The big Aussie surpassed his career high just four minutes into the second period as he helped Nebraska regroup after the Cyclones pulled within 37-35 on a Curtis Stinson jumper. The Huskers, who led 35-26 at the intermission, had three turnovers in their first four offensive trips after the break but came together behind Maric, who dominated the interior against the much smaller Cyclones.
After Maric and freshman Jamel White put Nebraska back up nine at 44-35, ISU used a 7-0 run before a pair of Rahshon Clark buckets pulled ISU even at 46-all, as the Huskers were just 4-of-11 from the field to open the second period. Nebraska then used solid defensive pressure and a Marcus Perry 3-pointer and Marcus Walker jumper to surge ahead by four before Maric scored 14 of the Huskers' next 16 points to hold off each ISU charge.
Maric finished the game hitting 13-of-15 from the field and 11-of-15 from the free throw line, helping the Huskers hit a season-best 53.3 percent from the field. Nebraska limited ISU to 34.2 percent shooting while winning for the first time in league play this season when allowing more than 60 points, as the Cyclones got 23 points from Will Blalock and 15 from Stinson. NU also dominated the boards, collecting a 45-28 advantage on the glass. ISU was credited with just six turnovers and Nebraska had 19, but the Huskers countered with 19 assists, including seven each from Charles Richardson Jr. and Wes Wilkinson.
The Huskers opened the game on a hot streak, hitting 4-of-5 shots before the first media timeout while surging to a 10-4 lead behind a pair of 3-pointers from White. Maric then added four quick points to force an ISU timeout and two minutes later put Nebraska back on top by 10 points, 20-10, with a pair of free throws at the 12:31 mark.
Maric had 10 points less than eight minutes into the game and finished the opening period with 18 points, just four off his career high and the most he has ever scored in a conference game. Maric also finished the first half with eight rebounds. Last year he had 11 points and 10 rebounds in the opening frame while tying the NU freshman record with his third double-double of the season as he finished with 13 points and 12 boards.
Iowa State answered several Husker surges but could get only as close as four, 23-19, on Blalock's layup with 7:22 to play. Blalock and Stinson combined to score 12 of the Cyclones' last 13 points of the half, but Nebraska used a 9-5 run behind three baskets from Maric and White's third trey of the half to head into the locker room with a 35-26 lead. Nebraska's 35 points in the first frame tied for its most in the opening period in conference play this season.
Nebraska returns to action on Saturday, Feb. 18, when it plays host to the Texas Tech Red Raiders at the Devaney Center. The game will tip off at 3 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN+ and will be heard on the Pinnacle Sports Network. At halftime of Saturday's contest, the 1990-91 team -- the winningest squad in NU men's basketball history -- will be honored and Eric Piatkowski will be inducted into the Nebraska Basketball Hall of Fame.