Nebraska coach Doc Sadler fond of Allen Fieldhouse
Though winless there, NU coach fan of Kansas' basketball home
For the past five years, Nebraska basketball coach Doc Sadler has come into Allen Fieldhouse and gone home with a loss.
The trend continued Saturday, as Kansas University held on to beat Nebraska, 63-60, and sent Sadler and the Cornhuskers out losers in their final game in Lawrence before bolting the Big 12 for the Big Ten next season.
Asked after the game if he would miss his annual trips to one of college basketball’s cathedrals, Sadler answered with an emphatic yes.
“How could you not miss coming here?” Sadler said. “You talk about the passion in this building. Wow. It’s like coming to (Nebraska’s) Memorial Stadium in football. To have a chance to play in Allen Fieldhouse … you’ve gotta be kidding me. To coach in it … you’ve got to be kidding me. Unbelievable.”
Pretty kind words from a coach who has never won at KU’s historic home court. Kansas owns four of the 10 biggest margins of victory all-time against Nebraska; the Jayhawks have won 16 straight in the series and 30 of 33 meetings since the inception of the Big 12; and NU has not defeated KU since 2004.
Stats like those made losing in their final try tough for several Cornhuskers.
Taking the loss especially hard was sophomore forward Brandon Ubel, who played his high school ball at Blue Valley West in Overland Park and grew up going to games at Allen Fieldhouse.
“I really wanted to get that win,” Ubel said. “We were so close. We came in with the idea of winning the game, and it’s definitely disappointing. The fact that I’m not going to be able to come back here and give it another go is one of the more disappointing things.”
Nebraska is 23-88 all-time in Lawrence, including a 7-51 mark at KU’s current home arena. The last time the Cornhuskers won at Kansas was in 1999.
That almost changed Saturday, as a scrappy bunch of Cornhuskers took Kansas to the wire. Nebraska led, 30-25 at halftime, owned a 10-point advantage at one point in the second half and outrebounded Kansas, 43-32, including 19-9 on the offensive glass.
“That was kind of the gameplan, to keep ’em off the boards,” Ubel said.
Despite the final outcome, Ubel said playing in Lawrence two years in a row was something he’d always remember.
“It’s definitely a dream come true,” he said. “I grew up coming into Allen Fieldhouse watching Paul Pierce, Nick Collison and all those guys. Coming in here’s amazing, but, obviously, we hoped for a different result.”