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Nebraska men’s basketball coach Doc Sadler said ESPN television analyst Doug Gottlieb’s use of the word “punk” to describe Husker guard Cookie Miller was “classless and unprofessional.”

Gottlieb, on ESPN’s broadcast of Wednesday’s Kansas-Nebraska game, said Miller was “acting like a punk” when he and Kansas guard Mario Little tussled on the floor. Little had possession of the ball in the scrum when Miller dived on top of Little, reached around and tried to rip the ball loose.

“You had one guy not wanting to let go,” Sadler said, “you had another guy trying to get him to let go.”

Officials called a jump ball but no foul, then stopped the game to review the play. They determined there was no inappropriate conduct that warranted a technical foul or ejection.

“I can understand commentators talking about coaches. I can understand talking about officials,” Sadler said. “But you’re talking about a hard-nosed play there, where the officials went to a monitor and they came away with a jump ball? What did he do to deserve to be called a punk?

“In my opinion, he owes Cookie an apology.”

Gottlieb, in a Thursday interview with Omaha radio station 1620 The Zone, an ESPN affiliate, said he stood by his comment.

“He absolutely was acting like a punk,” Gottlieb said. “Go back and watch the tape if you guys want, but he was acting like a punk.

“If you look at the replay, there are 10 guys on the floor, (and) nine of them just standing up, dusting themselves off, getting ready for the next play, and Cookie Miller’s trying to rip the basketball out of Mario Little’s hands. … He wasn’t throwing any punches, and he didn’t deserve to be thrown out of the game, but he was acting like a little punk.”

Gottlieb, who played guard at Oklahoma State from 1997 to 2000, said Miller’s play took away from how hard Nebraska was playing. The Huskers led by two points when the play occurred with roughly nine minutes remaining in the game, which Kansas won 68-62.

“At the same time, during the same replay, I talked about how hard Ryan Anderson was diving on the floor,” Gottlieb said. “I mean, that’s how basketball is supposed to be played.”

Sadler said Thursday afternoon he would call Gottlieb to discuss the situation.

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Miller wasn’t available for comment.

Osborne’s pep talk

Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne, at Sadler’s request, spoke to the team for 15 minutes before Thursday’s practice.

Sadler figured a pep talk was in order after the Huskers’ third straight loss, including two where breaks didn’t go their way in the final seconds. Nebraska’s next two games are on the road, beginning Saturday at Texas Tech.

“I just think that it’s good they hear the same thing from somebody else, especially from somebody who’s been through it so much,” Sadler said. “I mean, Coach has won a lot of games.”

Osborne’s message?

“It was just, ‘Guys, what you’re doing is basically going to work. You can’t continue to play that hard and it not work.’”

Dagunduro ill

Only hours after scoring a career-high 24 points in the loss to Kansas, senior guard Ade Dagunduro was sick to his stomach. Literally.

Dagunduro missed Thursday’s practice. Team doctors said Dagunduro’s stomach virus was contagious for 12 to 15 hours, “so I told him I didn’t want him here,” Sadler said.

Dagunduro, in 29 minutes, was 10-of-16 from the field, 3-of-6 from the free-throw line and had five rebounds. He didn’t score in last year’s home game against Kansas.

Reach Brian Rosenthal at 473-7436 or brosenthal@journalstar.com.

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