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Baylor storms out of tournament gate with win over Nebraska

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The Canadian Press
3/21/2014 3:49:07 PM
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SAN ANTONIO -- Nebraska coach Tim Miles couldn't fix the cold shooting or sloppy passes. The Big Ten coach of the year did see one thing he could correct: an overlooked shot clock error.

Nope. These Huskers weren't even going to get that right.

Miles was instead ejected while trying to alert officials to the mistake, and 11th-seeded Nebraska would soon join their coach out of the NCAA tournament, falling to No. 6 seed Baylor 74-60 in the second round Friday.

"I'm thinking, 'That's a correctible error.' That is something we can go correct, and the official came over and T'd me up," Miles said of getting his second technical foul. "I said 'It's the shot clock; it never ran.' I was trying to look for the shot clock operator, and I'm assuming it's the guy that just dropped his head."

The Cornhuskers lost again in their seventh tournament appearance. It punctuated a frustrating end to an otherwise fabulous season for a program that has long been an afterthought at football-crazed Nebraska.

But basketball success is expected at Baylor (25-11), which has won 11 of 13 after a dismal start in the Big 12. The Bears didn't make last year's tournament, but rolled to the Elite Eight in 2010 and 2012.

Now they're surging again.

"The past Elite Eights that we did have were good runs, but this year we're just looking at it as checking it one game at a time," said Cory Jefferson, who scored 16 points and was with Baylor for both those trips. "We had ours today, the next one is on Sunday. We'll look at one game, and we'll move on from there."

Baylor will play either No. 3 seed Creighton or No. 14 seed Louisiana-Lafayette on Sunday.

Terran Petteway scored 18 points for Nebraska (19-13), which hadn't played on this stage since 1998 and often looked like it. Nebraska missed nine of its first 10 shots, laboured through a 9-minute scoring drought then lost their coach midway through the second half.

The officials tossed Miles after ringing him up for a second technical foul in nearly as many minutes. He first erupted after Petteway, the Big Ten's leading scorer, picked up his fourth foul just after Nebraska cut the lead to single digits.

Two minutes later, Miles was gone.

"I didn't want an unfair competitive advantage. The same contact here should be the same contact there," Miles said.

But he also didn't make excuses.

"Officiating is not what did us in," he said.

Referee Karl Hess issued a statement after the game acknowledging a shot clock error that both the operator and officials didn't notice. But he didn't suggest that giving Miles a second technical was wrong, referencing a section of the NCAA rulebook that prohibits "inciting undesirable crowd reactions" and certain conduct while objecting to an official's decision.

As Miles walked toward the tunnel, he drew a standing ovation from a Texas crowd splashed with a healthy swath of Big Red. It was a big day for the state of Nebraska at the AT&T Center: Creighton's game was next up, and fans shed red shirts at the buzzer to reveal Bluejay blue underneath.

Isaiah Austin scored 13 points and Brady Heslip added 12 points for Baylor. The Bears didn't outshoot the Cornhuskers but got to the free throw line three times as often -- they made 38 of 48, compared to 10 of 16 for Nebraska.

Shavon Shields scored 16 points and Ray Gallegos had 15 for the Cornhuskers.

That Baylor and Nebraska were even here was a doubtful scenario just two months ago. Both teams nosedived toward February with a combined 2-11 record in conference play, with the Cornhuskers fulfilling historically low expectations and the Bears bottoming out after being ranked high as No 7 in the nation.

Their turnarounds were almost simultaneous.

Refusing to settle for a fourth losing season in five years, Nebraska won 10 of its last 13 and seized an unlikely status as one of the biggest surprises in the country. Baylor, meanwhile, won 10 of its final 12 during a hot streak that included a dominating march to the Big 12 tournament final.

Cory Jefferson (Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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