Huskers Fall to Iowa State, 88-75

Despite a near double-double from Wes Wilkinson, Iowa State spoiled Nebraska's bid for its best conference start in 30 years with an 88-75 victory over the Huskers Tuesday evening at the Devaney Center.

Wilkinson finished with 19 points, including 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point range and matched his career best in 3-pointers set earlier this season against Northern Colorado. He also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds in 27 minutes despite being in foul trouble for most of the first half.Wilkinson was one of three Huskers to finish in double figures, as NU dipped to 12-4 overall and 2-1 in the league. Marcus Walker and Aleks Maric finished with 14 and 13 points, respectively.

Iowa State (12-5, 2-2 Big 12) broke a two-game losing streak behind the play of Curtis Stinson and Will Blalock, who combined for 48 points and 13 assists in a winning effort.

Stinson finished with a game-high 27 points on 10-of-19 shooting while adding six assists and five steals, while Blalock totaled 21 points, including four 3-pointers, and a game-high seven assists. Four Cyclones finished in double figures as the Cyclones hit 52.7 percent of its shots from the floor to become the first team to shoot over 50 percent against a Husker defense this season.

ISU did most of its damage from 3-point range, hitting half of its 20 shots from beyond the arc, including one stretch where they hit 14-of-19 from long distance. ISU's 88 points were the most by a Husker opponent in more than two years.

In the first half, NU trailed 18-16 before Marcus Perry's 3-pointer began a spurt of eight unanswered points for Nebraska, helping NU to build a 24-17 lead after Jamel White's 3-pointer at the 8:52 mark.  The lead would be short-lived as ISU took control over the next five minutes, using a 14-0 spurt of its own to regain the lead for good. Jiri Hubalek's jumper pushed the Cyclones lead to 30-24 with 3:38 left before intermission.

The Huskers climbed back into the contest, pulling within 32-30 after a pair of Charles Richardson free throws, but the Cyclones got hot from 3-point range. Blalock and John Neal turned a two-point game into an 11-point Cyclone advantage by hitting from long range with Blaylock's 3-pointer with two seconds left in the half giving ISU a 41-30 lead at the break.

Behind the shooting of Wilkinson, Nebraska made a late run, as the senior scored nine straight points for the Huskers during a 9-4 spurt to close to within 74-65 after his second straight 3-pointer with 3:12 remaining. That would be as close as the Huskers would get as two baskets by Shawn Taggert and a Stinson free throw pushed the lead to 14 with 2:18 remaining as ISU handed NU just its second home loss in 13 contests this season.

The Huskers return to action this Saturday, Jan. 21, when they travel to Kansas. Tipoff for the ESPN national telecast is set for 3 p.m. (central). The game can also be heard on the Pinnacle Sports Network with Randy Lee and Matt Davison calling all of the action.

Nebraska Postgame Notes

• Nebraska fell to 12-4 overall with the loss and dropped to 2-1 in the Big 12 Conference. The Huskers' 2-1 start leaves them in a tie for third place in the league standings and matches last year's 2-1 start to Big 12 play.

• Nebraska trailed 41-30 at the intermission, marking the second time this season that the Huskers had trailed at the break at home. Nebraska entered the game with a 1-2 record  when trailing at the break, including a 1-0 mark at home. The win came in the league opener as the Huskers came back from an eight-point halftime deficit, 33-25, to win 59-58 on Joe McCray's 3-pointer with less than six seconds remaining.

Wes Wilkinson hit his first 3-point attempt of the game, snapping  a streak of five straight misses over the first two league games. The Big 12's 3-point percentage leader, Wilkinson finished 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.

• Wilkinson finished the game with 19 points and nine rebounds, just missing his third double-double of the season. Wilkinson scored more points against the Cyclones than in the first two league contests combined, as he had just two points against Oklahoma and four against Kansas State.

• Jamel White came off the bench to post three assists and three steals. The three steals were a season high, topping his previous best of two against Creighton, while the three assists were his most since posting four against Alabama A&M on Dec. 21.

