Huskers fall at Missouri

Following the near-victory against the no. 2 Kansas Jayhawks, the Huskers went into Columbia trying to capitalize on almost beating the best team they would face all year. They couldn't, the Huskers losing to the Tigers, 80-70.

Columbia, Mo. – Missouri used an 18-5 run midway through the second half to hold of Nebraska, 80-70, Saturday at the Mizzou Arena.


Freshmen Joe McCray and Aleks Maric combined for 30 points to lead the Huskers, but NU dropped its third straight conference game as the Tigers were the first team this season to shoot better than 50 percent from the floor against NU. Missouri hit 54.3 percent from the field, including 60.0 percent in the second period, while the Huskers hit 44.8 percent from the floor.


After a pair of Linas Kleiza free throws put MU ahead 44-39 with 17:12 remaining in the game, Nebraska made a surge to pull within one on three occasions before the Tigers pulled away.


Marcus Neal Jr. converted a conventional three-point play to cut MU's advantage to 48-47 at teh 14:40 mark and following another pair of Kleiza shots from the charity stripe, McCray hit a jumper to pull NU to 50-49. Maric then got the Huskers to within one at 52-51 at the 12:30 mark before MU's decisive stretch, which included a 9-0 run capped by a Kevin Young free throw with 4:25 left that put Missouri ahead 70-56.  


Kleiza finished with a game-high 31 points, including hitting 15-of-17 free throw attempts, while picking up 10 rebounds. The Tigers hit 26-of-31 from the free throw line while the Huskers hit 8-of-10.


In the first half, Nebraska took an 8-7 lead at the 15:12 mark on Wes Wilkinson's three-pointer before Missouri used a 12-0 run to gain a 19-8 advantage. NU then used a 12-4 run, including four points each by McCray and Maric, to pull within 23-20 at 7:19 on a Maric layup.


Trailing 27-20, the Huskers started hitting from outside the arc, as Wilkinson drained a pair of treys sandwiched around threes from Jake Muhleisen and McCray. Wilkinson's second three-pointer in the stretch gave NU a 35-33 lead with 57 left in the opening period. Wilkinson then added a dunk off a missed shot for a four-point Husker advantage before the Tigers scored the final five points of the half in 19 seconds to a take a 38-37 lead into the break.


 McCray, who broke Eric Piatkowski's school record for most three-pointers by a freshman with his 47th of the year, finished with a team-high 16 points, while Maric added a career-high 14 points off the bench for Nebraska. Wilkinson added 14 points and six boards, as the Huskers earned a 31-26 advantage on the glass, while Muhleisen had 10 points, including a pair of three-pointers as Nebraska had a season-high 10 treys.


The Huskers return to action on Wednesday, Jan. 26, when Nebraska plays host Texas A&M at the Devaney Center. The game will tip off at 7:07 p.m. and can be heard on the Pinnacle Sports Network and, and will be televised by FSN Midwest within the state of Nebraska.


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