Christmas may have been two weeks ago, but the 12th-ranked Oklahoma basketball team was certainly still in the giving mood Saturday in Lincoln.
Oklahoma blew a 10-point second half lead and then a 58-53 lead with 40 seconds to go en route to suffereing a heartbreaking 59-58 loss to Nebraska in the first game of the Big 12 season.
The Sooners had the ball and a 58-56 lead with 23 seconds left, but Terrell Everett's pass was intercepted at halfcourt by Nebraska big man Wes Wilkinson. Wilkinson quickley handed the ball to point guard Charles Richardson, who drove the lane and passed the ball back to a wide open Joe McCray at the top of the key for a 3-point basket that put the Huskers ahead 59-58 with 5.2 secons left.
After a timeout, Oklahoma inbounded the ball to Everett, who made several nifty moves to get down the court but his driving left-handed layup went off the backboard and rimmed out as time expired.
It was a tale of two halves for the Sooners, who shot 48.3 percent in the first half but struggled in the final 20 minutes hitting only 10 buckets on just 24 shots, which was five few than they took in the first half.
Defensively, OU held the Huskers to 38.5 percent shooting from the field, but had several lapses guarding the perimeter, which allowed Nebraska to hit nine 3-pointers.
Kevin Bookout led the way with 14 points. He also added eight rebounds.
Taj Gray grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds, but finished with just eight points and seven shots as the Sooner guards couldn't get the ball to him inside against Nebraska's zone defense.
Everett connected on just 5 of his 15 shots to finish with 11 points. He did add nine assists and two steals, but also turned the ball over six times, including a crucial ill-advised pass that eventually led to Nebraska's game-winning basket.
The Sooners also struggled from 3-point range without the services of junior guardMichael Neal, who sat out the game while nursing several minor injuries. In all, OU was 5-for-19 from beyond the 3-point arc.
With the loss, Oklahoma falls to 0-1 in conference play and 9-3 overall. The Cornhuskers improve to 1-0 in Big 12 action and 11-3 overall.
Oklahoma play Missouri in their Big 12 home opener on Tuesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
OU-Nebraska Box Score
Sooners stunned in Big 12 Opener at Nebraska
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