Sooners Drop Heartbreaker to 'Huskers

NORMAN, Okla. -- Everyone in the arena, OU and Nebraska faithful alike, except for the officials, thought guard Cade Davis' shot with five ticks left was a 3-pointer and the teams were headed to overtime.

"I thought it was 3, obviously, because if it wasn't we would have fouled," said OU head coach Jeff Capel. "I think everyone thought it was 3, for us. Nebraska even thought it was 3."

"I thought it was a 3-pointer, I did," said Nebraska head coach Doc Sadler. "I thought it was a 3."

Not so.

After NU streaked down the court and tossed up an apparent off-target buzzer beater heave, officials went to the monitor to check Davis' feet.

His right toe was, indeed, just on the line, and instead of a tie and extra period, the Cornhuskers snuck out of the Lloyd Noble Center Wednesday night with a nail-biting 59-58 victory.

"I felt that I knew where I was on the floor," Davis said. "I just automatically assumed it was a three, and it seemed that way because I had to fade back because the guy had a hand in my face."

A tough way to go out, especially after the Sooners appeared to have come back from a four-point deficit in the final 23 seconds.

"We knew coming in that they would keep it close," Davis said. "I don't think they've lost a game this year but one by double digits."

But they hadn't won a game on the road all year, either.

This time was different in a game in which neither time led by more than six.

Teams exchanged blows from the get-go, as the Sooners and Huskers traded the lead eight times and were tied thrice in the first 20 minutes.

"I thought we had opportunities around the basket that we didn't finish," Capel said. "Was it their size and their length that bothered us? I don't know."

Despite that, OU still had the narrow edge at intermission with a 27-26 advantage.

NU then scored the first three points after halftime to recapture the lead at 30-27.

But the ‘Huskers couldn't extend it, as the Sooners battled back to take leads of 33-32 and 47-46.

That's when NU looked like it would take control, scoring seven straight points to build its largest lead of the contest at 53-47.

Guard Steven Pledger, though, willed the Sooners back with three free throws and a trifecta moments later that notched things up.

"I didn't think Steve had a particularly good game, [but] I thought he had a good stretch right there," Capel said.

From there, although OU never led again, it was a fight to the finish.

And Nebraska just had the upper hand and was the beneficiary of some good fortune.

Forward Andrew Fitzgerald led the Sooners with 15 points on 7-for-15 shooting, while Davis had 13 and Pledger added 11.

Nebraska center Jorge Brian Diaz, who was engaged in a paint battle with Fitzgerald, led all scorers with 17.

"He's a good player," Fitzgerald said. "Even though there was a height difference, I gave it my all trying to stick to him and he gave his all trying to stick to me. But it was a good battle down there."

Guards Toney McCray and Caleb Walker also finished in double figures for the ‘Huskers, with 12 and 10, respectively.

OU drops to 4-7 in the conference and 12-13 overall with a 3 p.m. Saturday contest looming in the future at Kansas State.

Follow me at twitter.com/joeyhelmer10 or facebook.com/joeyhelmer.


Sooners Illustrated Top Stories