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Nebraska pulls away from Eastern after half

LINCOLN, Neb. – Jorge Brian Diaz scored 14 points, 12 of them in the first half, as Nebraska cruised by Eastern Washington 72-42 Saturday for its seventh consecutive men’s basketball win.

Nebraska (9-2) held Eastern Washington (3-7) to just four field goals in the game’s first 16 minutes. The Huskers opened their first double-digit lead on Diaz’s put back with 6:54 left and went up 25-11 on Drake Beranek’s 3-pointer 40 seconds later.

Eastern Washington hit just 6 of 16 shots in the first half to trail 33-22 at intermission. The Eagles got no closer in the second half, scoring only four points in the first eight minutes of the period. Nebraska used a 9-0 run to go up 47-26 on Andre Almeida’s short inside shot with 11:44 remaining.

Eastern Washington struggled from the floor the entire game, shooting 21 percent. The 42 points are the fewest Eastern Washington has scored this season.

“I thought we played hard defensively,” Eastern Washington coach Kirk Earlywine said. “We caused them some problems with our pressure. But it was the same old story. Our turnovers continue to be a problem. We were down 11 at halftime and they had 11 points off turnovers.”

Eastern Washington committed 17 turnovers – the same number it averages per game.

“When we have the number of small players on the floor that we do that can handle the ball, I don’t understand why we continue to turn the ball over as much as we do,” Earlywine said. “Then we come out after halftime and have seven turnovers in the first eight minutes of the second half.”

“It’s easy to look at the guards, but over half of our turnovers are by our forwards, and that happens game after game after game,” he added. “At some point we have to stop giving possessions away.”

Kevin Winford was the only Eastern Washington player in double figures with 14 points.

Diaz led Nebraska with 14 points, 12 of them in the first half. Lance Jeter added 11 points and Caleb Walker had 10.

“Tonight we had a really big advantage inside,” said the 6-foot-11 Diaz. “We tried to get the ball inside and if we didn’t have a shot, we’d kick it back to the guards. We’re getting a lot more comfortable with the offense. We’re getting that rhythm.”

The Eagles’ next game will be its first meeting with the South Dakota Coyotes on Monday in Vermillion, S.D.


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