• Iowa State's 41 points in the opening period were the most NU had allowed in the first frame this season and tied for the second-most points for any half until the Cyclones posted an opponent season-high 47 points in the second frame. NU allowed 45 points to Marquette in the second frame and 41 to South Dakota State after the break.

• Marcus Walker scored 14 points and had four assists, the first assists of his career in conference play. Walker did not record a point or assist against Oklahoma and had 10 points and no assists on the road against Kansas State.

• Nebraska had not allowed a team to hit 50.0 percent from the field this year until the Cyclones connected on 52.7 percent.  Iowa State's 88 points were also a Nebraska opponent season high, topping the 74 points scored by Marquette and Florida State.

• The Huskers posted 10 steals on the night, including three by White, and two by Aleks Maric and Marcus Walker. The 10 steals equalled Nebraska's season originally set against Marquette.

Nebraska Coach Barry Collier quotes
On the game
"It was really fast paced. Our defense was not good enough. I don't think our trapping was aggressive enough and disruptive enough. They played really well and shot the ball better from three-point range than they had been and they're good shooters. Offensively, we were okay. I thought that Curtis Stinson had a good game. They played very aggressive on defense and a number of their scores came off our turnovers."

On the difference in the game
"Their strength on the perimeter. They did a great job handling the trapping that we did. We got some turnovers on them, but they largely made good decisions. We did get some turnovers but you're in big trouble when they're scoring at the rate that they did when they're not turning the ball over. Their perimeter players had a big impact."

On the Huskers' early foul trouble
"We got hurt with foul trouble early. We played without Wes (Wilkinson) and Jason (Dourisseau) for a large period of the first half. We brought Wes in at the end of the half because I thought we had to play one of them. Jason and Wes have had a very positive impact this year and we need those guys in the game."

On Iowa State's run to close the first half
"They made a 9-0 run to close the first half. They executed well. I thought we got good pressure on the last shot, but (Will) Blalock made it and they certainly deserved to make it."

On losing for the first time in league play
"We're capable of playing better. I think they played really well. We had an opportunity (to go 3-0 in the Big 12) and we didn't close it. We have to go out and do a better job at home and get another win on the road soon."

On senior forward Wes Wilkinson
"Wes has been working really hard on his shooting all season long. Even when he hasn't been making his shots, he's still been contributing. Eventually, you think a good shooter's going to come out of (a slump) and he did tonight going 5-for-7."

Nebraska player quotes
Guard Jason Dourisseau

On the Huskers' next game
"It's a tough loss but it's not the end of the season.  We will move on from this and move forward.  It's tough to swallow, but it's just one game, and I'm confident we will pick it back up."

On the offense
"This is the first team that zoned us.  They pressed us, but we still have good shooters.  We lost the game on defense, with turnovers and they out rebounded us.

Guard Wes Wilkinson
On coming to play with extra motivation
"I wanted to come in here and attack the rim, get offensive offensive rebounds and play good defense."

On the tough loss
"We came out flat and the defense wasn't on point.  We need to play with intensity every game."

On bouncing back
"We have to use it as extra motivation and practice twice as hard."

Iowa State Head Coach Wayne Morgan quotes
On the game
"We really played well tonight, stuck together, and it was probably the best 40 minutes of basketball we've had this year. It was a tremendous effort. A lot of guys got in and played well."

On the play of his team's backcourt
"It doesn't get any better than that. John Neal was fantastic tonight. He really played well. They all chipped in and played hard. They all helped us to win. Jiri (Hubalek) made some big shots in he first half, and Shawn (Taggert) made some big shots in the second half. All of those guys did a good job when they came in. Anthony (Davis) also came in and gave us some good minutes."

On Curtis Stinson
"He came in here and had a phenomenal all-around game. On a very sad note, Curtis' mother's heart stopped two hours before the game. They rushed her to the hospital, and even right now we are not sure what happened. For him to come out and play the game that he played under that tragedy is incredible."

Box Score

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