The Wildcats entered halftime leading 42-28, but Nebraska fought back. Fresh out of the locker room, the Huskers went on a 7-0 which was capped off by a Lance Jeter three pointer, and quickly, the Wildcat lead was cut to seven. But Kansas St. responded after Coach Frank Martin called a timeout.
Jacob Pullen and Jamar Samuels each nailed a three pointer, and the Wildcat lead was up to 13, which they would never let up. So what happened during the Wildcat timeout that changed the momentum of the game?
"I just told them, I'm not happy with this," said Kansas State Head Coach Frank Martin. "We spoke about it at halftime, but they policed themselves in the timeout. When you got upperclassman, you got to trust them, and they responded properly."
Nebraska's biggest issues came on defense. Nebraska, who has built their identity on defense, allowed 76 points to the Wildcats, which is the second-highest total that the Huskers have surrendered in conference play (Kansas scored 84 points on January 13th). So needless to say, Doc Sadler was not impressed with his team's effort on defense.
"Obviously you want to pressure, but you want to make (Jacob) Pullen and (Denis) Clemente drivers and everyone else," said Doc Sadler. "You really want to pressure them and be in a position to make them shooters, and we were out there trying to guard them and pressure them."
Nebraska's biggest difficult was containing the Wildcats in the paint. Denis Clemente drilled five three-pointers in his 23 point effort, but Kansas State scored 38 points in the paint, including, 15 points and nine rebounds from Wildcat forward Jamar Samuels. Nebraska also was outrebounded by nine in the loss. Nebraska appeared to be outmuscled in the paint, but Doc Sadler refused to believe that his team was intimidated by the Wildcat big men.
"I would hope that I didn't put any players on the floor that were intimidated individually," said Sadler. "I would hope that's not the case. I mentioned the strength to our coaching staff after the game. We have to do something to have guys look like that. We've committed to four days a week in the weight room and we're not even close to guys like that. Maybe it's because we're young. I don't know."
Life doesn't get any easier for the struggling Cornhuskers. Nebraska has a road trip planned for Saturday; #1 Kansas at Phog Allen Fieldhouse. With a struggling team facing a tremendous challenge, all Nebraska can do is focus on cleaning up the mistakes.
"Maybe we were trying too hard, maybe that's what it was," said Sadler of his team's effort. "If that's the case, I can live with that. You can clean up some mistakes, but you're not going to win any games until you do. If it's because they want it so bad, and I hope that's the case, then I can live with that, but we didn't compete like we normally do."