LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Southern Utah's Cameron Oluyitan had no doubt that the 10-foot jumper he let go with 2 seconds left in double overtime would go in and lift the Thunderbirds to a 79-78 come-from-behind win over Nebraska Saturday.
"I work on that every day," Oluyitan said. "I was here at 7 in the morning, this morning working on that. Right when it left my hands I knew it was going in... It's my first real game-winner. I couldn't be happier."
Southern Utah (2-0) trailed Nebraska (0-2) by 11 at halftime and led only twice in the final 20 minutes of regulation.
Dwayne Morgan hit four free throws in the final 16 seconds to put the Thunderbirds up 69-66 with 4.7 seconds left. But Nebraska's Jervay Green hit a 30-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the game to its first overtime.
Both teams struggled to score in the first overtime, sending the game to the second extra period tied at 69.
The Huskers took a 76-75 lead with 1:45 left in the second overtime on a pair of Dachon Burke free throws. But Southern Utah got a Harrison Butler dunk with 41 seconds left to cut the Nebraska lead to one, setting the stage for Oluyitan's game-winner.
Nebraska saw its halftime lead cut to one by Southern Utah's Jakolby Long, whose goaltended layup made the score 54-53 with 7:43 remaining. Cam Mack responded for Nebraska, hitting two jumpers to put the Huskers back up by five.
But Nebraska couldn't stretch the lead and Southern Utah used a 5 -0 spurt to go up 65-64 on Dre Marin's 3-pointer with 1:55 left.
Nebraska led by 14 late in the first half against the cold-shooting Thunderbirds, who missed their first 11 3-point attempts and made just 30 percent of their shots in the half.
Huskers coach Fred Hoiberg was disappointed with the loss but saw improvement in his squad.
"If we continue to take steps, the results will take care of themselves," he said. "That's the biggest thing for our group right now, to continue to go out there and battle. I'm proud of the way they went out there and battled and fought. (SUU) is a good team. They're long, they're athletic and look like a lot of Big Ten teams will. Now that we've seen that length, hopefully we'll be better next time we see it."
As for Southern Utah, coach Todd Simon praised his team's tenacity and resilience as they continued to fight back in the second half and overtimes. But it was Oluyitan who put the win in perspective for the Thunderbird program.
"It's a big-time win for SUU," Oluyitan. "You don't get a lot of wins like that in the Big Sky. To come in here and beat a Big Ten team on the road is big. It's really big for SUU."
Morgan led Southern Utah with 19 points. Malzen Fausett had 13 points. Long had 11 points. Oluyitan had 11 points and Long and Marin added 10 points each for the Thunderbirds.
Kevin Cross had 19 points to lead Nebraska. Green had 18 points and Burke and Mack had 13 points each.
Nebraska: Nebraska has struggled from the 3-point line in its first two games. The Huskers hit just 6 of 26 three-point attempts in their season-opening loss to UC Riverside Tuesday. Nebraska missed its first five shots from three-point range Saturday and finished 5 of 26.
Southern Utah: Saturday's game was the first in a three week stretch that will see the T-Birds play six of seven games on the road. Their only home game will come Nov. 29 against West Coast Baptist.
Nebraska hosts South Dakota St. Friday
Southern Utah is at BYU Wednesday