Nebraska rides Harley past Kansas StateFeb 21, 2008 - 6:50 AM LINCOLN, Nebraska (Ticker) -- Nebraska slowed down the nation's top freshman to pull off a big upset.
Steve Harley scored a career-high 20 points and Aleks Maric added 15 and a season-high 17 rebounds to lead the Cornhuskers to a 71-64 victory over No. 25 Kansas State in the Big 12 Conference on Wednesday night.
Despite a double-double from magnificent freshman forward Michael Beasley, the Wildcats (18-7, 8-3 Big 12) went scoreless in the final 4:50 and squandered a chance to move into a tie for the conference lead with Kansas and Texas.
"That was a very good team we played tonight," Cornhuskers coach Doc Sadler said. "We are trying to build something and this was just the first step. This is probably the biggest win since I've been here."
Beasley, who was coming off a 40-point performance in Saturday's 100-63 victory over Missouri, finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds. He was held under 20 points for just the second time in his last 11 games as Nebraska used a box-and-1 defense.
"I'm a quick learner, I didn't wait for them to score 10 straight," Sadler said. "You have to pick your poison. You can't shut down Michael Beasley. I don't know what their offensive plan was, but we made plays on the defensive end."
Nebraska (15-9, 4-7) also failed to register a field goal in the final 4:50, but scored its last six points at the free-throw line to avenge a 74-59 defeat at Kansas State on February 6.
After Blake Young scored five straight points to help the Wildcats forge a 47-44 lead, the Cornhuskers responded with a 10-2 run that was capped by a goaltending call on Beasley to make it 54-49 midway through the second half.
"In 23 years of coaching it's the most embarrassing defensive performance of any team I've ever coached," Kansas State coach Frank Martin said. "And that includes 13-year olds. I saw them shooting uncontested layup after uncontested lay-up after uncontested layup after uncontested layup. And whenever they choose to miss, then I saw them getting offensive rebounds."
Although Nebraska hit nine of its first 10 shots from the floor after the break, Kansas State stayed close as Beasley scored eight straight points to whittle the deficit to 60-58.
"He's going to have moments in every game like that, where he just starts making shot," said Martin of Beasley. "We weren't very patient trying to get him touches."
Ryan Anderson answered with a three-point play for the Cornhuskers but Young drilled a 3-pointer to pull the Wildcats within 65-64 with 4:50 left. Neither team scored from the floor thereafter.
Anderson scored 11 points for the Cornhuskers, who shot 51 percent (27-of-53) and held a 33-29 edge on the boards.
"Just attack them," Maric said. "I think if we took care of our defensive boards, obviously they had a size advantage, but if we took care of defensive boards it gives us more possessions, and a better chance to win the game."
Freshman Jacob Pullen had 15 points and Bill Walker 12 for Kansas State. Walker picked up a technical foul for excessive celebration with 9:38 to play and was benched the remainder of the game.
"If you go play for Doc Sadler, you'll understand that losing's not acceptable," Martin said. "They had lost two games in a row and they came out playing like a team that wanted to win. They fought us, they punched us in the mouth and we ran away."
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
KANSAS ST (25) 31 33 64
NEBRASKA 34 37 71 FINAL
Feb 20 11:10 PM
- NCAA BB
(25) KANSAS ST 31
NEBRASKA 34 HALFTIME
Feb 20 9:50 PM
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