Thu, Feb 24, 2005 - Page 19 News List

Huskers stalk the Cowboys at home

AMERICAN BASKETBALL Oklahoma State is now in a tie with Kansas atop the Big 12 standings following a loss to Nebraska in Lincoln. LSU upset No. 16 Alabama

AGENCIES , RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA, NORMAN, OKLAHOMAAND LINCOLN, NEBRASKAAP, EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEYAP, CHICAGO

Vince Carter, right, of the Nets shoots against Morris Peterson of the Raptors during the first quarter in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Tuesday. Carter missed 17 of 25 shots as Toronto won the fame 100-82.

PHOTO: AP

Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton had no difficulty assessing his fourth-ranked Cowboys' performance in a 74-67 loss to Nebraska on Tuesday night.

"I told the squad this ranks as one of the 10 worst performances of any team I've had that's any good," Sutton said. "It was just a bad game, and it came at a bad time."

Not only did the loss drop the Cowboys into a tie with No. 8 Kansas atop the Big 12 standings, it could damage their hopes of a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Oklahoma State is at Kansas on Sunday.

Joe McCray scored 17 of his 22 points in the second half and Aleks Maric added a career-high 15 to lead Nebraska to its first win over a Top Five opponent since a 98-91 victory over No. 3 Missouri in the 1994 Big Eight tournament. It was Nebraska's first win in 20 games against top-10 opponents.

"We needed a great, great effort to have a chance to win," Nebraska coach Barry Collier said. "Our guys believed they could do that, and four or five minutes at a time we came at them."

Oklahoma State, which averaged 82 points in winning its last six games by an average of 15, was held under 70 points for only the fourth time this season.

The Cowboys (20-4, 10-3 Big 12) turned in a sloppy effort that saw them commit 19 turnovers and go eight straight possessions without scoring to start the second half.

The Huskers (12-12, 5-8) used a 12-0 run from a 32-32 halftime tie to break the game open and the Cowboys never got closer than the final margin.

Nebraska's biggest victory in Collier's five years came on the same day a columnist for the Omaha World-Herald, the state's largest newspaper, called for his firing.

"We don't pay a lot of attention to that," Collier said.

Sutton said he's well aware of the heat Collier has been taking and that if he had to lose to one team in the Big 12, he's glad it was Nebraska.

"They've had a tough season, and they are a better ballclub than their record would indicate," Sutton said. "Barry is a very, very good coach. I hope these people get off his case and start showing him some appreciation."

After the buzzer, students from both end zones stormed the court.

John Lucas led Oklahoma State with 20 points. Joey Graham, the Big 12's second-leading scorer, was held to 12 before fouling out in the final minute.

No. 2 North Carolina 81,

NC State 71

In Raleigh, North Carolina, Raymond Felton scored a game-high 21 points to lead five Tar Heels in double figures, as North Carolina rolled to an 81-71 victory over North Carolina State at the RBC Center.

Jawad Williams added 15, Marvin Williams and Sean May each had 14, and Melvin Scott finished with 12 for the Tar Heels (23-3, 11-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who have won four straight games.

Julius Hodge scored 20 and Engin Atsur contributed 14 to lead the Wolfpack (15-11, 5-8), who lost to North Carolina for the second time this season.

North Carolina had a five-point advantage at halftime and would not relinquish the lead in the second half.

LSU 61, No. 16 Alabama 59

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Ross Nelter's tip-in as time expired lifted LSU to a dramatic win over 16th-ranked Alabama, 61-59, in a wild SEC affair at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Tack Minor paced LSU with 16 points. Brandon Bass added 15 while Darrel Mitchell chipped in 13 for the Tigers (16-8, 9-4 SEC), who have won three straight and in the process strengthened its case for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Glen Davis contributed 11 in the win.

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