Jeter scores 16, Huskers beat No. 22 Missouri
Lance Jeter scored 16 points and Nebraska used a 17-2 second-half run to pull away for a 69-58 victory that sent Missouri to its seventh loss in eight Big 12 road games.
“I’m kind of disappointed the way we’ve played on the road, especially today, playing a Nebraska team,” guard Marcus Denmon said. “Starting today, no more road games. There’s nothing more for us to figure out. It’s either home or neutral.”
The Tigers (22-8, 8-7) had a dent put in their hopes to finish in the top four in the conference and earn a bye in the first round of next week’s league tournament.
For all their problems on the road, Missouri is 17-0 at home going into Saturday’s game against No. 2 Kansas.
Missouri coach Mike Anderson said he wasn’t worried that his team’s second straight loss—they were beaten 80-70 at surging Kansas State last weekend— would damage their NCAA tournament hopes.
“We’ve been playing pretty good basketball,” he said. “This is the trend in conference play. It’s been difficult for teams on the road. We had a tremendous opportunity coming in and thought we’d play better.”
The Huskers won for the first time in five regular-season meetings with Missouri and denied Anderson his 200th career win. It was the last regular-season Big 12 home game for Nebraska (19-10, 7-8), which moves to the Big Ten next season.
“We wanted to concentrate on three things—keeping them off the free-throw line, eliminating turnovers and transition baskets,” Huskers coach Doc Sadler said. “Those three things we knew we had to take care of, and two of the three we did as good a job as you could do.”
The Huskers outscored the Tigers 14-2 from the free-throw line. Missouri didn’t get to the foul line until 4:40 was left in the game.
Both teams had 17 turnovers.
Nebraska prevailed in transition baskets with Jeter driving the length of the court four times for layups.
Jorge Brian Diaz had 14 points, Toney McCray 13 and Brandon Ubel 11 for the Huskers.
Jeter started the Huskers’ decisive 17-2 run with a nice pass to Drake Beranek for a layup, and then he made a 3-pointer before Ubel’s three-point play. Beranek’s 3-pointer with 10:34 left pushed Nebraska’s lead to double digits.
Jeter, who scored a career-high 27 points and had 10 rebounds in Saturday’s overtime loss at Iowa State, added seven rebounds and seven assists.
“Lance is the man. That’s simply put, but it’s true,” Beranek said. “This team goes as Lance goes. We know that.”
Denmon had 16 of his 19 points in the second half and Michael Dixon finished with 13 for Missouri. Laurence Bowers, averaging 17.3 points his last three games, was held to eight.
Denmon, saddled by foul trouble and limited to 7 minutes in the first half, scored eight points in the first 2 minutes of the second half to give Missouri a brief lead.
“I can’t get two early fouls in a row,” Denmon said. “I feel like it puts my team at a disadvantage. As one of our leaders, I need to be out there.”
Going against a team that advertises itself as “The Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball,” Jeter never felt the Huskers’ lead was safe.
“With a team like Missouri, it’s never over,” he said. “They have a high-paced offense and could have a hot streak any time. We had to keep pressing them and being aggressive on offense. We got the key stops we needed and finished the game off strong.”
The way the game started, it looked like the score would be something out of the peach basket era. Missouri was held 25 points under its season average and matched its season low.
The Huskers missed 13 of their first 17 shots from the field and the Tigers 9 of their first 14, and they combined for 12 turnovers over the first 12 minutes and 22 in the first half.
Nebraska muddled along with just 12 points over the opening 15:50, then scored 15 in the last 4:10 of the half to lead 27-25. It was the Tigers’ fewest points in a first half this season, and they fell to 0-8 when trailing at halftime.
“I wouldn’t say it’s at a low point,” Bowers said of the Tigers’ season. “We’re even keel right now. We can’t think about how we just lost two games. We have a very good team in Kansas coming Saturday. We’ve got to turn our attention to the next game and start our peak right there.”
The Huskers, who were coming off two straight losses, cling to faint postseason hopes. They finish the regular season at Colorado on Saturday.
“A lot of people had lost faith in us,” Beranek said. “I think this shows we’ve still got some fight left in us.”