Published Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 2:16 pm / Updated at 1:02 am
Husker men fall in Charleston Classic opener

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Nebraska coach Tim Miles’ three main fears about his basketball team all played a part in Thursday’s 96-90 loss to Massachusetts in the first round of the Charleston Classic.

Still, the Huskers had the ball with 25 seconds left and a chance to tie before falling to the Minutemen, who are 4-0 and receiving votes in both polls.

“I commend our guys for fighting back,’’ Miles said. Yet there were three things NU (3-1) couldn’t overcome in front of about 1,000 fans at TD Arena, including a boisterous bunch of 200 dressed in red.

The first: lack of depth.

The Huskers, with a rotation of nine scholarship players, couldn’t hold up after three of them fouled out, and three others were whistled for four fouls.
The officiating crew called 61 fouls, which led to 82 free throws.

“We’ve got to adjust to the way the fouls are being called,’’ said NU wing Terran Petteway, who scored a career high 28 points in 29 minutes. He picked up his fourth foul with 16:22 left, and fouled out with 2:30 to go.

“Once UMass got us in the bonus,’’ Petteway said, “they knew the refs were going to call fouls, and they just put their heads down and went to the hole. What was it, 15 minutes left when they got to the bonus?’’

It was with 14:57 to play. The double bonus started at 9:30.

The second problem for Nebraska: shaky interior defense due to lack of size.

The Huskers turned UMass two-time all-conference point guard Chaz Williams into a nonfactor, holding him to 3 of 7 shooting with as many turnovers (three) as assists.

“We did a good job on Chaz, but it left us vulnerable inside,’’ Miles said. “I thought we could get that under control. I was wrong.’’

Massachusetts got a combined 44 points and 22 rebounds from 6-foot-10, 250-pound Cady Lalanne; 6-8, 220-pound Sampson Carter; and 6-8, 215-pound Maxie Esho — all third- or fourth-year players with noticeably cut physiques.

“We didn’t get enough rebounds to end defensive possessions,’’ Miles said. “We forced them into some tough shots, but we weren’t physical enough to end the possession.

“And then in managing foul trouble, we could never get a big enough lineup to get those defensive stops.’’

Miles’ third worry: inexperience, with seven scholarship newcomers.

It showed at the start of both halves. Massachusetts outscored Nebraska 11-3 to start the game and 11-4 to start the second half.

“They were more aggressive,’’ Miles said. “We were a little slow to it. They are a veteran team and took advantage of us. Consider it a lesson learned.’’

Still, after using makeshift lineups throughout the game, Nebraska rallied from a 78-65 deficit with 9:30 to go to close to 89-87 on two free throws from Tai Webster with 1:39 to go.

Then, with the clock ticking inside 30 seconds and the Huskers trailing 93-90, they forced a turnover. Instead of shooting a 3, they went inside to David Rivers, whose layup curled in and out with 20 seconds left.

Nebraska trailed by double digits four times in the second half, but Massachusetts couldn’t put the Huskers away.

“We had an opportunity to, but they weren’t going to go away,’’ UMass coach Derek Kellogg said. “We had a couple of bad turnovers that let them back in the game.

“And Coach Miles has instilled his demeanor and toughness in those guys. When you are building a program, you want guys who aren’t going to quit, and Nebraska has got them.’’

At courtside, it was easy to hear the Minutemen trash-talking and crowing while on runs. Petteway said he enjoyed quieting them down.

“They did all their talking and yelling when they got big leads,’’ he said. “So every huddle, we talked about sticking together. We hung in and came back, but couldn’t quite get over the hump.

“If they hadn’t been in the bonus so early, I think we would have pulled it out.’’

Nebraska will play UAB in the second round Friday, with tipoff at 11 a.m. CST. The Blazers lost to No. 19 New Mexico 97-94 in double overtime.

“We’re going to have to pick ourselves up,’’ Miles said. “There’s no time for a pity party in a tournament like this. You’ve got to find a way to be at your best.’’

Contact the writer: Lee Barfknecht    |   402-444-1024    |  

Lee Barfknecht has won nine national writing awards from four separate organizations, and is a 12-time winner of the Nebraska sportswriter of the year award. He covers Big Ten football and basketball, Nebraska basketball and other college financial issues for The World-Herald.

Read more related stories


< >
2013 college football preview
View our 2013 college football preview, a 26-page, three-part section filled with coverage of the Huskers, Big Ten conference and more.
Big Red Bowl Retrospective
See complete historical results, game recaps and photo coverage from the Nebraska Cornhuskers college football bowl game appearances, from the 1941 Rose Bowl up to today.
Big Ten football recruits
The World-Herald's Big Ten recruiting database contains every football recruit that signed with a Big Ten school from 2002 to 2011, complete with color-coded interactive map representations, player information, high-concentrations recruiting clusters and more.
Devaney Center timeline
Check out a World-Herald timeline to see the evolution of memorable moments at the Devaney Center, complete with photos, videos, memorable quotes and more.
Follow OWHbigred on Twitter
Looking for the latest Husker sports news from The Omaha World-Herald and Follow us on Twitter!
Husker scholarship distribution chart
Want to see how many scholarships NU has invested at each position? Wondering how the Huskers have appropriated their offers by class? Check out our handy chart to look further into how Bo Pelini has built his team.
Husker Signing Day 2013
The World-Herald's top-notch coverage of the Nebraska football's class of 2013, complete with videos, photos, articles, live recruit interviews, interactive components and more.
Husker turnovers: A slippery slope
Bo Pelini has coached 68 games at Nebraska. When NUís turnover margin is positive or even, the Huskers are 35-2. When they lose the turnover battle, theyíre 13-18. Why hasnít Nebraska joined the nationís elite? More than anything, itís turnovers.
Interactive: Bo Pelini's contract
View an interactive PDF of Pelini's revised contract signed by the NU football coach, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Darin Erstad's contract (2012)
View an interactive PDF of NU baseball coach Darin Erstad's contract released in August 2012, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Tim Miles' contract
View an interactive PDF of Tim Miles' contract signed by the Nebraska men's basketball coach on May 4, 2012, complete with brief legal explanations, comparisons to other Big Ten coaches and more.'s Big Ten coverage
Delivering the best news coverage and analysis of the Big Ten Conference, from and other top news outlets from around country.
Husker Recruiting: Changes shrink NU's sphere of influence
For decades, the Great Plains represented fertile recruiting ground for Tom Osborne's football program. Restoring that lost tradition won't be easy.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Tokyo Sushi
$5 for $10 or $10 for $20 toward All-You-Can-Eat Sushi Purchase
Buy Now
< >