LINCOLN, Neb—It was Nebraska forward John Turek’s birthday on Saturday. He turned 21, but the Missouri men’s basketball team had designs to spoil his party.
Missouri defeated Nebraska 56-53 and left Turek to celebrate a birthday without being able to celebrate a victory.
Turek and Nebraska center Aleks Maric dominated Missouri around the basket early, outrebounding the Tigers 16-14 and pulling down six offensive rebounds they put back for baskets.
But Missouri toughened up under the hoop in the second half, eliminating Nebraska’s second chances and holding Turek to two second-half points.
Turek finished with 10 points.
At least Turek got some help from teammates, including a fast-break assist from guard Charles Richardson in the first half, which Turek flushed home for a monster dunk.
The Cornhuskers kept giving. When Turek’s attempt at a buzzer-beating jumper rolled in and out at the close of the first half, Nebraska guard Jason Dourissau jumped up and tipped it in just as the clock expired.
IN THE DARK:Don’t blame the Missouri team for a terrible shooting display to start the game against Nebraska. The Tigers got off to a slow start, shooting 9-of-22 in the first half. They may have not gotten enough time to warm up. Missouri was in the middle of a layup drill six minutes before the starting lineup was announced when the lights at Devaney Sports Center went totally dark.
It wasn’t a power failure.
As the Tigers stood bewildered on the court, the Jumbotron showed a two minute montage of Nebraska basketball highlight footage to the screeching strains of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck.”
When the lights came back up, the Tigers stood confused for a few seconds before resuming the drill where they had left off.
WHO’S PLAYING AGAIN?:It wasn’t easy to tell what teams were on the court by looking at the signs hanging around Devaney Sports Center. A few read: “Good Luck Vikings,” “Backing our Broncos,” and “Go, Fight, Scouts.”
The Nebraska state championship tournament for high-school wrestling ended minutes before the Missouri players took the court for warm-ups. There was no time to take down the signs and barely enough to empty the wrestling crowd out before basketball fans started filtering in.