Huskers Fall to Missouri, 70-47

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The No. 17/19 Missouri Tigers used a 19-8 run midway through the second half to open up a 28-point lead and cruised to a 70-47 victory over Nebraska Saturday at the Mizzou Arena. Playing in front of a soldout arena, the Tigers hit just 42.6 percent from the floor but forced Nebraska into 28.6 percent shooting while posting a season-high 20 turnovers to stop the Huskers’ three-game winning streak.

NU fell to 15-8 on the season and 5-5 in Big 12 Conference play while the Tigers improved to 22-4 on the year and 9-2 in league play. Missouri also extended the nation’s seventh-longest home-court win streak, as MU won its 18th straight game at home, including a 17-0 record at home this year.

Missouri broke the game open with a 12-3 run capped by consecutive 3-pointers from Matt Lawrence and Marcus Denmon and a Denmon driving layup off the glass. Denmon’s consecutive baskets put MU ahead by 17 points with 11:59 to play.

The Huskers, who trailed 25-19 at the half, crept back within six points on Sek Henry’s basket at the 17:05 mark of the second period, pulling NU to 31-25. But the Tigers used a steady dose of defensive pressure and solid transition game to continue the Huskers’ offensive woes. NU had just one basket in almost six minutes as the Tigers pushed out to the 48-31 lead before Ryan Anderson hit a 3-pointer at the 11:36 mark.

Anderson was one of four Huskers with a 3-pointer, including Brandon Richardson who led Nebraska with 12 points on 3-of-5 shooting off the bench. Sek Henry and Ade Dagunduro added 11 points apiece, but combined for 10 turnovers as the Huskers’ topped their previous high of 18 this season. NU came into the game ranked in the top 20 nationally by averaging just 11.7 turnovers through the first 22 games.

The opening minutes of the contest were contested at a much slower pace as the Huskers went out to a 4-2 lead on a Dagunduro basket and Chris Balham putback in the opening minutes. Missouri started to get into a groove, forcing the Huskers into a number of turnovers and bad shots while jumping out to a 12-4 lead. The Tigers’ 10-0 run was keyed by a pair of baskets from Carroll, who posted nine first-half points to lead MU.

The Huskers’ offensive struggles continued as they went 4:33 between baskets until Dagunduro got them back on the board with a driving bank shot through the lane. The bucket cut the deficit to 12-6 at the 12:31 mark and the Huskers continued to chip away, getting a 3-pointer from Ryan Anderson to pull within three, 12-9.

The Tigers made another strong defensive stand while pushing out to a 18-10 lead. Nebraska went more than five minutes between baskets until Dagunduro again pulled NU back to life. He hit 3-of-4 from the field in the period, heading into intermission with eight points.

Richardson helped NU inch closer with a 3-pointer with just under four minutes left in the half. He had a chance to put Nebraska back on top as he was shooting three charity shots after being fouled beyond the arc, but he missed the first two and got Nebraska only within one, 18-17.

From there, Missouri used a 7-2 run over the final 2:14, starting with a Matt Lawrence 3-pointer, to head into the locker room with a 25-19 advantage. Lawrence added another basket with under 40 seconds to play, helping MU protect its home court for the opening frame.

Neither team shot well as the Huskers hit just 28 percent from the field in the first half while MU was only marginally better, hitting 33 percent. The Tigers also held a slight 18-16 advantage on the glass while Nebraska committed nine first-half turnovers, just two below its season average.

Nebraska next returns home for a mid-week contest against Colorado on Wednesday, Feb. 18, at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The Huskers and Buffs will tip off at 8 p.m. in a game carried nationally on ESPNU.