The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, March 05, 1999, Page 7, Image 7

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Lane Hickenbottom/DN
EYES CLOSED, NU guard Cary Cochran makes a pass around Texas Tech guard Rayford Young in Nebraska’s 69-50
win over the Red Raiders on Thursday. The Cornhuskers play Kansas on Friday.
Stifling defense
helps Nebraska
rip Texas Tech
By Darren Ivy
Senior staff writer
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - When the
Nebraska men’s basketball team need
ed it the most, it turned its finest
defensive gem of the season.
The No. 6 seeded Cornhuskers
suffocated No. 11 seed Texas Tech
with a zone trap defense en route to a
69-50 victory that wasn’t as close as
the score indicated in the first round of
the Big 12 Tournament on Thursday.
Nebraska 69
Texas Tech 50
had to^contain Stan Bonewitz and
Rayford Young. In the Feb. 20
encounter, the two guards combined
for 44 points. Thursday they had 19.
“I knew going in the key was
defensive,” NU Coach Danny Nee
said. “We did a good job guarding
Bonewitz and Young. We were very
effective. We took away their 3-point
After a 73-68
upset loss to Texas
Tech on Feb. 20,
Nebraska made
sure it didn’t let the
Red Raiders steal
another win.
This time, it
was the Huskers
who stole the show,
literally, recording
as many steals (15)
in the first half as
Tech did points.
Things didn't
I knew the key was
Bonewtiz and Young.
We were very effective.
We took away their
3-point shot.”
Danny Nee
NU coach
Nee was espe
cially pleased with
the smothering
defense in the first
half. It limited to
Tech to 17 first-half
shots. And 10 of
those came in the
first 10 minutes.
The Raiders scored
5 points in the last
10 minutes of the
“They stuck it to
us,” Tech Coach
get a whole lot bet
ter for Tech in the second half as NU
(19-11) ran away with the win. In the
process, the Huskers set a Big 12
Tournament record for steals with 23
and advanced to meet No. 3-seeded
Kansas in tonight’s 8:20 p.m. game.
The Red Raiders were playing so
poorly that on one dead ball posses
sion in the second half, NU junior
guard Cookie Belcher turned to some
reporters in the front row and asked,
“How many turnovers do they have?”
For the game, Tech finished with
26. Coming into the game, NU knew it
James Dickey said.
After the Raiders opened up a 7-3
lead to start the game, the Huskers
went on a 30-8 run to lead 33-15 at
halftime. During that stretch, NU
made 14-14 free throws. It extended
that to as many as 25 with 16 minutes
remaining in the game.
Venson Hamilton, who played 26
minutes, led NU with 15 points. He
also grabbed five rebounds and made
eight steals, a career high and a Big 12
Tournament record. Before the game,
Please see DEFENSE on 8
NU’s Neumann upbeat
going into Big 12 meet
Staff water
Heading into the Big 12 Conference
wrestling tournament, NU Coach Tim
Neumann is relying on his gut instinct.
And, unlike last season, it is one that is
sendmg this Nebraska wrestling coach pos
itive vibes.
Before last year’s tournament,
Neumann felt bogged down with worries
about injuries and weight problems. The
14-year coach admits the beginning of this
year’s post-season has been less stressful.
This season, Neumann steers away
from doubt and is quick to speak of his con
fidence in the No. 4 Nebraska wrestling
team as they prepare for Saturday’s confer
ence meet.
“It's just a feeling that you have as a
coach, when you really feel like your team
is ready,” Neumann said. “And they are. I
don’t have any hesitation for this meet.”
The Comhuckers (17-6 overall) will
begin their descent to the all-important
NCAA Championships when they travel to
Ames, Iowa, this weekend as Iowa State
plays host to the Big 12 meet. The top three
wrestlers in all 10 weight classes at
Saturday’s tournament will automatically
qualify for the national meet March 19-21
m State College, Pa.
