without a point until he hit a driving layup at the 15:35 mark of the second frame. By that point, the Huskers had control and opened a 54-39 lead as they hit five of their first seven shots after the break.

The Huskers led 61-51 following a Husein Pistoljevic 3-point basket with 10:34 remaining before NU went on an 18-7 run to pull away. During that stretch, White poured in nine of his 14 points and capped the run with a perfectly executed alley-oop pass to fellow freshman Kyle Marks, who slammed home an emphatic jam that sent the crowd into a frenzy.

Nebraska next plays Saturday at 3:30 p.m. against Yale in the second day of the John Thompson Foundation Classic.

Box score
Nebraska-Longwood Postgame Quotes
Nebraska-Longwood Postgame Notes

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