Huskers Advance at Big 12 Championship

Dallas -- Nebraska used strong efforts from senior Jason Dourisseau and sophomore Aleks Maric to spark the Huskers to a 71-64 victory over Missouri in the opening round of the Big 12 Championship on Thursday night at the American Airlines Center.

Dourisseau, a senior from Omaha, scored a season-high 20 points, including connecting on 8-of-12 field goal attempts, while Maric added 19 points and eight rebounds. Maric hit 7-of-10 field goal attempts on the night.

 

After having a comfortable lead for the majority of the contest, Nebraska (18-12) responded after Missouri rallied to take the lead late in the second half. Missouri used a 9-0 run to take a 58-57 lead with 6:41 to play, marking Nebraska's first deficit since trailing 11-9 early in the game. However, Nebraska responded behind the play of Maric and Dourisseau who scored the Huskers' next seven points.

 

After Mizzou knotted the contest at 64-all, Nebraska scored the game's final seven points to pull out the victory. Freshman guard Jamel White delivered the biggest shot of the game, hitting a 3-pointer from the left wing with the shot clock about to expire to give Nebraska a 67-64 lead with 1:17 remaining. White was the third Husker in double figures, finishing the night with 12 points. Dourisseau then solidified the Husker lead with a convential three-point play with 24 seconds left to give the Huskers a 70-64 edge.

 

The win ended a seven-game Nebraska losing streak in Big 12 Championship action, dating back to an opening round victory over Texas Tech in 1999. The victory was Head Coach Barry Collier's first in conference tournament action at Nebraska. The win also marked Nebraska's second in 10 tries against the Tigers in conference tournament action and first in four attempts against Missouri since the inception of the Big 12 Conference.

 

Nebraska had taken command of the game midway through the first half, as the Huskers twice opened up 12-point advantages. The Huskers trailed 11-9 with 13:55 remaining in the opening half, but went on an 18-4 run over the next nine minutes to move in front 27-15. Marcus Perry keyed the surge with a pair of 3-pointers. Nebraska again took a 12-point lead at 30-18 on a White trey with 3:20 left before intermission, but Missouri closed the gap to six points at 34-28 at the half.

 

Dourisseau supplied the early offense for Nebraska by hitting his first four shots of the night, helping the Huskers connect on six of their first eight shots of the night. Dourisseau finished the first half with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting as the Huskers hit 52 percent as a team in the first half. Nebraska also took care of the ball in the opening half, committing just four turnovers, while dishing out 12 assists as a team, led by four by junior Charles Richardson Jr.

 

Nebraska finished the game by hitting 50 percent (25-of-50) from the floor, improving to 6-0 when hitting 50 percent or better. The Huskers also dished out 21 assists for the game, while committing just nine turnovers, tying its fewest this season against a Big 12 opponent. Dourisseau was also a key factor on the defensive end, holding the Tigers' top scorer Thomas Gardner to 13 points on 3-of-12 shooting.

 

Nebraska advances to play third-seeded Oklahoma in Friday's final quarterfinal of the Big 12 Championship at 8:20 p.m. Nebraska defeated Oklahoma 59-58 in Lincoln on Jan. 7 in the Big 12 opener for both teams.

 

Nebraska is 3-3 all-time against Oklahoma in Big Eight/Big 12 Championship action, but the two schools have met just once in the postseason since 1994, as OU defeated Nebraska in the opening round of the 2004 Big 12 Championship.

 

Nebraska Notes

  • The victory was Nebraska's 18th of the season, tying for the most in six seasons under Barry Collier. The Huskers also won 18 games in 2003-04.
  • Nebraska posted two victories over Missouri this season, marking the first time Nebraska has defeated Missouri twice in one season since sweeping the Tigers in two matchups in the 1992-93 campaign.
  • Jason Dourisseau set a season high and his third career contest with at least 20 points, as he hit 8-of-12 from the field while scoring a game-high 20 points.
  • Nebraska committed just nine turnovers in the game, including four in the first half. The nine miscues tied Nebraska's season low against a Big 12 opponent.

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