The Nebraska Cornhuskers battled back from a 19-point second half deficit but came up short as New Mexico held on down the stretch to earn an 83-71 win over the Huskers in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.
The Huskers finish the season 18-13, not bad for the shortest team in Division I basketball. Back to back post-season trips for the Huskers in two of Doc Sadler’s first three seasons is a good start, and the program appears to be heading in the right direction.
The 83 points allowed by the Huskers is the most any team has scored on them this season, the previous high was 77. Sek Henry finished with 13, Steve Harley 11. Ade Dagundaro, hampered by a sore leg just 2 of 13 shooting he finished with 8 points.
New Mexico shot 59% (13-of-22) from the field in the second period, moving ahead 59-38 on Phillip McDonald’s 3-pointer at the 14:38 mark. The Lobos used a 16-3 run to open the second frame, keyed by three McDonald treys in the first five minutes after intermission.
Trailing 58-39, Henry scored a traditional three-point play with 13:06 remaining. He then scored seven straight points for NU, pulling the Huskers back within 12 points, 58-46, at the 12 minute mark. After UNM extended the lead back to 14, Chris Balham had a putback dunk and Brandon Richardson drained a 3-pointer to get the Huskers back in striking distance.
The Huskers finally cut the UNM advantage back to seven points in the final two minutes and had a chance to get it back to a four-point deficit but Ryan Anderson’s 3-pointer rimmed around and out with 1:32 to play. New Mexico then hit 7-of-8 free throws in the final minute to seal the victory.