Kansas 96, Nebraska 54
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP)—Jeff Hawkins and Brandon Rush scored 17 points each and Kansas romped past Nebraska 96-54 Saturday, handing the Cornhuskers one of the worst losses in their history.
The 42-point deficit tied for the fourth-worst loss ever for Nebraska and was Barry Collier’s most lopsided setback in six years as coach.
Kansas shot a scorching 72 percent in the first half, the highest the Jayhawks have ever shot in the first half of a Big 12 game.
Hitting almost everything they threw up, the Jayhawks (11-6, 2-2 Big 12) seized a 51-30 halftime lead over Nebraska (12-5, 2-2), which came into the game with a field goal percentage defense of .386, ninth-best in Division I.
Kansas shot 37-for-62, 59 percent, for the game while snapping a two-game losing streak and avoiding its first 1-3 start to a conference season since 1982-83.
Collier’s previous worst loss at Nebraska was 39 points in 2002 against then-No. 1 Kansas.
The Jayhawks hit 21 of 29 shots in the torrid first half. Hawkins was 5-for-5 and Russell Robinson 5-for-6 while Rush had 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting.
Hawkins wound up a perfect 6-for-6, including 5-for-5 on 3-pointers. Rush, the Big 12’s top-scoring freshman, was 7-for-11 and made all but one of his four 3-point attempts.
Darnell Jackson and Russell Robinson each scored 13 points and Julian Wright had 12.
Nebraska scored only 24 points in the second half and shot 27 percent. The Huskers were led by Aleks Maric with 12 points and Jamal White with 10.
Hawkins and Robinson fueled a 16-0 run that turned a 20-15 lead into a commanding 21-point bulge halfway through the first half and set the tone for the rest of the day.
Kansas’ 51 first-half points were only four short of what it totaled the week before in losing 59-55 to Kansas State on the same floor. Illustrating how wacky the Big 12 is this year, the Huskers on Jan. 21 held Kansas State to 23.4 percent shooting in a 57-42 victory over the Wildcats.
It was Kansas’ best field goal percentage in the first half since a 96-95 victory over Oklahoma on Feb. 1, 1992.
Christian Moody, the senior who missed two free throws with :04 left at Missouri on Monday night, leading to an overtime loss, got a big ovation when he went to the line for the first time. When he made both free throws, the crowd erupted in cheers.