LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska coach Tim Miles said his Huskers played like "The Bad News Bears" in the first half but straightened themselves out to pull away to a 77-62 win over The Citadel Saturday.
Terran Petteway had 27 points, including a mid-second half dunk that gave Nebraska the lead for good.
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Nebraska (8-3) trailed The Citadel (4-9) 51-49 when Leslee Smith had a game tying dunk with 10:58 left. Petteway then stole a fumbled Bulldog dribble at the Citadel free throw line and went the length of the court for a dunk that started a 13-7 Husker run.
Deverell Biggs' put back gave Nebraska a 64-56 lead with 6:15 remaining. Nebraska took a double digit lead on Petteway's free throws that made the score 66-56 with four minutes left. The Citadel went 4 1/2 minutes without scoring during the Nebraska run.
Nebraska outscored The Citadel 26-11 in the game's final 11 minutes. Nebraska, which made just 12 of its first 22 free throws, hit 10 of its last 12 attempts to seal the win.
"We came out flat, they didn't," Petteway said. "They were the aggressor in the first half. We changed that around in the second half and ended up taking the lead. (In the last 8 minutes) we as players got together and told each other to lock in. That's when we started putting stops together."
The Nebraska second half surge came after the team got a halftime talking to from Miles who stressed taking the ball to the basket rather than shooting jump shots and tightening up on defense.
"`Love the rim' came out of my mouth at half time and there were a few expletives included, unfortunately," Miles said. "I apologize, mom. We always go to confession before Christmas, so I'll be fine.
"Citadel comes in and they just take it to us the whole time. Great energy, they were aggressive... We were out there like `The Bad News Bears.' Two guys run into each other, the ball falls out of their hands and they get a layup. Not once, not twice. Three times."
Citadel coach Chuck Driesell said his team tired down the stretch.
"We broke down in the second half," Driesell said. "I think some of it was fatigue, and some of it was obviously Nebraska. They are a big basketball team. I don't know if we got a good whistle or not, I would hope to think so. They shot 34 free throws, and we shot 14 -- you do the math. We play in the Southern Conference and they play in the Big Ten. But I am proud of our guys. It was a great team effort."
Shavon Shields scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half, hitting the first two baskets of the period to put Nebraska up 36-32. The Huskers trailed only briefly, falling behind 49-48 after Quinton Marshall's alley-oop dunk with 11:57 left.
Nebraska honored veteran official Ed Hightower during the game's final media timeout. Hightower is retiring at the end of December.