Nebraska Upsets No. 22 Oklahoma 69-63

Dallas -- Freshman guard Jamel White scored 22 points, including nine straight in the final 2:16 of the game to lead Nebraska to a 69-63 victory over 22nd-ranked Oklahoma on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at American Airlines Center.

The clutch play of White and fellow freshman guard Marcus Walker, who scored six points in the final 4:35 of the game, offset a barrage of 3-point shots from the third-seeded Sooners.

With the victory, Nebraska (19-12) advances to Saturday afternoon's second semifinal against against 17th-ranked Kansas at 3:20 p.m. Top-seeded Texas and No. 4 seed Texas A&M will meet in Saturday's first semifinal contest.

Nebraska responded down the stretch after OU's Austin Johnson connected on his fourth 3-pointer of the game with 6:24 left to give the Sooners a 49-48 lead. The lead then changed hands four times before a pair of Charles Richardson Jr. free throws with 3:15 to play gave Nebraska the lead for good at 56-55.

After that point, the Husker freshmen guards combined to score Nebraska's final 13 points to pull out the victory. Walker hit a jumper with 2:41 to play to push NU's lead to 58-55, before White delivered Nebraska's next nine points. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native connected on three of four free throws to give NU a 61-56 advantage. OU countered with a pair of buckets to slice the lead to one point at 61-60 with 1:04 to play. White again delivered in the clutch hitting a jump shot with 42 seconds to play, followed by four free throws in the next 24 seconds to push the lead to 67-61 and secure the victory.

The Sooners made life difficult for Nebraska by connecting on 11-of-24 3-pointers in the contest. The Huskers did an outstanding job on the Sooners' interior attack limiting Kevin Bookout to 10 points and Taj Gray to nine points. Oklahoma connected on just 12-of-34 field goals from inside the arc.

After trailing 27-23 at halftime, Nebraska set the tone for the remainder of the contest by scoring the first six points of the second half. White began his 18-point second half by scoring nine points in the first eight minutes after half. NU led 34-33 with 15:42 to play after a Wes Wilkinson 3-pointer, but OU used a 9-2 run behind a trio of 3-pointers to take a 42-36 advantage with 13:04 left. However, Nebraska quickly rallied to set the stage for the Huskers' final push of the game.

The first half was a back-and-forth affair. Nebraska opened the game by putting up the game's first seven points, before the Sooners got on the scoreboard with 16:30 to play in the first half, starting an 8-0 run to put OU ahead 8-7 at the 13:19 mark.

Nebraska countered with the game's next six points to move to a five-point lead at 13-8 with 8:51 to play before halftime. The Sooners then relied on its perimeter game for the remainder of the opening half, connecting on five 3-pointers in the final 8 1/2 minutes of the first half to forge a 27-23 halftime edge. The Huskers' got their offense in the first half from Marcus Perry who connected on a pair of treys to keep Nebraska close at intermission.

The Huskers hit just 38.1 percent from the floor in the first half, with the Sooners hitting 44 percent, including 5-of-9 from beyond the arc.

In addition to White's 22 points, three Huskers finished with 10 points, including Walker, Wilkinson and senior Jason Dourisseau.

BOX SCORE

Nebraska postgame quotes

COACH BARRY COLLIER: I thought our team played really tough-minded and was a hard-fought game and I thought it just kind of came down to some key plays. But those key plays were sprinkled throughout the game really.

We looked at so much in the last minute of these games, but there was effort throughout. I thought our defense was different but it was good. And on the night, I am just so proud of this team because they want to keep playing.

Q. How does it feel to be the first Nebraska team to be in the Semifinals since 1998?

JASON DOURISSEAU: It feels great. I mean, we worked so hard for it and we have been through a lot of adversity this year with our local media and everything. It just feels great to get to this point, but we're not satisfied yet. That's one thing we're going to talk about tonight, we have got another one tomorrow. We're going to get ready to play.

Q. Talk about the two freshman scoring the final 13 points of the game?

JASON DOURISSEAU: That was huge. They grew up today. Marcus Walker and Jamel, they have been playing good all year. This was a big game, on a big stage, and they both stepped up huge when we needed them to.

Q. What do you remember from the first two meetings with Kansas this year?

JASON DOURISSEAU: First one was a nightmare. The second one, you know, we -- I think the game was closer than the score indicated, but they made a lot of key plays at key times in the game and they forced a lot of turnovers, so they are a good team. They are young, but they are extremely talented and we have another challenge ahead of us tomorrow.

