LINCOLN — Nebraska brought an improved 3-point shooting eye to the Devaney Center on Wednesday night to knock off Tulane 61-57 and remain undefeated.
NU (4-0) missed its first two 3s, then drilled 10 of the next 17.
In the Huskers' first three games, they had made just 11 of 44 treys (25 percent), including 3 of 22 in Sunday's win over the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Nebraska clamped down on defense late in the game, too, stirring the crowd of 5,992. Tulane, averaging 70 points a game, was held to just two free throws in the final 6:57 after taking a 55-52 lead.
“It was a gritty win,” NU coach Tim Miles said. “We did enough on defense. We buckled down at the end and made enough hustle plays to win.
“The question was, 'Are we going to hang our heads and go away, or find a way to win?'”
Center Andre Almeida, who at halftime had one point and three fouls, produced two big late-game plays in his nine-point second half.
His 8-foot bank shot with 4:51 left got Nebraska the lead at 56-55. Then with 1:47 to play, Almeida's dunk off a feed from wing Dylan Talley put NU ahead for good. Almeida also added six rebounds and a career-high four blocks.
Tulane guard Jordan Callahan got fouled shooting a 3-pointer with 1:06 left, but missed all three free throws.
Nebraska got 14 points each from Talley and guard Ray Gallegos. The two hit a combined 7 of 13 3s.
Those efforts were needed to overcome Tulane forward Josh Davis. The 6-foot-8 transfer from North Carolina State carved up NU for 19 points and 13 rebounds.
“He was a nightmare,'' Miles said. “I've got a new nickname for that guy. He was a major problem for us.”
Nebraska had held the lead since the score was 2-0, but Tulane finally reclaimed it at 40-39 with 16:17 to play on Callahan's floater in the lane. He had 13 of his 16 points in the second half.
Tulane opened the game with a dunk on its first possession, then saw Nebraska score seven points in a row, including a Talley 3-pointer.
After the Green Wave closed to 13-11, Husker forward Brandon Ubel got loose for layups on three straight possessions. Then guard Mike Peltz added his first basket of the season — a 3-pointer — to put NU ahead 22-13 with 9:58 to go.
Tulane forward Kendall Timmons countered with six straight points in a stretch that saw Nebraska's lead cut to 30-28.
But Talley swished a 3 with 1:06 left to push the Husker lead at halftime to 33-28.
Tulane (3-2) controlled most of the second half until the final seven minutes. Nebraska responded to claim its second win by four points or less.
“We have to understand this is how it's going to be,” Miles said. “We have to finish with a flourish. As a coaching staff, we are enjoying winning. Our guys should feel great about winning.”
Ľ NOTES: Husker freshman Shavon Shields, sidelined for three weeks after elbow surgery, saw his first college action. The 6-foot-6 wing played six minutes in the first half, then started the second half in place of Almeida, who was in foul trouble. ... NU point guard Benny Parker left the game for a few minutes in the second half for treatment of his injured right hand, but still had seven assists. ... Nebraska's next game is at 8 p.m. Saturday at home against Kent State.
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