Travis Diener on fire, NU loses to Marquette

If there was an X-factor to the Marquette/Nebraska game, it went by the name of Travis Diener. The big red, playing perhaps their best first-half of the year couldn't continue the success. Much of their frustrations, though, were pointed squarely at one person, who's perimeter shooting buried the Huskers, NU losing 81-62.

Milwaukee ---  Nebraska held Marquette to just 39.7 percent shooting for the game, but the Golden Eagles dominated the glass and hit nearly half their shots from long range to run away with an 81-62 victory over the Huskers Tuesday in front of 12,211 fans at the Bradley Center. Marquette senior Travis Diener led the way as he scored 32 points on 8-of-15 shooting, including hitting 7-of-11 from three-point range.

MU (10-1) hit 12-of-26 from long range, but managed to convert on just 11-of-32 (34.4 percent) inside the arc. The Golden Eagles also held a 44-23 advantange on the boards after the Huskers (4-4) entered the game having outrebounded six of its first seven opponents by an average of 12 boards per game.

Nebraska came out strong, hitting a season-best 51.9 percent (14-of-27) from the field in the opening period.

Freshman Joe McCray started the scoring, hitting a three-pointer just 13 seconds into the contest. The teams went back and forth with Marquette opening a 12-7 lead just over four minutes into the game on Diener's fourth straight trey, but Nebraska battled back. The Huskers pulled ahead by one, 23-22, on Jake Muhleisen's breakaway layup at the 9:06 mark, and make it a four-point advantage with 8:28 left before the intermission on a McCray three-pointer.

But the Huskers made just three more baskets over the final eight minutes of the half as NU trailed by eight at the break, 41-33.  Marquette hit 8-of-14 from three-point range in the opening frame, including five from Diener.

Diener scored the Golden Eagles' first 12 points of the game on three-pointers, as Marquette hit six of its first seven from beyond the arc. Diener finished with a game-high 32 points along with seven assists and one turnover. Joe Chapman came off the bench to score 14 points and Steve Novak added 12 points.

Marquette relied on  a 25-6 run spanning the first and second halves to earn the victory. A 24-12 advantage on the glass fueled the run for the Golden Eagles, while Nebraska was outrebounded 22-6 on the offensive glass for the game.

McCray, who leads the team in scoring and ranks among  the top 15 in the conference, finished with a team-high 17 points on 6-of-15 shooting. McCray hit four three-pointers to move into seventh on the NU freshman three-point list, passing Brian Conklin who had 23 as a rookie in 2001.

Junior Wes Wilkinson made his second straight start, adding 12 points, including a pair of three-pointers, three assists and two blocks for the Huskers. Aleks Maric came off the bench to contribute a season-high tying 12 points with six rebounds, while Jake Muhleisen had a season-high nine points with four boards and one assist.

Marcus Neal Jr. added six assists to tie his career high for the second straight game, as the Huskers matched their season high with 18 assists for the second consecutive contest. NU also tied its season low with only 10 turnovers.

Nebraska returns to action on Dec. 30, when it makes its final nonconference road trek to Knoxville, Tenn. to take on the Tennessee Volunteers. The game between the Huskers and Vols, which will tip off at 6 p.m. CST, will be televised by FSN Midwest in the state of Nebraska and can be heard live on the Pinnacle Sports Network and The game will also be seen on ComCast Sports in the southeast.

Nebraska vs. Marquette box score

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