MBB: Huskers over Miami 82-67

Nebraska used a strong defensive stand and a 13-0 run keyed by a pair of Marcus Perry 3-pointers to break open a tight affair as the Huskers ran to an 82-67 victory over Miami Saturday afternoon in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic at the BankAtlantic Center.

Perry finished the game with a career-high 25 points, nearly twice his previous scoring best, and paced four Huskers in double figures. His strong shooting from outside helped the Huskers improve to 9-3 on the season and even their record at 3-3 away from the Devaney Center this season.

With Nebraska leading by a point, 53-52, Perry hit a 3-pointer at the 10:29 mark to put the Huskers up by four. Jimmy Graham pulled Miami within two with 10:09 to play, but Perry dropped in another long bomb just 20 seconds later to push the Huskers' lead to five, 59-54. Junior center Aleks Maric added a pair of free throws and Perry and Paul Velander added 3-pointers less than a minute apart to push the Husker advantage to 13 points, 67-54, with 6:21 to play.

The Husker run came as NU clamped down on defense and smothered the Hurricanes. Following Graham's bucket, Miami was unable to connect again from the field until Denis Clemente hit a jumper with 2:38 to play, a span of 7:31 that included five missed shots and four turnovers.

By that point, the Huskers had already built a double-digit cushion as it limited UM to just four free throws during the run. Nebraska, which earned a 29-24 lead on the glass, hit 21-of-26 (80.8 percent) from the foul line while Miami got to the stripe just 12 times, making eight.

The Huskers' advantage was impressive in the second half as Maric continually got to the line after being fouled in the paint. He finished the game hitting 10-of-12 from the stripe, including 7-of-8 in the second period. Nebraska hit 17-of-21 attempts from the line after the break while UM connected on 6-of-9.

Despite the Huskers' strong defensive performance late in the second half, Miami still managed to outshoot Nebraska as the Hurricanes hit 50.9 percent (27-of-53) from the field. The Huskers hit 48.9 percent (23-of-47) from the floor, but it was the hot long-range touch of Perry and the Husker guards that made the difference.

Nebraska -- which was playing without its top 3-point shooter in freshman Ryan Anderson who sat out with a lower leg strain -- hit a season-high 15 3-pointers in the contest, including seven by Perry. The senior from Anniston, Ala., came within one of tying the school record, as he was only the fifth player in school history with at least seven 3-pointers in a game, although he was not the first this season. Two games ago, Anderson also had seven treys against Hawaii to tie the NU freshman record.

Perry connected on three treys in the first half and added four in the second period, including two in the crucial run. He was joined in double figures by Maric, who had 18 points and a game-high eight rebounds, while Jamel White added 10 points. Velander, a sophomore walk-on, tied his career high with 12 points, all on 3-pointers, as the second player alongside Perry to come off the bench and produce double figures.

Perry scored 11 points in the first period to tie his previous season high and had eight of the Huskers' final nine points in the 3:25 before intermission. Perry hit his final trey with :02 left in the period, giving Nebraska a two-point edge, 38-36, going into the locker room. Nebraska hit 8-of-19 from long range in the first frame, while connecting on 5-of-8 inside the arc as Miami limited NU's touches in the paint.

The Huskers jumped to a quick 11-5 lead behind 3-pointers from Charles Richardson Jr. and White before the Hurricanes started to gain momentum. UM held the Huskers to just two baskets over the next 7:28 and pulled even for the third time in the game on Brian Asbury's conventional three-point play that knotted the score at 20-20 with 8:17 left in the half.

Asbury then gave Miami its first lead of the game, 26-25, at the 5:44 mark. The Hurricanes pushed the lead to four points twice before Perry put NU back on top at the end of the half and Nebraska never trailed in the second period.

Asbury led Miami, which fell to 7-7 on the year, as he scored 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting while Graham added 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the paint.

Nebraska returns to the floor on Wednesday, Jan. 3, for its first game of the new year and only its second home game since Nov. 29. The Huskers will take on Savannah State at the Devaney Center at 7 p.m. and follow with another holiday break game on Saturday, Jan. 6 against Western Kentucky.

Tickets for both games at the Devaney Center are still available at the NU Athletic Ticket Office, including floor-level seats in the Red Zone for $15. Purchase tickets on Huskers.com or by visiting or calling the ticket office at 1-800-8BIGRED.

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