Tuesday’s match-up proved a scrappy game in which neither team held significant control.
After CU took a 25-22 lead at the half, Nebraska tied the game at 34 midway through the second half. Senior point guard Marcus Hall sparked the Buffs at that point, scoring two buckets and making a big steal.
Still, the game came down to the final seconds. Nebraska quickly chiseled away at a seven point CU lead, to pull within two with just less than a minute to play.
Then sophomore Xavier Silas set a strong screen at the top of the key that freed senior Richard Roby, who spun for a layup, giving the Buffs four-point advantage. Silas countered an Aleks Maric putback with two free throws, giving the Buffs the 55-51 victory.
While Jeff Bzdelik, the head coach in his first season at CU, told The Camera Monday he didn’t see Nebraska as a rival, his elder players still do.
“We came into the game with that mindset,” Hall said. “It’s a team that we don’t get along with.”
The Buffs got a strong defensive effort from senior Marcus King-Stockton, who matched up with the 6-11 Maric most of the second half despite playing with three fouls. He also often got help via double team from one of his fellow Buffs. Maric scored 14 points, but was frustrated on many possessions and took only nine shots.
“We didn’t want to get in a physical confrontation with him,” Bzdelik said. “It was about moving our feet and being quick athletically.”
Following CU’s loss at Texas A&M last week, when CU allowed more than a dozen uncontested Aggie shots, the Buffs were more active on the defensive end of the court Tuesday. Nebraska shot just 34 percent on the evening.
“I thought we improved defensively,” Bzdelik said.
Roby had 12 points and 10 boards. Freshman Cory Higgins led CU with 13 points.
Nebraska had won 11 games on the season, but all of them were home games. CU handed them their fourth loss of the season, all on the road.
The win moves the Buffs to an even 1-1 in the young conference season, 9-7 overall. A tough test awaits Colorado as they travel to Texas Saturday.
Points: Cory Higgins 13
Rebounds: Richard Roby 10
Assists: Marcus Hall 4
Turnovers: Xavier Silas 3
Blocks: Roby 3
Steals: Marcus King-Stockton 3
Points: Cookie Miller 18
Rebounds: Ryan Anderson, Aleks Maric 9
Assists: three with 2
Turnovers: two with 2
Blocks: Maric 2
Steals: five with 1