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Updated: Friday, March 19, 2004 11:11 PM EST
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Nebraska 78, Niagara 70

LINCOLN, Nebraska (Ticker) -- Nate Johnson scored eight of his 17 points in the final 91 seconds, lifting Nebraska to a 78-70 victory over Niagara in a first-round NIT game.

John Turek scored 17 points and Brian Conklin added 14 for the Cornhuskers (18-12), who face Hawaii in the second round.

Nebraska was clinging to a 64-61 lead after a three-point play by Niagara's Juan Mendez, who scored 27 points. Mendez missed a potential tying 3-pointer, and Johnson - who made the game-winning shot in an opening-round win over intrastate rival Creighton - sank a jumper at the other end.

Johnson sank two free throws with 57 seconds to go, then answered two foul shots by Tremmell Darden with two of his own for a 70-63 lead with 48 seconds remaining. It was at least a two-possession game thereafter as the Cornhuskers sank their last 12 free throws.

Jason Dourisseau scored nine points, including a layup that gave Nebraska the lead for good at 54-52 with 7:57 to play.

James Reaves had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Purple Eagles (22-10), who made just 9-of-27 3-pointers and 9-of-16 free throws.

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