Texas Tech Falls in Big 12 Tournament

Andy Ellis, left, reaches <br>for a loose ball <br>during Thursday's loss<br> to Nebraska.

Andy Ellis, left, reaches
for a loose ball
during Thursday's loss
to Nebraska.
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March 4, 1999

AP Sports Writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Texas Tech turned the ball over more than it could shoot it in the first half, and the results were predictable.

Nebraska clogged up the Tech passing lanes to force 18 turnovers, 15 of them steals, in the first half on the way to 69-50 victory over the Red Raiders in a first-round game of the Big 12 tournament. Tech got off only 17 shots in the first half.

Venson Hamilton had five of the first-half steals and scored 15 points for the Huskers (19-11).

Nebraska finished with 23 steals, easily breaking the tournament record of 13 set by Texas against Missouri on March 7, 1997, and setting a new school season record. Nebraska had 319 steals to set the record last year and now has made 322 this year.

Texas Tech (13-17) ended up with 26 turnovers, breaking the tournament record of 23 set by Texas A&M in 1997. The Red Raiders made only 19 field goals in the game.

The Huskers converted the Tech gifts to go on a 16-3 run in the first half and advance to the second round Friday against third-seeded Kansas. Kansas had a first-round bye.

Cookie Belcher, the Big 12's leading thief at 3.1 per game, had three in the first half to move past Erick Strickland on the Nebraska all-time list.

Belcher finished with four steals and has 91 in his career. Strickland had 89 steals in 1996.

Hamilton had six points in the run that turned a 9-9 tie with 13:57 to play in the first half into a 25-12 Huskers lead with 4:04 remaining.

The run included a spectacular dunk by Andy Markowski on a three-on-one break after the Huskers trapped Stan Bonewitz along the sideline and took the ball away.

Bonewitz hit a 3-pointer with 3:46 left in the half to finally end the Huskers' blitz.

Tech played a second game without injured forward Cliff Owens, but his presence would not have mattered as the Red Raiders turned the ball over on their first two possessions of the second half and trailed 42-17 with 16:02 to play on a basket by Belcher.

Louis Truscott had 12 points, Larry Florence had 11 and Belcher finished with 10 for the Huskers.

Rayford Young scored 10 to lead A&M.



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