MBB: Huskers Run Past Buffaloes

Senior Wes Wilkinson and sophomore Aleks Maric each posted a double-double and the Huskers used a superb first-half defensive effort to build a 20-point halftime en route to a 93-77 win over Colorado Wednesday night at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

Nebraska (17-9, 7-6 Big 12) led by double figures for most of the game, leading by as many as 29 in the second half. The victory propelled the Huskers into a tie for fourth place in the Big 12 Conference standings, along with Colorado (17-7, 7-6) and Texas A&M, who will play host to the Huskers this weekend.

Five Huskers totaled double figures against the Buffs, including Wilkinson's 17 and Maric's 13. Freshman Jamel White also added 17 points, while senior Jason Dourisseau scored 13 and junior Charles Richardson Jr. added 12. On the glass, Maric and Wilkinson each pulled down 13 boards to help Nebraska  earn a 51-30 rebounding edge, its second-highest rebound margin of the season. 

Nebraska built a 20-point halftime lead behind an efficient offense and a stifling defense. NU's defense limited Colorado to 24 percent shooting (7-of-29) in the period as the Buffaloes hit only three of their first 20 shots. CU connected on just two field goals in an 11:39 span, including going more than six minutes without a field goal.

CU star Richard Roby, who scored 30 points in the first teams' first meeting, did not score a point in the first half and was limited to just three shots and two rebounds in 15 minutes. Roby finished the game with seven points on 2-of-11 shooting, including 0-of-9 from beyond the arc. It was his lowest scoring output in conference play this season.

With the defense running on all cylinders, Nebraska rattled off runs of 9-0, 12-0 and 7-0 to control the first half. The Huskers shot 54 percent from the field (13-of-24) and 12-of-14 at the free throw line as eight different players scored in the opening frame.

Both teams traded baskets early before Nebraska broke a 4-all tie with a 9-0 run to take a 13-4 lead six minutes into the game. The Huskers hit 4-of-6 shots during the run, including a 3-pointer by Richardson. On the defensive end, NU held Colorado scoreless for a stretch of 4:38, allowing the Huskers to build their nine-point advantage.

Nebraska then went into a cold spell of its own, going 5:21 without a field goal. The Huskers managed to maintain their lead though, as Colorado scored just three points during the stretch.

NU ended its drought when Wilkinson converted a traditional three-point play, which helped spark a 12-0 Husker run. Following a Buffalo turnover, junior Marcus Perry nailed a 3-pointer and sophomore Aleks Maric added a bucket to give Nebraska a 22-7 lead. Perry drained another trey to cap the run and put the Huskers up by 19.

Colorado closed the gap to 11 before Nebraska answered with a 7-0 run to build a 37-19 cushion. NU added four free throws and a Marcus Walker jumper in the final minute of the half to take a 43-23 lead into the locker room.

Nebraska did not let up after halftime as consecutive 3-pointers from White and Wilkinson gave Nebraska a 51-27 advantage 3:15 into the second half. Another 3-pointer from White and a layup from Maric capped an 8-2 Husker run that put NU up 56-29.

The freshman combination of White and Walker then nailed back-to-back treys that gave Nebraska its largest lead of the game at 29 points.

Following the second media timeout of the half, Colorado used a full-court press to try to get back in the game. The Buffaloes forced four turnovers and hit five consecutive shots for a quick 11-0 spurt in a span of 1:14 to cut the Husker lead to 64-47.

Colorado never closed within single digits as Nebraska raced to its largest margin of victory in league play. The Huskers' 93 points were the second-highest point total of the season and also the most points NU has scored in a regulation conference game since 2002.

The Huskers are on the road this weekend, traveling to College Station , Texas , for a 3 p.m. contest with the Texas A&M Aggies. The game will be heard on the Pinnacle Sports Network and can be seen regionally on ESPN+.

Nebraska Postgame Notes

Nebraska improved to 17-9 on the season and 7-6 in the Big 12 Conference with the victory. Nebraska now sits in a three-way tie for fourth place in the league standings, along with Colorado and Texas A&M.

• Nebraska scored its most points in a Big 12 Conference game since posting a 95-85 double-overtime victory over Kansas State to open league play in the 2005 conference slate (Jan. 8, 2005). It is the most points against a conference team in regulation since a 99-82 victory over Kansas State on Feb. 9, 2002.

• The Huskers recorded 43 points in the opening period while holding a 20-point advantage at the break. It was their most points in the first period in conference play, topping the 35 points against No. 6 Texas and Iowa State, with both games on the road.

Nebraska held the Buffaloes to 24.1 percent shooting in the first half, the lowest percentage for a half since holding Baylor to 20.8 percent (5-of-24) in the second half on Feb. 4. Overall, it was the third-lowest percentage the Huskers have allowed in conference play (also 21.1 percent in second half against Kansas State on the road). CU finished the hitting 35.6 percent from the floor overall, including 43.2 percent in the second period.

