Kansas State’s time on top of the Big 12 didn’t last long.
The 20th-ranked Wildcats look to bounce back from their first conference loss when they host Nebraska on Wednesday night.
Kansas State (15-5, 5-1) fell 77-74 at Missouri on Saturday, taking some of the luster off its 84-75 home win over previously unbeaten Kansas three days earlier.
The defeat also knocked the Wildcats out of first place in the conference, leaving them a game behind the 7-1 Jayhawks.
“We just laid down,” Kansas State freshman star forward Michael Beasley said. “We played like boys instead of men.”
The Wildcats were unable to overcame sub-par efforts from Beasley and second-leading scorer Bill Walker against a Missouri team that was without three starters because of suspensions.
Beasley, the conference leader at 24.9 points and 12.3 rebounds per game, had 17 points and 10 boards as he failed to score more than 20 for the first time in seven contests.
“Oh man, he’s going No. 1 in the draft, you can say that for sure,” Missouri’s DeMarre Carroll said of Beasley. “He’s a strong player and he’s very unstoppable if you let him sit down there in the post and get offensive rebounds.
“We kind of got him out of his rhythm and that really helped us in the long run.”
Walker was held to 11 points - almost five below his 15.8 average.
Kansas State led by as many as 14 in the second half but shot 39.3 percent over the final 20 minutes, during which it was outscored 43-30. The Wildcats also committed 16 turnovers for the game.
“You want to play Missouri on the road, you’d better not turn the basketball over, and we turned it over,” first-year Kansas State coach Frank Martin said. “If you do that on offense and just don’t defend, you have no chance to win.”
Having been seemingly humbled by the loss to Missouri, the Wildcats should be focused when they return home to face Nebraska (13-6, 2-4). The Cornhuskers have won two in a row, including a 66-62 victory at Missouri last Wednesday, since losing their first four league games.
Kansas State, 11-1 at home this season, has won five of the last six meetings with Nebraska in Manhattan. The Wildcats, though, lost 74-63 at Lincoln on Feb. 13 in the most recent meeting.
Nebraska’s 6-foot-11 senior forward Aleks Maric scored a career-high 41 points on 13-for-19 shooting in that contest. He’s averaging 17.5 points and 9.1 rebounds in six games versus the Wildcats, which could make for an intriguing battle inside with the 6-9 Beasley.
Maric had 14 points and 13 boards in the Huskers’ 64-56 home win over Iowa State on Saturday, his second straight double-double. Maric is averaging 15.4 points and 8.7 rebounds in 2007-08.
Nebraska, 1-4 away from home this season, has lost 20 in a row on the road against ranked opponents.