Last unbeaten in Big 12 falls to Nebraska

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Mens Basketball

Texas suffered its first Big 12 loss of the season on Saturday, and it came in its final regular season game against Nebraska as a conference opponent.

The Cornhuskers exacted their revenge on their way out to the Big Ten conference, which they will join in the 2010-11 school year.

“They totally dominated the second half of the game,” said Texas coach Rick Barnes. “We just weren’t very good, and they spread the court out and took advantage of that.”

Texas (23-4) now has an 11-1 conference record, still best in the Big 12 after Kansas lost last week to Kansas State. Nebraska improved to 6-6, fourth best in the conference, and 18-8 overall. The Huskers have only lost one game at home this season.

Nebraska stuck Andre Almeida and Jorge Brian Diaz — both 6 feet, 11 inches tall — inside and played three shorter players on the perimeter to keep Texas from driving. The Longhorns scored 14 points in the paint to Nebraska’s 38.

“I think we should have gotten the ball inside a little bit more,” said Texas’ Jordan Hamilton.

And at 36.4 percent, Texas had one of its worst field-goal shooting games of the year.

“They just pounded us inside, especially in the second half,” explained Longhorn forward Tristan Thompson. “They wanted it more than us. They got the 50-50 balls; that’s why they kicked our butts inside.”

Nebraska outrebounded Texas 39-34, the Longhorns’ first deficit on the glass in Big 12 competition.

“When you see that this basketball team outrebounded Texas, then you have to be proud,” said Nebraska coach Doc Sadler.

Following a recent trend, Texas led by seven at halftime but was outscored 44-34 in the second period. The team went on a 12-1 run late but could not quite come back.

“We didn’t execute right,” Barnes said after the game. “They deserved to win.”

The 70-67 loss was also Texas’ closest final score since losing to Connecticut by one point back at the beginning of January.

When Toney McCray sunk a free throw for Nebraska with 13:53 left to play, Texas fell behind for the first time in seven games. At that point it was 43-42, but the Cornhuskers scored seven straight afterwards, and Texas never again led.

Three of Texas’ four losses have come on the road in 2010-11. They play twice more at the Erwin Center this season, against Iowa State on Tuesday and Kansas State on Feb. 28, but face Colorado on the road and finish the regular season at Baylor.