LINCOLN, Neb. (AP)—With Texas A&M star Acie Law playing the supporting role for a change, Josh Carter put himself in the spotlight Saturday night.
Carter made eight 3-pointers and matched his career high with 26 points, leading No. 6 Texas A&M to a 66-55 victory over Nebraska.
Carter, who equaled his school record and the Devaney Sports Center opponent mark for 3s, capitalized on a sagging Nebraska zone defense that often left him open in the corner. Eight minutes into the game, he already had made four 3s.
“I can tell when I’m feeling it,” he said. “Today at the shootaround I was shooting it pretty good, and they told me this is a shooter’s gym. When I make a few early, I get a lot of confidence, so I just keep shooting.”
The 6-foot-7 guard, who leads the Big 12 in 3-point shooting at 51.6 percent (66-of-128), made eight 3s for the third time this season.
“He can make nine any time he wants,” Aggies coach Billy Gillispie said, smiling. “Eight’s a lot. That’s a career.”
Law, averaging 19.9 points in his previous 10 games, was held to nine points — ending a streak of 15 games in double figures. But he made one of the biggest shots of the game when he hit a 3 with 3:11 left to break the Huskers’ spirit after they had pulled to 57-51.
Joseph Jones added 11 points and Dominique Kirk 10 for the Aggies (21-3, 9-1 Big 12), who got 11 rebounds from Antanas Kavaliauskas.
Ryan Anderson scored all 18 of his points—on six 3-pointers—in the first half to lead Nebraska. Aleks Maric had all 15 of his points in the second half, and Marcus Perry added 11 for the Huskers (14-9, 3-6).
“We tried to trap Aleks Maric, which left Ryan open, and he did a great job of hitting the shots,” Gillispie said.
The Aggies have won five straight and 14 of 15. They have beaten nine straight Big 12 North opponents.
Nebraska was the 35th straight team to be held under 50 percent shooting by the Aggies, the longest streak in the nation.
The Huskers employed a 1-3-1 zone defense in the early going. Nebraska coach Doc Sadler wanted to keep Jones and Kavaliauskas under control and stop Law’s penetration.
“With the size they have, you are either going to give up perimeter shots or you’re going to give up the inside game,” Sadler said. “We went into the game knowing one guy can shoot the basketball, and that’s Josh Carter. He gets 17 points in the first half, so that’s a mistake.”
Carter said he could sense the Huskers’ confusion.
“I heard their coach tell them where I was going, but they would take a step off and lapse,” he said, “so I’d catch and shoot.”
Carter didn’t score for the final 12:50 as Nebraska kept a defender in his face at all times.
Sadler wished the Huskers had done that sooner.
“How in the heck do you let Josh Carter get eight 3s?” he said. “That’s ridiculous.”
Texas A&M held Nebraska scoreless on 10 straight possessions for 7:35 spanning the first and second halves to turn a 24-23 deficit into a 35-24 lead. Carter hit two 3s during the 11-0 run.
Another 3 by Carter gave the Aggies their biggest lead, 45-31. But the Huskers got back-to-back 3s from Maric and Perry to pull to 45-39 with 8:28 left.
Jones’ putback and two free throws ended Texas A&M’s five-minute scoring drought and momentarily stemmed the Huskers’ momentum.
The Huskers made one more run, with Charles Richardson’s 3-pointer and layup off a steal making it 57-51.
Then Law, whose only other field goal was a jumper from the top of the key five minutes into the second half, made his 3 to give the Aggies a nine-point cushion.
Sadler said the Huskers were supposed to double-team Law on the play.
“There were all kinds of mistakes on the defensive end,” he said.
Yet the Huskers were still in the game late.
“We were down six with about 3:50 left to go and we just let up,” Richardson said.