Manhattan, Kan. --- The Nebraska Cornhuskers fell behind by 18 points and cut the deficit to just five late in the second half, but could not overcome a 35-point effort from national player of the year candidate Michael Beasley as the Huskers fell 74-59 to No. 20/24 Kansas State at Bramlage Coliseum on Wednesday night.
Nebraska, which had trailed 51-36 when KSU's Bill Walker laid in a basket at the 17:01 mark, used a 14-4 run to close with five, 55-50, on Sek Henry's 3-pointer at the 11:24 mark of the second half. NU didn't score again for more than three minutes before Henry again pulled the Huskers back within five, 57-52, with a drive into the lane for his 10th point of the game. He was one of four Huskers to record double figures, the third straight game NU had at four double-figure scorers.
Beasley and freshman Bill Walker combined for 10 straight points to put the Wildcats ahead by 15 with 2:47 to play and Nebraska never seriously threatened again. Beasley finished with 35 points on an impressive 15-of-21 shooting form the floor and the national leader in rebounding added 13 boards. Beasley's 30-point performance was the first 30-point game against Nebraska since Jarrius Jackson scored 41 against NU in Lincoln in 2006.
Walker had 17 points and nine boards for the Wildcats while the Huskers were led by 16 points and 15 rebounds from Aleks Maric, who moved into 10th place on the Nebraska career scoring chart. He now has 1,419 career points.
NU opened the game with a 4-0 run on an Ade Dagunduro drive to the basket and a Maric putback before Kansas State reeled off 12 straight points, including 10 points in a 1:21 span by Beasley. The leading contender for Big 12 Player of the Year, Beasley showed versatility by hitting jumpers in the paint and a pair of 3-pointers in the run.
Following a pair of Cookie Miller free throws, the Huskers clamped down on defense and rattled off seven points to pull within one, 14-13, at the 11:50 mark on Henry's 3-pointer. KSU responded with an 11-2 run with three 3-pointers, including two by freshman guard Jacob Pullen. After pulling ahead, Kanas State added to its lead, using an 8-0 run to surge ahead 35-21 on a conventional three-point play by Beasley at the 5:41 mark.
Beasley scored 11 of the team's 13 points over the final six minutes of the half, finishing the period with 23 points. The fourth-leading scorer in the nation and the top rebounder in the country, Beasley's total was more than the rest of his team combined and nearly matched the Huskers, as KSU led 45-30 at the break. The 45 points were two off the opponent season high for a period, as Creighton had 47 points in the opening frame in Omaha. Dagunduro led the Huskers with nine points while Maric had eight points and five rebounds.
Nebraska fell behind by 18 just before half time and trailed by 17 in the second half before battling back behind Maric, Dagunduro and Miller. NU pulled within 10 at 51-41 on Dagunduro's layup in transition. He missed the ensuing free throw as he was fouled, but KSU missed on its next three trips down before Ryan Anderson drilled his first 3-pointer to cut the deficit to seven at 51-44. Nebraska again closed to within five points three times before missed opportunities on the offensive end let the Wildcats slip away with the win.
The Huskers return to action on Saturday, Feb. 9, when they play host to Texas Tech at the Devaney Center. Nebraska and Tech will tip off at 3 p.m. in a game seen regionally on ESPN Plus. The game, which will be the first of two straight at home and five at home in February, can also be heard around the world on the Husker Sports Network on Huskers.com.