Five other grapplers from the Big 12
will earn wild card berths to the NCAAs.
For Neumann and the preseason No. 21
Fluskers, confidence is understandable
going mto the conference tournament.
The NU grapplers inched their way to a
top-five ranking, which they earned after
defeating two conference rivals - then-No.
4 Iowa State on Jan. 31 and then-No. 5
Oklahoma on Feb. 4 - and have won 17
duals for the first time since the 1994-95
“We started this year innocent and hun
gry.” Neumann said,/'The guys are young
and didn’t have any external expectations
put on them. But unlike last year, they've
been consistent all the way through, and
that has made the difference.”
With the Big 12 having four teams
ranked in the top seven nationally - No. 1
Oklahoma State, No. 4 NU, No. 5 OU and
No. 7 ISU, Neumann and the Huskers
expect fierce competition Saturday.
“This is the best the Big 12 has been in
five years, and it's probably the worst it will
be in the next three years,” Neumann said.
“That's how much tougher it's going to get.”
Since beating Missouri 23-15 on Feb.
17 in its fmal dual meet, NU has focused on
the Big 12 meet - practicing twice a day in
what Neumann called “the best training all
Coming off a strong, two-week training
period is 184-pounder Brad Venng, who
captured a Big 12 title last season as a fresh
Please see MEET on 8
Huskers go cold in loss
to No. 9 Red Raiders
But after that, Nebraska’s defense ;—
By JAY Saunders T0X3S T0Ch 77 clamped down. Hanebutt finished
staff writer Nabraska 59 with only13 p°ints for the §ame
- - - ■ “They came back and really
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - It's hard to win a basket
ball game shooting 35 percent from the floor for the
It’s nearly impossible to do it against the No. 9
team in the country. Just ask the Nebraska women’s
basketball team.
The Cornhuskers shot just 29 percent in the sec
ond half against Texas Tech. Tech had no such prob
lems, shooting 49 percent for the game on its way to
a 77-59 win in the semifinals of the Big 12
The loss halted a four-game winning streak for
“Our inability to get the ball in the basket hurt us
tonight,” Nebraska Coach Paul Sanderford said. “I
was wondering if we were ever going to score.”
The Huskers’ scoring woes affected nearly
everyone on the floor. NU’s top two scorers, junior
Nicole Kubik and Brooke Schwartz, combined to
make only 7 of 28 shots.
Kubik scored only 6 of her 19 points in the sec
ond half.
“We were getting good looks at the basket,”
Kubik said. “They weren’t going in.”
Early in the first half, the Huskers (21-11) had a
case of deja vu. For the second time this season, Red
Raider guard Rene Hanebutt got hot against NU and
helped Tech jump out to a 6-0 lead. The same thing
happened in a Tech 75-62 win in Lincoln two weeks
defended me well, Hanebutt said. “I had to work for
everything I got tonight.”
NU made its run at Tech late in the first half, clos
ing the lead 39-34 by halftime with a 17-5 run.
Then, the second-half collapse began. Nebraska
made only 9 of 31 shots in the second half. A 10-3
run to extend the Tech lead to 66-47 put the game
After the game, both Kubik and Sanderford
refused to blame to the poor shooting performance
on the fact that NU played three games in three days.
“We just didn’t come out in the second half like
we should have,” Kubik said. “I’m tired but you have
to put that aside for 40 minutes while you’re playing
the game.”
Kubik may not be playing in the finals, but she
had already made her mark on the tourney record
books. Her 19 points against Tech gave her 70 points,
which is a tournament record.
The junior also broke the tournament steal record
with 11, including six against the Red Raiders. She
also broke the ffee-throw attempt and make record
against Texas.
Kubik and sophomore Amanda Went, who tied a
career-high with 14 points, received little help from
the inside game.
Nebraska’s post players combined for 16 points
and Texas Tech (27-3) outrebounded the Huskers 41
31. Tech also scored 36 front-court points, led by
Angie Braziel with 19 points.