No. 5 Oklahoma 78, Nebraska 51

Thursday, January 17th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ Oklahoma's next road game is likely to be a lot more difficult than the fifth-ranked Sooners' trip to Nebraska.

After a slow start, Oklahoma allowed just two points in nearly 13 minutes during a 78-51 victory over the Cornhuskers on Wednesday night, the Sooners' final tuneup before Saturday's showdown at No. 4 Kansas.

``We've had some really good teams in the last three or four years. This team, though, is different,'' Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson said. ``They have a temperament about them I like. They don't get too high and they don't get too low. They've met every challenge they've faced. The one on Saturday will be the biggest.''

The one on Wednesday certainly wasn't, at least in the final 25 minutes.

The Sooners held Nebraska without a field goal for a 12:49 span over the end of the first half and start of the second to pull away to their 13th straight victory.

Ebi Ere scored 16 points and Aaron McGhee had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Sooners (14-1, 3-0 Big 12), who shot 50 percent (31-of-62) from the field while holding Nebraska to its worst shooting percentage ever.

Nebraska was 16-for-65 from the field (24.6 percent), worse than the 25.5 percent in a loss to Minnesota in 1998.

``Nebraska was a good shooting team. That's how we scouted them _ get a hand in their face and bother their shots,'' Ere said. ``It's kind of hard to get shots when you've got hands in your face.''

Brian Conklin had 14 points and John Robinson added 10 for Nebraska (8-7, 1-3), which had never lost by more than 25 points in the 26-year history of the Devaney Center.

``We were making adjustments for about the last 30 minutes of the game,'' Nebraska coach Barry Collier said. ``The adjustment was to put the ball in the basket, and we just didn't do enough of that.''

Hollis Price added 13 points and Jason Detrick had 12 points for Oklahoma, which hadn't won 13 straight since opening the 1987-88 season 14-0.

After scoring the final 14 points of the first half, the Sooners opened the second half with a 14-1 run, started with a 3-pointer and jumper by White and capped by a dunk by Detrick.

``It's a situation where they came out and played really well for a long stretch of time. We had no answer for it,'' Conklin said.

Nebraska's Brennon Clemmons finally snapped a 9:41 scoring drought by going 1-for-2 at the line with 15:28 left to make it 40-20. Clemmons had scored Nebraska's 19th point on a free throw with 5:09 left in the first half.

The Huskers went without a field goal from 7:12 remaining in the first half, when Cary Cochran drove for a layup, until Conklin hit a 3-pointer with 14:23 remained in the second.

But Conklin's shot only cut the lead to 47-23 and the Huskers never got closer than 18 the rest of the way.

Oklahoma had never led by more than three until Detrick and Price hit consecutive 3-pointers to make it 25-19 with 3:28 left in the half. Ere two free throws, Price hit another 3 and Ere made one from beyond the arc at the buzzer to put the Sooners up by 14.

Nebraska, 6-for-35 from the field in the half, kept it close and even led midway through the half despite missing nine of its first 10 shots. The Huskers were 3-of-6 during a brief stretch that gave them a short-lived 13-6 lead.

The Sooners responded with a 9-0 run, then pulled away at the end of the half.

``Nebraska came out ready to play. Their kids scrapped,'' Sampson said. ``I thought that was the first time this year that somebody outhustled us.''