LINCOLN, NEB. - The Citadel played some of its best basketball of the season Saturday night, but it wasn't quite enough to pull off the upset at Nebraska.
The Bulldogs led in the second half and trailed by just three with 7:36 left, but wound up losing by 77-62 to the Big Ten squad at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Guard Ashton Moore led The Citadel (4-9) with 21 points, and Matt Van Scyoc and Brian White each scored 11. The Bulldogs were without forward C.J. Bray, who sprained an ankle in practice Friday.
"I told the guys, we certainly got better tonight," said Citadel coach Chuck Driesell, whose team plays next against visiting College of Charleston on Dec. 29. "We came out here to win, but we accomplished something important to us, and that is we showed some improvement."
Terran Petteway scored 27 points to lead Nebraska (8-3), but it was Shavon Shields who hit the biggest bucket of the game.
The Citadel took a 49-48 lead at 11:59 when Marshall Harris lobbed to Quinton Marshall for a dunk. The Bulldogs were within 59-56 with 7:20 left when Shields, shooting 25 percent from 3-point range, buried a trey for a 62-56 lead. That kicked off an 18-6 run for the Huskers to end the game.
"We go to a triangle-and-two defense for one possession, and a guy who shoots 25 percent from three hits one from the corner," Driesell said. "I don't know how that happens."
The Bulldogs made just 1 of 8 shots from the field in the final 7:36, with four of their 17 turnovers.
The Citadel, ranked No. 348 in one RPI rating, led No. 73 Nebraska by 32-25 with just over a minute left in the first half. But the Huskers closed the half on a 7-0 run, with Petteway hitting a trey with three seconds left to forge a 32-32 tie at the break.
Citadel players will now go home for Christmas, returning for practice on Dec. 26 before facing College of Charleston at 2:05 p.m. Dec. 29.
"It will be good for the to rest and relax for a few days and see their families," Driesell said. "But they've still got to stay in shape, and we won't have a long break. We're back at it on Dec. 26."
The Citadel's Ashton Moore (12) goes for a layup against Nebraska's Walter Pitchford (35) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)×
The Citadel's Ashton Moore (12) shoots between Nebraska's Tai Webster, left, and Terran Petteway during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)×
Nebraska's Shavon Shields (31) goes for a layup against The Citadel's Brian White, left, Marshall Harris III, bottom right, and Tom Koopman, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)×
The Citadel's Tom Koopman, top, competes for a rebound against Nebraska's Terran Petteway (5) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)×