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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (March 11, 1999)
Cornhuskers slow down Runnin’ Rebels
■ UNLV started out fast but the
NU zone defense worked its
charms in the second half.
By Darren Ivy
Senior staff writer
As the Nebraska men’s basketball team
entered its locker room following an 68-55 NIT
first-round win over Nevada Las Vegas
Nahraclra ftft Wednesday night, sev
iigui aoiva DO eral players were hum
UNLV 55 ming the NU fight song.
Others were whooping
Not the reaction one expected after an NIT
win? Think again.
The Comhuskers didn’t want to be back in the
Bob Devaney Sports Center again this season, but
they made the most of the friendly confines.
With the win before 6,022 loud fans, NU
moved on to the second round to face Texas
Christian, a 72-71 winner over Kansas State.
“I was pleased finding a way to get a win,”
Coach Danny Nee said. “I think UNLV has some
very talented, quick athletes ”
NU neutralized the athletic Running Rebels
with a 2-3 zone and 1-3-1 zone. The Huskers did
n’t go to the zone defense right away though. It
took the Huskers five minutes to switch to a zone.
By that time, NU was down 13-6.
“We decided not to play zone the entire game
because our main staple is man-to-man,” Nee said.
“We wanted to get aggressive on them. It was real
obvious with their quickness and penetration (that
we couldn’t stay in man-to-man). I thought we
would play 70 percent or 60 percent zone. We
played closer to 90 percent. It worked. It helped
After NU switched to a zone defense in the
first half, it held UNLV to 16 points. Junior guard
Cookie Belcher led the charge with five steals. His
steals moved him into first on NU’s all-time charts
with 258, passing Erick Strickland.
Senior center Venson Hamilton, also con
tributed three blocked shots. Those blocks moved
Hamilton out of a tie with Mikki Moore for first
place on the career blocked shot charts.
The zone really bothered the Rebels in the sec
ond half. It took UNLV more than three minutes to
get a bucket. In the meantime, NU rattled off 10
“We riddled them with our zone defense,” said
forward Andy Markowski, who had a game-high
11 rebounds. “They didn’t know what was going
On offense, NU struggle to find Hamilton.
Hamilton, the Big 12 Conference Player-of-the
Year, scored nine points and grabbed five
rebounds, way below his averages of 15.8 and
Markowski said the up-tempo took Hamilton
out of the game.
“He didn’t get a lot of touches and when he did,
he usually scored or got fouled,” Markowski said.
“Give Venson credit, he had a lot of assists. He’s
willing to do that for the team. He sacrificed for the
team and we got the win.”
With Hamilton struggling offensively, Belcher
We riddled them with our
zone defense. They didn’t
know what was going on.”
and senior Larry Florence stepped up. Belcher had
17 points and Florence had 16, with 14 coming in
the second half.
Nee was disappointed with the 22 turnovers.
But Markowski said the turnovers were due to
NU not playing an up-tempo style offense in a
“We played sloppy,” Markowski said. “They
kind of lulled us into die up-tempo and we hadn’t
played that way in a while. We threw it in a lot of
places it shouldn’t have been thrown. We’re all
“It was a fun game to play. It may not have been
■ Kentucky benefits from
playing in the nation’s
By Jay Saunders
Some will tell you playing in the
toughest conference in the country will
prepare a team for the NCAA tourna
Or, at least that's the philosophy
Kentucky Women’s Basketball Coach
Bernadette Mattox is buying into.
The Wildcats battled through a rig
orous Southeastern conference regular
season schedule, and came out with a
No. 6 seed in the West Region.
UK will play No. 11 seed Nebraska
in the first round Saturday. That game
will be played at Pauley Pavilion in Los
Angeles at 8:15 Saturday night.
“We have played on the road a lot
and have played a lot of top teams,”
Mattox said. “That will help us
throughout this tournament.”
Kentucky finished the conference
season with an 7-7 record. That is the
same percentage of conference wins
Nebraska had in the Big 12, which was
the second-highest rated conference
Leading the Wildcat attack is a pair
of guards. Juniors Erica Jackson and
Tiffany Wait combine to average just
over 25 points per game.
Sophomore forward Laura
Meadows averages 12 points per
game, and is the team’s second leading
During a press conference Tuesday,
Mattox had nothing but praise for what
her starting back-court has accom
plished this season.
“(Tiffany) is a tremendous leader
for this basketball team,” Mattox said.
“Erica is the neutralizer on the
floor that keeps our team at bay.
Everyone on the team has so much
confidence is her.”
Although these two teams haven’t
played this season, UK is no stranger to
the Huskers’ style of play. The two
teams hooked up last year in Lincoln,
and NU Coach Paul Sanderford
coached for 15 years at Western
In fact, one of the offensive sets
Please see UK on 10
NU GYMNAST Derek Leiter is part of a Nebraska gymnastics team that hosts No. 1 Penn State this weekend. Leiter hopes to win a national championship
before his career ends with the Cornhuskers.
He s about zero for infinity around
here when it comes to wrestling. He
hasn't beaten anybody ”
NU gymnast on Derek Leiter
Husker gymnast lives for
chance at the NCAA title
By John Gaskins
When trying to talk to Nebraska
junior gymnast Blake Bukacek about
his teammate Derek Leiter’s gymnas
tics, it’s tough to squeeze much out of
Talk to Bukacek about Leiter as a
person, and it’s a different story. His
eyes open wide and his mouth runs
rampant, smug smirk and all.
“Derek’s just different, all right?”
Bukacek says. “He’s just weird.
“For one thing, the guy doesn’t stop
talking about his fish. He gives us daily
updates on his fish! He’s a picky eater,
too. All he eats is chicken. Chicken this,
chicken that. If it’s not chicken, he’s not
Bukacek pauses. Then, the flood
gates open again.
“And another thing about Derek,”
Bukacek says. “He’s about zero for
infinity when it comes to wrestling
around here. He hasn’t beaten any
Leiter approaches and interrupts.
“What is he saying about me?” he
says. “Whatever it is, don’t listen to him.
He’s probably lying. No, really, what did
“I’m telling the truth. I’m telling
him how you never win at wrestling,”
Bukacek replies. Bukacek then yells to
his teammates, about four of them sit
ting together on the other side of the
“Hey, guys, what’s Derek’s record
in wrestling down here?”
“About zero for infinity,” they yell
“See, what’d I tell you?” Bukacek
says as Leiter shakes his head.
Such treatment isn’t exactly what
you would expect for someone who has
Please see FISH onlO
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