Ducks fall in overtime
OMAHA, Neb. — After so much had gone so wrong for No. 16 Oregon, coach Ernie Kent figured his Ducks would win when Tajuan Porter went to the free-throw line for a chance at a rare four-point play in the final seconds of regulation.
Porter's seventh 3-pointer tied it, but he missed his only free throw of the game Saturday, and Nebraska dominated the overtime to beat the Ducks 88-79.
"I thought we were going to steal one when we weren't playing particularly well on the road," Kent said. "We opened the door for them, and they took full advantage of it."
Aleks Maric scored 23 points, including a putback that broke open the game in overtime, and Nebraska overcame Oregon's season-high 14 3-pointers to beat a Top 25 opponent for the second time in five tries in Doc Sadler's two seasons as coach.
This one was worth celebrating for a Nebraska program that, historically, hasn't had much to celebrate.
The Huskers got strong support in their first-ever "home" game at the Qwest Center, 60 miles from their campus in Lincoln. After the final buzzer, hundreds of students rushed the court from their end zone seats and high-fived players as they made their way to their locker room.
"They enjoyed it, so hopefully we can do it a lot more," Sadler said.
The Cornhuskers (8-2) led by as many as 13 points in the second half, but Oregon (8-2) kept coming back behind Porter, who scored 29 points.
Kent said Oregon was fortunate to force overtime after trailing by as many as 13 points. Down 72-71 in the last two minutes of regulation, Oregon had two chances to take the lead. Each time Nebraska came up with a stop.
But Nebraska couldn't put the Ducks away, as Maric missed twice from point-blank range. Maric did make two free throws for a 74-71 lead with 22.9 seconds to go in regulation.
Porter took the inbounds pass and dribbled up and around the top of the key before fading to the right wing, where he launched his falling-down 3-pointer. Steve Harley swiped at Porter on the way up, putting Porter at the line with 9.1 seconds left.
"That dude hit some shots, and it didn't matter who was guarding him," Sadler said.
Porter, a 70-percent free-throw shooter, shot long on his only attempt of the game, and Ryan Anderson rebounded. Harley was way off the mark with his long 3 at the buzzer.
Anderson gave the Huskers the lead for good with a 3-pointer to open overtime, and he hit four free throws late to finish off the Ducks.
Anderson scored a season-high 21 points, but his biggest contributions may have come on defense. He was assigned to guard Oregon forward Maarty Leunen, who came in averaging 16 points, and held him to two. Anderson also had a career-high four steals.
"I'm offensively skilled enough to make plays. It just didn't happen," Leunen said. "Every time I got the ball down low in the post, they would really swarm down with a couple guys. It made it tough to score around the basket."
Oregon, which came in shooting 51 percent and averaging 89.7 points, was held to 42.4 percent from the floor. The Ducks also committed 18 turnovers.
"We weren't ready to play, and we basically gave them the game," Porter said. "I give them credit for taking advantage. We didn't show up to play."
Malik Hairston made all five of his 3-pointers and added 25 points for the Ducks. But Bryce Taylor and Joevan Catron teamed up for only eight points — well under their combined average of 28.