CHARLESTON, S.C. — At least Nebraska’s opponent in the second round of the Charleston Classic will have tired legs.
The Huskers (3-1) will face Alabama-Birmingham, which lost Thursday afternoon to No. 19 New Mexico 97-94 in double overtime. The Blazers (3-1) saw New Mexico hit a 30-footer at the regulation buzzer to tie, and a 20-footer with two seconds left in the first overtime to extend the game.
Don’t look for UAB players to feel sorry for themselves Friday.
“They don’t have that option,” said coach Jerod Haase, a former Kansas player. “I’m not going to give them that option.”
UAB’s Rod Rucker had one of the strangest statistical lines in years. The 6-foot-5 forward missed 19 of 22 shots, but finished with 18 points by hitting 12 of 13 free throws. He also had 20 rebounds and seven assists.
Blazers’ guard Chad Frazier led all scorers with 34 points. Center Fahro Alihodzic, who signed a letter of intent with Nebraska in November 2011, added eight points and eight rebounds. Alihodzic was released from his letter when NU changed coaches from Doc Sadler to Tim Miles.
Moving forward quickly was on Nebraska’s mind, too.
“If we bounce back and play well tomorrow,” Miles said, “the tournament will be a meaningful experience.”
Nebraska’s first-round loss means the best it can finish is fifth.
90 not enough for Huskers
If you were left wondering when Nebraska last scored 90 points, it was justified.
You have to go back 120 games, to 2009 and a 94-61 win over Southern Utah. The last time NU scored 90 and lost? It was in 1998, 105-91 at Texas.
“I didn’t want it to be that high-scoring,” Miles said. “But when we had to come back, we needed quicker possessions and to be on the attack.”
Nebraska’s biggest lead was three points at 21-18. Its final lead was 39-38 with 1:41 to go in the first half.
UMass coach Derek Kellogg said he hoped to use his team’s athleticism, experience and depth to set the tempo against Nebraska.
“We got them playing a little faster than they wanted to,” Kellogg said. “We used our 2-2-1 press. That was really good for us for a stretch.
“But then they used it against us when they went with three guards, so it was a good adjustment by them.”
Start cut short for Gallegos
Nebraska senior guard Ray Gallegos made his first start Thursday, replacing David Rivers, but NU’s top returning scorer couldn’t finish the game.
Gallegos suffered a lateral knee sprain early in the second half, and is questionable for Friday’s second-round game. He played 22 minutes, hit just 1 of 4 shots and had no rebounds or free throws.
“It was unfortunate he got hurt,” Miles said. “We could have used him.”
Bits and pieces
Ľ Nebraska’s Terran Petteway on his 28 points (7 of 19 field goals, 11 of 12 free throws): “It was 28 points with a loss. I’d rather have zero with a win. I never like losing. It hurts.”
Ľ Husker forward Leslee Smith posted his first double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Ľ Scott Howard, a former Husker basketball assistant under Danny Nee, was in attendance. Howard is a scouting director with the Washington Wizards.
Ľ John Higgins of Omaha is one of the officials in the tourney.