Q. Talk about coming in here losing some games and finding this, did you see this coming at all? You guys have been struggling down the stretch. What was it that kind of turned things around for you the last couple of days? Did you see this at all during the losing streak?

MARCUS WALKER: Yes, throughout the season we have been having a lot of ups and downs. A lot of situations occurred in Lincoln. With coming into this game, winning yesterday's game, gave us a lot of confidence. And with us being able to beat them at Lincoln, gave us that extra confidence coming into this game.

So I think everybody surrounding us in this circle knew we could win just capitalizing on our mistakes and ran our offense right and make sure we do what the little things that makes us win, like hustling, diving on balls and getting rebounds.

Q. Oklahoma has made of living out of winning 1-point games this year. But you guys beat them earlier by one point. Did that game give you confidence going into tonight?

JASON DOURISSEAU: No doubt. We watched film from that game today at our meal and we know what it takes to beat a team like that. You got to play tough, you got to battle them on the glass. You got to battle them, possession, for possession, especially on defense.

Like I said, these two guys to my right, they stepped up and they made play after play today. Our entire team, if you look up and down our roster, we have guys stepping up, like Coach said, throughout the game. It was truly a team effort today.

Q. Can you talk about Michael Neal, the job you guys did on him, no shots in the first half.

COACH BARRY COLLIER: I thought that our guys' effort in this game on Neal was a real key because we felt as their leading scorer in the Big 12 games this season, that he was a difference maker and we wanted to try to limit the number of shots that he got and certainly pressure the ones that he did.

For him to have zero shots in the first half wasn't necessarily a requirement, but it sure was a plus. In our -- in their defense or standing up for them, I thought that they made good decisions not to force it down over to him and make him shoot it or that type of thing and they had some other guys knocking down 3s. I think three different guys scored 3-pointers in the first half. So we had to pay for a little bit for the defense.

But our problem in the first half was our offense in that that was a sure lot better in the second.

Q. You got a lot of defenses in your repertoire. Was it a little different scheme? Did you guys just draw this one up for this game?

COACH BARRY COLLIER: Not really. It's one of the things we have used. Probably use it again at some point so I don't really want to talk a whole lot about it. But we played different defenses tonight. That wasn't the only defense as well.

Q. Talk about what this meant to you tonight, your coaches had a little group hug there with about 4 seconds left, you could tell what it meant to them. Talk about KU and the struggles you had with them this year, what it's going to take this time?

COACH BARRY COLLIER: Well, I think that we're really excited at our team -- our team played hard throughout the game and made plays throughout the game. Aleks really struggled early but he was a big help as the game went on. We had so many other players got in this game and helped us, just the two freshman had been gaining great experience this year and -- through necessity, but also because of ability, they have been in ball games.

As far as Kansas is concerned, Jason said -- I think he said the first game was a nightmare, second game was at least a bad dream. They have had their way with us and they have been a very good team. Had them all over my ballot for post-season honors, and it is a tough, tough matchup. But it's a 40-minute game and it is a new game so we'll certainly be here tomorrow.

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Nebraska Notes

Nebraska's victory marked the Huskers' second of the season against Oklahoma after also defeating the Sooners, 59-58, on Jan. 7 in Lincoln. This marks the first time Nebraska has defeated Oklahoma twice in the same season since sweeping three games from OU in 1990-91. The 1990-91 sweep included a quarterfinal victory over the Sooners in the Big Eight Tournament.

Senior Jason Dourisseau recorded his third double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds, two off his season-high of 12 rebounds. Dourisseau previously recorded double-doubles at Colorado and against Baylor. It marked Dourisseau's sixth double-figure rebounding game of the season.

Dourisseau has now had at least six rebounds in each of Nebraska's past eight games, including nine rebounds or more in five of those games.

Nebraska's 19 victories are the Huskers' most under sixth-year head coach Barry Collier and NU's most since posting a 20-13 record in 1998-99.

Nebraska advanced to the semifinals of the Big 12 Championship for the first time since the 1997-98 season, when Nebraska met Kansas in the semifinals.

Tonight's victory was Nebraska's second of the season against a ranked opponents (both vs. Oklahoma) and the eighth of Collier's career at Nebraska.


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