Webster and McVeigh lead Nebraska past La. Tech 65-54
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) Nebraska hadn't planned to run its offense through Tai Webster and Jack McVeigh Saturday. It just worked out that the pair each had career scoring nights to lead the Huskers over Louisiana Tech 65-54.
Webster had 17 of his 23 points in the first half, many of them coming off drives to the basket on which he either scored or went to the free throw line where he hit 7 of 8 shots.
''It just kind of played out that way,'' Webster said of his drives. ''They're a real aggressive defensive team and they force a lot of turnovers, obviously, I'm living proof of it. I was just trying to match the aggression and not let me be on the back foot from it. Just attack them, bring the game to them.''
McVeigh scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half after the Bulldogs sent multiple defenders at Webster.
''Honestly, the shots just came to me,'' McVeigh said. ''They extended the pressure and with the pressure comes rotations and with rotations there's an open man. My teammates found me. Four of the six (field goals) were assisted on. They're easy looks when I'm getting good passes from my teammates.''
Nebraska (3-0) led 45-41 when McVeigh hit a 3-pointer with 11:56 left, followed that up with a layup and Evan Taylor knocked down a jumper with 9:53 remaining that put the Huskers up 52-41.
Louisiana Tech (1-2) traded baskets with Nebraska over the next six minutes, with Ed Morrow Jr's dunk giving the Huskers a 60-50 lead with 3:53 left. But Nebraska didn't hit another field goal.
The Bulldogs Erik McCree hit a pair of jumpers to cut the Nebraska lead to six with 57 seconds left. But McVeigh hit two of three free throws and Webster added a pair to seal the win.
''There's no question, we really just couldn't get over the hump and really build some momentum,'' said Louisiana Tech coach Eric Konkol. ''It seemed like every time we got close, we missed a shot or we turned it over or they'd get a bucket on the other end. We just couldn't get over the hump tonight. Got to give them a lot of credit. I thought they played some stingy defense and made it very difficult on us.''
Nebraska coach Tim Miles also praised the defense of his six primary players and particularly their toughness at the end.
''I thought the last four minutes we were a very, very tough team,'' Miles said. ''I thought there was a stretch in there where they were out-toughing us. But I thought we finished it the way they were doing it earlier. That was really important. We're not going to win otherwise.''
Nebraska won the game at the free throw line, outscoring Louisiana Tech by 15 from the stripe. The Huskers hit 11 of 12 first half free throws while Louisiana Tech was just 4 of 10. Nebraska hit 10 of 12 free throws in the second half. The Bulldogs were 2 of 2.
McCree led Louisiana Tech with 16 points.
McVeigh and Webster are roommates and were asked who had to buy dinner since they both had career highs Saturday. Webster replied: ''I guess I have to, he's the older one. I'll probably cook something. Out of the two, I'm the best. He hooked me up the other day with some good seafood. So we'll see.''
THE BIG PICTURE
Nebraska: Nebraska continues to search for production from its bench. Nebraska's non-starters contributed just 2 points in the first half and six in the second half in a combined 53 minutes of time on the floor.
Louisiana Tech: Louisiana Tech has one more trip to a power 5 conference school in its first six games, playing at California on Nov. 30. The Bulldogs have lost at South Carolina and Nebraska.
Nebraska travels to Fullerton, Calif. where it will meet Dayton in the opening round of the Wooden Legacy tournament Thursday.
Louisiana Tech returns home to Ruston, La. where it will host Oklahoma Baptist Wednesday.