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Updated: Sunday, February 1, 2004 5:02 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(25) Oklahoma 52, Nebraska 50

LINCOLN, Nebraska (Ticker) -- Oklahoma is climbing out of an early hole in the Big 12 Conference.

Freshman Lawrence McKenzie's 3-pointer snapped a tie with 2:13 remaining as the 25th-ranked Sooners overcame a 10-minute scoring drought in the second half and held on for a 52-50 victory over Nebraska.

Oklahoma (13-4, 3-3) has won three straight following its first 0-3 start in conference play since 1980-81.

"This whole season, each game has a different person step up and today was my day, so I stepped it up," McKenzie said.

After building a 36-21 halftime lead, the Sooners scored just nine points in the first 17 minutes of the second half.

Jabahri Brown's jumper made it 44-30 with 13:28 remaining before the Cornhuskers (11-6, 1-5) went on a 15-0 run over the next 10 minutes and took a 45-44 lead on Brian Conklin's two free throws with 3:28 left.

"There was an about-face in the second half and we ended up with a pretty tight game," Nebraska coach Barry Collier said. "It came down to us finishing off with some good defense."

But McKenzie, who paced the Sooners with 18 points and 10 rebounds, hit 1-of-2 from the line to tie it with 3:08 to go. On Oklahoma's next possession, McKenzie drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key over Nebraska's Jake Muhleisen to put the Sooners ahead.

"There are certain kids you recruit that you know have a chance to be something special," Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson said of McKenzie. "He has a tremendous feel for the game of basketball."

Jason Detrick's jumper gave Oklahoma 50-45 lead with a minute remaining. Marcus Neal's 3-pointer pulled Nebraska within 50-48 with 45 seconds left but the Sooners answered on Brown's jumper with 12 seconds to go. Conklin scored a meaningless basket for the Cornhuskers with a second remaining.

"Their defense was unlike many you play against," said Conklin, who scored 10 points off the bench. "It's like there's seven or eight of them out there. You throw a regular pass and there are three or four of them after it."

Muhleisen scored 11 points to lead Nebraska, which shot under 38 percent from the field (17-of-45). Oklahoma shot under 41 percent (20-of-49) in a game dominated by defense.

Brown chipped in with 15 points for the Sooners, who won their previous two games by double figures.


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