A night after exploding for a season-high 89 points against Central Michigan, Nebraska was on the other side of a hot start against Texas-El Paso.
Tim Miles' Huskers fell to UTEP on Sunday night.
The Miners ran out to a 13-0 lead, and Nebraska didn't score its first points of the game until the 13:33 mark of the first half, as UTEP never trailed and coasted to a 68-52 win over the Huskers in the title game of the Sun Bowl Invitational on Sunday night.
"That energy level was real good by the Miners," Nebraska coach Tim Miles said. "Our guys got a couple good looks and missed them, and you look up and it's 15-0 or whatever it was."
Nebraska guard Ray Gallegos led Nebraska with a career-high 22 points on 9 of 15 shooting from the field. The junior guard was the lone bright spot offensively for the Huskers, who shot 37 percent from the field and 2 of 13 from the 3-point line.
Nebraska (8-4) was particularly dismal offensively in the first half, as the Huskers were just 6-of-27 shooting before halftime and went into the break trailing 36-16. That was in stark contrast to UTEP, which went 4 for 7 from the 3-point line in the first half.
Nebraska began the second half trailing by 20, and slowly chipped away at UTEP's lead as Miles switched around his lineups. Nebraska played most of the second half without point guards Benny Parker and Mike Peltz on the floor. Miles said he was looking to get shots early in possessions and push the pace a bit as the Huskers attempted to chip back into the lead.
"I thought we had a better tempo and rhythm to our offense," Miles said. "We weren't so hung out to dry at the end of the possessions."
Nebraska trailed 56-36 before Gallegos and Brandon Ubel, who finished with 11 points and six rebounds, keyed a 13-4 Nebraska surge that pulled the Huskers within 60-49 after an Andre Almeida basket with 3:27 left. That would be as close as the Huskers got, as Tucker drained a long 3-pointer and Nebraska never got within 12 in the final four minutes.
"Ray was great the second half, they did a marvelous job," Miles said. "They're going to deny him catches and it takes a special player to get free of that, and I think Ray did a nice job of that."
Gallegos made the Sun Bowl Invitational all-tournament team after his two solid games, but Nebraska has one final non-conference against Nicholls State on Dec. 29 before kicking off Big Ten play after the new year.
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