Huskers deal blow to ISU NCAA hopes

A game of eleven on six might be deemed unfair, but give the Nebraska Cornhuskers credit for using their entire squad as they beat the undermanned Iowa State Cyclones down on Sunday. A 76-69 loss to the visiting Cornhuskers, on the heels of a 75-69 loss to Texas A&M last Tuesday, have considerably dimmed Iowa State's post-season prospects.

Nebraska managed a 51-37 edge over the Cyclones on the boards, and their numerous putbacks were key in holding ISU at bay. Eleven players posted substantial minutes for Nebraska, while Iowa State relied on just six players almost exclusively.

Two of those fouled out - Curtis Stinson at the 1:24 mark and Rashon Clark with :30 left in the game. Nebraska lost John Turek to the whistle as 50 fouls were called on the two teams in a rough and tumble game.

"Nebraska played hard," Cyclone coach Wayne Morgan said. "They did to us what we did to them there."

Morgan believed the rebounding margin told the story of the game, particularly on the offensive glass. Cyclone inside players Damion Staple and Rashon Clark both found themselves in early foul trouble and it was tough for ISU around the basket as wave after wave of Nebraska big men entered the game.

Cyclone center Jared Homan stood his ground, however, and led the team with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Will Blalock added 15 for the home team and Rashon Clark was the only other ISU player in double figures with 11.

Forward Jason Dourisseau led the way for Nebraska with 19 points, but four other Cornhuskers were also in double figures.

Cyclone star Curtis Stinson left the game when he re-injured his hand in the second half, and never seemed to get into his normal rhythm. His trademark tear drop shots weren't falling and after he made an unbelievable spin move on a basket in the first half, Nebraska immediately executed a fast break followed by a dunk and Stinson never seemed to get untracked after that.

"I never thought there was a time we had consistent rhythm," Morgan said. "We're not a good shooting team, but we had some clean looks in the first half."

The statistics bear Morgan out, as the Cyclones completed just one of 11 three point attempts. Nebraska, meanwhile, hit on five of 16. For the game, Iowa State shot 37.7% and the Cornhuskers hit 40%.

Center Jared Homan thought the intensity wasn't there today for Iowa State. But he also conceded that the recent seven game winning streak might have taken it out of the Cyclones and with their lack of bench strength, they may be leg weary.

One of the most telling statistics was bench scoring - NU 29, ISU 13.

This was probably the game that people have been fearing all along, that foul trouble and lack of depth would come up to bite the Cyclones in a game that many believed was totally winnable.

But Homan offered encouragement for the future as he said the Cyclones have played well when their backs are against the wall.

That's definitely the case now as they slip to 15-10 for the season and 7-7 in the conference with a Wednesday night home date against Missouri looming ahead.

After the game, Iowa State athletic director Bruce Van De Velde voiced a vote of confidence for coach Wayne Morgan, his staff and the Cyclones.

"Hang in there, because better days are ahead," Van De Velde said. "We're winning and we're going to win more. They've been working with a short stick and to accomplish what we've accomplished, I give them a lot of credit."

Van De Velde brought up the point that there is only one player left from the squad two years ago (Homan) and two freshmen and two sophomores played most of the minutes.

"I'm really proud of the team and the coaching staff," he said. "I'd give them high marks. But to get in the NCAA, we've got to win some games."

After Sunday's loss, that's the only option available for the Cyclones if they want to reach their season goals.

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