• When the Huskers and Buffaloes met in Boulder earlier this season, CU hit just 29.0 percent from the field on its home court in the opening frame before connecting on 65.5 percent in the second period.

• Charles Richardson Jr. scored 10 points in the opening period and finished with 12 points, his second double-figure scoring game of the season and the third of his career. Richardson's first double-figure scoring game of his career game against Colorado in Lincoln last year, when he scored 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting. He also scored a career-high 15 points in an upset of No. 12/13 Oklahoma in the 2006 conference opener.

• Marcus Walker hit a 3-pointer just under eight minutes into the second half, snapping a streak of 13 straight misses dating back nine games. The last time he hit a 3-pointer was against Colorado in Boulder when he hit his first two and then missed his last attempt. He was 2-of-3 from 3-point range tonight.

Wes Wilkinson recorded 17 points and 13 rebounds for his third double-double of the season and first career double-double in Big 12 Conference play. It was Wilkinson's fourth double-figure rebounding effort of the year.

Nebraska recorded 11 3-pointers, a conference high for the Huskers and the second-most this year. NU recorded a season-best 16 treys against North Carolina A&T in December.

• The Huskers recorded a +21 rebound margin (51-30), its second-highest mark of the year, trailing only the +24 (40-16) it set against Chicago State in December.

Nebraska recorded 93 points, its third game scoring more than 70 points in Big 12 play this season. Both of the other games came against Iowa State. Nebraska improved to 8-2 this year when scoring at least 70 points and is now 8-0 under Coach Barry Collier when scoring at least 90 points.

• Aleks Maric and Wes Wilkinson each recorded double-doubles in the win, marking the second time this season the Huskers had two Huskers post double-doubles in the same game. Maric and Jason Dourisseau each had double-doubles in the win over Baylor earlier this season. It was Maric's team-high ninth double-double of the year and his 10th double-figure rebounding effort.

• Aleks Maric recorded a career-high tying four blocks against Colorado and has 15 blocks in his last five games to lead the Huskers.

Nebraska Coach Barry Collier quotes
Opening statement
"I felt our team played very aggressively. We largely set the tone for how we wanted to play. We rebounded well and Jason (Dourisseau) did a great job defensively guarding Richard Roby, who's a great player. I think they're a very good team. We just had some momentum and a great and enthusiastic crowd. (The first half) was probably as good as I can remember."

On the difference between the first meeting and tonight
"We were scoring more tonight so they weren't on the fast break as much and we were able to get our defense set. Outside of that, we had good pressure on the ball and we did a good job of chasing the shooters and finding the cutters."

On the defensive effort from Jason Dourisseau
"He had a great awareness of where Roby was in transition. He was constantly positioning himself to be in front of him. We had great help defense as well, which is something we didn't have last Saturday, so we worked on that in practice."

Senior guard Jason Dourisseau
On the  game
"It felt great.  It was a total team effort.  We chased off screens and never gave them a good look."

On guarding Richard Roby
"He has a lot of poise and we wanted to contain him and I didn't want to let the ball come to him.  He is a such a good player and you dont want to let him turn it on, because he's great then. I wasn't really concerned about playing offense.  I just wanted to concentrate on him (defensively)."

On the team's approach to the game
"We were completely focused.  We didn't care about scoring, we were worried about containing them.  It was a great team effort."

On approach for next game
"We need to take it one game at a time.  We have to get ready for another one.  It's a whole different team and we have to prepare for that. Joseph Jones is an animal inside and Acie Law is about as good as there is in the league."

Junior guard Charles Richardson Jr.
On his play in the first half
"It felt good.  During shootaround, Jason told me to shoot the ball and I told him to remind me out there on the court because I get so caught up in running the offense."

On the win helping the team's confidence
"It helps us build confidence.  We don't want to overlook Texas A&M.  We want to keep our intensity up.  We don't want what happened after the Iowa State game and into Texas Tech."

On the Huskers' defense
"We were focused on Roby.  We didn't want another Jarrius Jackson (who scored 41 against NU last weekend).  We attacked on defense.  It is as good as we've played since Marquette because we played with a sense of urgency."

Colorado Head Coach Ricardo Patton
On Colorado's struggles in the first half
"We won by four in the second half, but we started out slow and we didn't make shots.  This team can't start out slow and our best shooters have to come out shooting the ball well."

On Colorado's defense
"Our defense allowed us to play better in the second half.  We didn't start out playing well defensively.  Slow starts can kill teams.  I had to kickstart our team at our shootaround today, and the game was a reflection of that."

On defending Nebraska's Wes Wilkinson and Aleks Maric
"(CU forward) Julius Ashby only played 10 minutes.  We continued to get buried by Aleks Maric in the post. We couldn't find an answer for him. That freed up Wes Wilkinson to hit shots, and things went downhill from there."

On the Big 12
"People talk about how the Big 12 is down, but I think that's a mistake.  There's good basketball being played in this conference.  We need to get home and take care of business."

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