SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. – Nebraska coach Tim Miles didn't have too much to complain about when it came to his defense. The offense, that's another story.
E.C. Mathews scored 26 points, including six in overtime, to help the University of Rhode Island upset No. 21 Nebraska 66-62 on Saturday night for its first win over a ranked opponent since 1998.
Jared Terrell added 12 points, including two 3-pointers in the extra session to the delight of the sellout crowd. Mathews added 10 rebounds as the Rams (3-0) outrebounded the Cornhuskers 49-36.
"You don't give another team 25, 26 opportunities and consider yourself a good basketball team," said Miles. "We just need to make better decisions. I thought our defense was really sound. I think we held them to 19 points on 34 possessions the first half. Those numbers are ridiculous. ... The problem was we were anemic on offense, and I've got to look at that."
Plagued once again by a slow start, the Cornhuskers (2-1) shot just 21 percent from the field in the first half, going 2 for 11 from behind the arc. But Rhode Island wasn't faring any better, making just a quarter of its field goal attempts and going 0 for 11 from the perimeter.
After six ties and five lead changes, Nebraska, which was led by Shavon Shields, who had 25 points and nine rebounds, carried a four-point lead into halftime, 23-19.
URI regained the lead in the second half thanks to an 8-0 run sparked by a three-point play by Matthews that put URI up 31-27.
The lead changed hands seven times over the next 14:56. After URI went ahead 53-51 on two free throws by Martin and a layup by Mathews, Shields made a basket to send the game into overtime.
"We'll bounce back," Miles said, "What's great about basketball is that there's no mourning process. You just pick yourself up, strap it on and go out and compete. That's what's great about it. We don't have a week to dissect every little deal about it. We've just got to figure out how to be better, in one day really because we need an off-day here. And I look forward to that challenge, too."
Nebraska: Terran Petteway succeeded in reaching double figures for the 14th-straight game, but it took him longer than usual. After averaging 24 points in his first two games, the Wooden Award candidate had just five points in the first half, going 2 for 9 from the floor, and finished with 15 points.
Rhode Island: The Rams improved to 13-91 against ranked opponents.
URI: plays Kansas at Orlando Classic on Thursday.
Nebraska: hosts Omaha on Friday.
URI last beat a ranked opponent on Dec. 21, 1998, when the Rams, led by Lamar Odom, beat No. 25 Utah at the Great Eight Classic.