Nebraska posted a valiant comeback to erase a 15-point second-half deficit, but fell short in an 83-76 loss to Oregon Wednesday night at the Devaney Center.
Trailing 68-53 with 10:31 remaining, Nebraska stormed back behind Jorge Brian Diaz, as the junior center scored eight of his 12 second-half points in a 22-7 spurt to lead the charge. Nebraska kept chipping away at the Ducks’ lead before Bo Spencer’s basket with2:05 remaining tied the score at 75 and brought the Devaney Center crowd to its feet
Diaz, who finished with 21 points, six rebounds and three blocks, blocked Oregon’s next shot to give the Huskers a shot at the lead, but Nebraska could not capitalize. The Huskers were called for an offensive foul on the next possession, giving the Ducks the ball with 1:08 remaining. The Huskers forced a missed 3-pointer by Johnathan Loyd, but E.J. Singler got the offensive rebound and was fouled with 43 seconds left. Singler, who went 7-of-8 from the line as part of a 14-point night, sank both free throws to give Ducks a lead they would not relinquish.
Nebraska had an opportunity to take the lead but Dylan Talley’s missed a 3-pointer on Nebraska’s next possession, and Oregon got the rebound before Garett Sim’s two free throws made it a four-point game. Oregon went 8-for-8 from the foul line in the final minute to snap the Huskers’ 26-game home conference win streak and hand Nebraska just its second home non-conference loss in six seasons under Doc Sadler.
Diaz was one of four Huskers in double figures, as Talley came off the bench for 18 points, including four 3-pointers, while Brandon Ubel had 15 points, including 5-of-7 shooting. Bo Spencer was the fourth Nebraska player in double figures, finishing with 11 points and five assists.
Oregon (3-1) placed four in double figures, led by Sim’s 20-point effort which including 4-of-6 from 3-point range and all eight free throws.
Nebraska used solid long-range shooting to build an early lead, as consecutive 3-pointers from Caleb Walker and Spencer capped an 8-1 spurt to give Nebraska’s largest lead of the night at 19-12. The Ducks fought back, using a 15-2 spurt of its own to take a 27-21 lead after a Sim 3-pointer.
The Huskers quickly regained the momentum with a 9-2 run to regain the lead at 30-29 after Talley’s 3-pointer, as the junior college transfer scored 13 of his points in the opening half for Nebraska. The Huskers eventually built a 36-31 lead, but Oregon used a decisive 14-2 run in the final minutes of the first half to take control and build a seven-point lead at 45-38 and eventually took a four-point lead to the locker room.
Nebraska cut the lead to 47-45 early in the second half, but could not stay out of foul trouble and the Ducks started to pull away. Tony Woods’ jumper gave Oregon a 10-point lead, an advantage they would eventually push to 15 at 68-53 on Tyrone Nared’s 3-pointer with 10:31 left before Nebraska made its late charge.
The Huskers return to action Saturday afternoon, as Nebraska hosts South Dakota State at 1 p.m.