Nebraska, Texas Tech Advance to the Hall of Fame Classic Title Game

Nebraska, Texas Tech Advance to the Hall of Fame Classic Title Game

Nebraska 85, Missouri State 62 

Isaac Copeland Jr. led four Huskers with 23 points, as No. 24 (coaches) Nebraska improved to 4-0 with an 85-62 victory over Missouri State in the Hall of Fame Classic Powered by ShotTracker.

Copeland hit 9-of-14 shots, including a pair of 3-pointers and added seven rebounds and four assists in posting his first 20-point game of the season and 10th of his collegiate career.

Glynn Watson Jr. added 16 points and four assists, while Isaiah Roby and Nana Akenten added 13 and 11 markers, respectively. Roby also had seven boards and four assists, while Akenten had a trip of 3-pointers in 18 minutes off the bench as Nebraska posted its fourth straight win by at least 20 points.

Nebraska shot 51 percent from the field, including 13 3-points, while blistering the nets at 59 percent after halftime to pull away down the stretch after the Bears kept it close for most of the first 30 minutes.

Missouri State got to 43-37 after a dunk by Obediah Church, but Nebraska rallied for seven straight points, the last coming off a steal and layup by Allen to make it 50-37 with 14:35 left.

The Bears (3-1) got to within 64-53 after a basket from Deandre Cook, but Nebraska used another 7-0 run to put the game out of reach, pushing the lead to 18, at 71-53 with 5:51 remaining.

Cook led MSU with 22 points, while Garred Dixon and Kabir Mohammed added 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Nebraska got 10 first-half points apiece from Watson Jr. and Copeland Jr, as the Huskers took a 36-29 halftime lead.

The Huskers, who shot 44 percent from the half, led 15-12 after a Mohammed basket before the Huskers went on a run. Nebraska out-scored the Bears, 11-2, including seven straight from Copeland, to build its largest lead of the half at 26-14 with 5:54 left in the half.

Missouri State chipped away at the Husker lead, hitting four of five shots to pull to within 29-26 after a Cook 3-pointer to force a Husker timeout with 2:33 left in the half.  Cook led MSU with 11 first-half points, as the Bears shot 38 percent but committed 11 turnovers that led to 16 Husker points.

The Huskers then ran off seven straight points, including 3-pointers from Watson and Thomas Allen, to stretch the lead to 10, at 36-26 with 53 seconds left in the half before Jarrod Dixon’s 3-pointer pulled Missouri State with seven at the break.

 

Texas Tech 78, USC 63

Tariq Owens and Jarrett Culver scored 18 points each and Matt Mooney and Davide Morettiboth went for 17 as Texas Tech stormed back from a nine-point halftime deficit to earn a 78-63 win over Southern Cal on Monday on the first day of the Hall of Fame Classic at the Sprint Center.

The Red Raiders (4-0) trailed by as many as 13 in the first half against the Trojans (2-2), but would respond by shooting 16-for-19 (84.2 percent) from the field and 5-for-6 on 3-pointers in the second half to advance to the Hall of Fame Classic Championship final where they will meet Nebraska at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Sprint Center.

"It's not easy not playing well and then flipping the script," Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard said. "We played really well in the second half shooting over 80 percent and only having three turnovers. You can beat a lot of teams like that. I learned that we can make adjustments and everything that I had hoped about our guys where they are grown men who want to be coached hard. Every team is a work in progress right now and trying to get better and we're no different. Playing this type of competition in this venue gives us a chance to get better."

Culver would add a team-high nine rebounds and five assists to his 18 points, while Owens scored his season-high 18 points by going 7-for-10 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free-throw line. Mooney would also notch a season-high with his 17 points that came on a 6-for-12 shooting performance and knocking down two 3-pointers. Down 32-23 at halftime, Mooney would spark the team early in the second half with a layup followed by a 3-pointer to cut it to a 34-29 deficit just 1:40 in the half. Another Mooney layup was followed by two Culver free throws and a layup before Moretti drilled a 3-pointer to give the Red Raiders a 37-36 lead with 14:38 to play. Mooney scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half where he was 5-for-5 from the field.

"We were sluggish in the first half and that's just not us," Mooney said. "Us as seniors can't let that happen. We knew we had to bring energy in the second half and we were able to get some steals and get out in transition. Once we got some shots going it got contagious."

Moretti's 17 points matched his career-high that he set in the second game of the season and came with him knocking down four shots and going 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. A sophomore from Italy, Moretti scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half and also finished the game with two assists. Owens scored 11 points in the second half where he was 4-for-4 from the field and 3-for-3 from the line. He had an emphatic dunk off a lob from Culver to give the Red Raiders a 59-53 that would grow to an 11-point lead with him hitting a layup to cap the 7-0 run.

"This was a real test for us," Owens said. "We've felt like we always had that leadership role but this game showed that we always have to be ready. As leaders and seniors, this showed us that we have to be ready to play every single game and all 40 minutes."

Texas Tech trailed 32-23 at halftime after being limited to 27.3 percent shooting from the field and only going 1-for-9 on 3-pointers. The Red Raiders, who had not trailed once throughout the first three games of the season, were down by as many as 13 in the opening half against the Trojans who were 6-for-12 on 3-pointers through 20 minutes. Owens led Texas Tech with seven points and four rebounds in the first half, while Culver had five points and two assists. The Trojans would take a 20-17 game into a 13-point deficit for the Red Raiders with a 10-0 run that included two 3-pointers. Tech ended the run with a Culver layup with 2:46 remaining in the half.

Boatwright had a half-high 10 points for USC and Porter was at eight points and three assists as the Trojans took the nine-point lead into halftime despite having 10 turnovers against the Red Raider defense.

"We didn't play very well in the first half," Beard said. "A lot of that was us, but you also have to give them some credit. We settled down in the second half. When you shoot over 80 percent and only have three turnovers in a half you're going to be successful a lot of times."

Texas Tech and Nebraska will meet for the 27th time on Tuesday, but the first since 2011 when the Red Raiders earned a 72-71 win in Lubbock. The Huskers (4-0) advanced to final with an 85-62 win over Missouri State on Monday led by Isaac Copeland Jr. who went for 23 points, seven rebounds and four assists. The Huskers shot 50.8 percent from the field in the game, including hitting 13 3-pointers.

"I've only seen Nebraska play one game on television and we'll dig in tonight," Beard said. "I know this, they are really good. They look to me to be a Sweet 16-type team on paper and then of course if you're that good you can win a couple more and make the final four. They have experience, guard play and we know that we'll have to play our best against them."