Nebraska 61, Oral Roberts 55

Sunday, December 9th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ Nebraska watched a 17-point second-half lead slip to two before steadying itself and downing Oral Roberts 61-55 on Saturday.

Guard Cary Cochran said the game and the late challenge was a good experience for the Cornhuskers.

``Obviously, you're disappointed that you have a big lead and they cut it,'' Cochran said. ``We didn't play very well offensively, but we were able to get the job done.''

Nebraska (6-0) was up 51-36 when Tyrone Tiggs led Oral Roberts (2-6) on a 15-0 run.

Diggs banked in a 3-pointer from the top of the key, then stole the inbounds pass and hit a layup to cut the lead to 10 with 6:53 left.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Tiggs capped the rally at 51-49 with 4:30 to play.

Cochran, who finished with 19 points, hit three free throws to put the Huskers up 54-49, before Richie Myers scored to pull the Golden Eagles to 54-51 with 3:04 left.

After Nebraska's Corey Simms missed the front end of a one-and-one, Brian Conklin grabbed the rebound and scored to put Nebraska up five. On the Huskers' next possession, he made one of two free throws to move the lead back to six at 57-51 with 2:21 left.

After Kendrick Moore's jumper cut the lead to four, Nebraska made 4-of-6 free throws in the final two minutes to seal the win.

Conklin said he was impressed by the way Nebraska handled the ORU challenge.

``That was really the first time we were in that position,'' Conklin said. ``We handled it fairly well and got the W.''

Nebraska coach Barry Collier praised both squads.

``We feel like Oral Roberts played a very spirited ballgame,'' Collier said. ``They never backed down. They made quite a run in the second half and we kind of squeezed this one out.''

Nebraska opened its big lead courtesy of poor ORU shooting.

Oral Roberts shot 48 percent in the second half and was 33.3 percent for the game (19-of-57) while Nebraska hit just 32 percent in the second half and 34.6 percent (18-of-52) for the game.

``In the first half we got good looks, we just couldn't make them,'' said Oral Roberts coach Scott Sutton. ``During our comeback, we started to make our shots. We didn't play very well the first 34 minutes, but the last six we made a good comeback.''

Nebraska won the game from the free-throw line, hitting 19-of-27 attempts to 12-of-17 for ORU.

Nebraska is 6-0 for the first time since 1995-96. All six of Nebraska's wins have come at home.