CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Nebraska did more than work on help defense or foul shooting at its off-day practice. the Cornhuskers cleared the air and got back on track at the Charleston Classic.
Nebraska head coach Tim Miles said he, his staff and the players met Saturday to discuss what had gone wrong the first two tournament games and how to turn things around. The get-together worked as the Cornhuskers rallied in the second half to defeat Georgia 73-65 and took seventh-place in the eight-team tournament.
And while 1-2 wasn’t what Miles hoped for, he liked what he saw from his team Sunday.
“I wondered if we could fight back,” he said. “And we did against UMass, and (Sunday) we finished the job against Georgia.”
Tai Webster scored 13 of his 14 points in the second half to lift the Cornhuskers. Terran Petteway led Nebraska with 15 points.
Nebraska (4-2) was within a basket of Massachusetts with under two minutes to play Thursday and against UAB with under eight minutes left before losing both contests. It trailed Georgia 52-50 with nine minutes left before putting together a 23-13 run to the finish to avoid a 0-for-3 trip to South Carolina’s coast.
That distinction was left for the Bulldogs, who have lost four straight and opened 1-4 for the second straight season.
Georgia, too, struggled to make things happen late in this tournament.
The Bulldogs fell behind giant-slayer Davidson by 10 points at halftime and could not come back in losing 94-82. On Friday night, Georgia rallied from 13-points down to lead Temple 81-80 with 18 seconds left. But the Owls’ Will Cummings hit a 3-pointer moments later in their 83-81 victory.
Georgia had chances to stay in this one, too, head coach Mark Fox thought, but couldn’t hit free throws or keep Nebraska players from getting to the basket.
“We don’t quite understand how to finish games yet, but (on Sunday), we didn’t make our foul shots,” he said.
Georgia was 16-of-30 overall and 6-of-15 in the second half at the foul line after coming in hitting more than 74 percent of its free throws. Nebraska made 22-of-27 at the foul line and Petteway and Webster combined to go 16-of-19.
Fox put an emphasis on defense, one his team paid attention to as the players continually chanted “defense” to their teammates on the floor against the Cornhuskers.
“We’re not quite as hard-nosed at that other end as we need to be,” he said. “We’ve been taught some lessons here in Charleston.”