Huskers Pick Up Road Win at Missouri

By NU Athletic Communications
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Columbia, Mo. --- A short-handed Missouri squad put up a valiant effort but Nebraska, behind double-doubles from Aleks Maric and Ryan Anderson, pulled off its first road win of the year with a 66-62 victory over Missouri at the Mizzou Arena on Wednesday. With the victory, Nebraska snapped a seven-game road losing streak dating to last season and won in Columbia for the second straight year.

NU improved to 12-6 on the year and became the final team to earn a Big 12 victory this season as it moved to 1-4 in conference action. Missouri, who was playing without five suspended players, fell to 12-9 on the season and 2-4 in league action.

Maric had 13 points and 13 rebounds for his third double-double of the season before fouling out for the first time this year. Anderson added his first career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Anderson's final basket to give him the double-double came with 16 seconds left and Nebraska leading by just two points.

Steve Harley combined with Anderson for the Huskers' last eight points of the game over the final 2:56. Harley scored a game-high 15 points, sharing top honors with Missouri's DeMarre Carroll, who also had a double-double.

After being held scoreless against Kansas on five days before, Maric came out strong, scoring the Huskers' first six points of the contest. Sek Henry, who came off the bench for the first time in conference play, also got off to a hot start as he drained a 3-pointer at the 15:55 mark to give Nebraska a 9-3 advantage.

Henry added another trey less than two minutes later and Anderson dropped in his first 3-pointer at the 13:14 mark to give NU a 15-8 lead. The Huskers hit 6-of-16 from 3-point range in the opening frame, but went just 0-for-3 in the second period. Nebraska cut down the 3-point attempts but traded it for trips to the charity stripe. NU hit just 2-of-4 from the free throw line in the first half and was 12-of-17 in the second period.

J.T. Tiller produced three straight baskets to pull MU within one,15-14, with just over 11 minutes remaining before the Huskers responded with a quick 6-0 run. Harley scored off a nice pass from Maric while breaking the Tigers' full-court pressure and Anderson followed with another trey. Cookie Miller's free throw gave NU a 21-14 lead before Carroll ended the Tigers' drought with a layup.

After Nebraska went nearly four minutes without a point, Henry again came up big as he dropped in his third 3-pointer of the half -- tying his career high for a game -- and Maric added another offensive board and putback for his fifth basket of the opening period. Maric recorded a double-double in the first half with a rebound of a Strowbridge miss, but was called for his second foul on the follow at the 2:09 mark.

Missouri kept it tight, trailing by just two points at the intermission behind a 7-0 run over the final 1:20 of the half. Five of the points came on free throws as the Huskers were called for 12 fouls in the opening period, putting MU at the line 10 times. Carroll hit three of the free throws and Matt Lawrence added two while Vaidotas Volkus scored on a layup after a wild scramble with 13 seconds left before intermission.

Henry scored 12 of his 14 points in the opening frame but the Huskers led by just two after hitting only 34.3 percent from the field. Nebraska finished the game hitting only 39.7 percent, the fourth time in five league contests NU has shot less than 40 percent from the floor.

The Tigers continued playing with high energy to open the second period. Nebraska scored the first four points before MU reeled off six straight to tie the game on Carroll's layup at the 16:30 mark. Matt Lawrence missed an open 3-pointer on the Tigers' next possession that would have given MU its first lead of the game.

Anderson responded with a basket in traffic and free throw for a conventional three-point play to put Nebraska back on top. After Carroll added his third straight basket to pull Missouri within one, the Huskers moved the lead back to three on Maric's dunk off a nifty pass from Harley who had driven into the lane.

The Huskers suffered a blow when Maric picked up his fourth foul with 12:10 remaining as Volkus made a strong drive to the lane and was fouled. He made it a three-point play to pull MU within one, 45-44. Ade Dagunduro responded for Nebraska, tipping in a putback off a Henry miss to give the Huskers a three-point cushion.

The affair turned into a see-saw battle as neither team was able to separate itself by more than six points down the stretch. Nebraska went ahead 58-52 on Chris Balham's putback at the 6:32 mark before Missouri answered with a 6-0 run to knot the game on Matt Lawrence's basket with just over three minutes remaining in the contest.

After a Harley jumper put Nebraska ahead by two, the Huskers got a stop and looked to gain momentum until Maric was called for his fifth foul -- the first time he has fouled out this season -- and gave MU the ball back trailing by two with 2:20 to play.

Following Volkus's basket to tie the game at 60, the Huskers drained the shot clock and Harley made a strong move from outside the arc into the lane and dropped in a floater to give NU a two-point cushion with 1:17 remaining in the contest. Following two misses on the Tigers' end, Harley came away with the rebound and Nebraska brought the ball across before Coach Doc Sadler called the team's last timeout to set up the final exciting 48.6 seconds.

Miller, who had been injured earlier in the period and returned to the game, set up a shot with less than 30 seconds left, but he came up short on a drive to the basket. On the following trip downcourt, Anderson jumped the lane and intercepted the Tigers' pass and went the distance, scoring with 16.3 seconds left to give NU a 64-60 advantage.

After a miss on the other end, Harley was fouled while collecting the rebound and nailed both free throws to ice the contest. It was his third straight game in double figures as he has averaged 15 points per game in that span to lead the team.

The Huskers return to action on Saturday, Feb. 2, when NU plays host to Iowa State at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The Huskers and Cyclones will tip off at 3 p.m. in a game seen regionally around the country on ESPN Plus. Check local listings for complete coverage.

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