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November 14, 2009

Huskers roll over South Carolina-Upstate in opener

Lance Jeter's 17 points led four Huskers in double figures, as Nebraska used a 25-2 surge early in the second half to take control in a 76-49 victory over USC Upstate Saturday night.

Jeter, one of seven newcomers to make their Husker debut on Saturday, finished the night hitting six of seven shots from the floor and dished out six assists, as Nebraska turned a close contest into a rout in the second half.

Newcomer Brandon Ubel added 12 points for the victors, while Toney McCray added 10 points off the bench along with nine from Eshaunte Jones. Nebraska hit 54.8 percent from the floor in the second half, including 8-for-13 from 3-point range.

Jorge Brian Diaz nearly joined the quartet in double figures, as he finished with nine points and 11 rebounds, becoming the first Husker freshman in six years to reach double figures in rebounds in his NU debut. In all, the newcomers accounted for 47 of the Huskers' 76 points and 22 of NU's 39 rebounds, including 12 offensive caroms.

The Huskers, who have won their last nine season openers, led 34-30 before the newcomers sparked a 15-0 spurt, holding the Spartans (0-1) scoreless for a span of 6:34. A basket by Diaz started the run before Ubel scored five straight points, including a three-pointer that pushed the lead back to 11 points, at 41-30. NU continued the run, as a McCray dunk and a Jeter 3-pointer made it a 16-point Husker lead before Brandon Richardson's jumper gave NU a 49-30 advantage with 12:01 remaining.

After a Sharod Minus basket ended the run, a Ryan Anderson jumper began another double-figure spurt, as Nebraska scored the next 10 points, building a commanding 59-32 advantage after a Jones jumper with 8:42 remaining. The Huskers cruised down the stretch, leading by as much as 32 over the final 23 minutes before posting a 27-point win.

Early on, it was the defense of senior Ryan Anderson and Jeter's offense which staked Nebraska to a 31-24 halftime lead. Anderson totaled five of his career-high six steals in the opening 20 minutes, as he helped turn 11 USC Upstate miscues into 13 points.

Trailing 22-21, Nebraska closed the opening half on a 10-2 run, taking the lead for good on a drive by Sek Henry before Jeter, who had eight points and four assists in the opening 20 minutes, capped the half with back-to-back baskets on NU's final two possessions, including with a jumper to beat the first-half buzzer.

Nebraska eventually built a 34-24 lead in the opening stages of the second half, only to see Carter Cook drain two straight 3-pointers, cutting the Husker lead to 34-30. That would be as close as USC Upstate would get, as Nebraska took over in the final 18 minutes

Cook finished with nine points, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range, as no Spartan finished in double figures. USC Upstate hit only 39 percent from the floor and committed 21 turnovers, which Nebraska converted into 27 points.

The Huskers will hit the road for the first time this season on Wednesday, Nov. 18, when they travel to Saint Louis for a matchup with the Billikens. Wednesday's game starts at 7 p.m. and will be carried on the Huskers Sports Network and Huskers.com. The game will also be televised on Fox Sports Midwest.



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