Nebraska 66, Missouri 61
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP)—Aleks Maric scored 14 points, 12 in the second-half Saturday as Nebraska beat Missouri 66-61, snapping a 10-game road losing streak against the Tigers.
Marcus Perry led Nebraska (13-8, 2-5 Big 12) with 15 points, but Maric carried the Cornhuskers in the second half after being held to just two points on 1-of-4 shooting in the first half.
Missouri (13-8, 2-6) had no answer for the 6-foot-11 center from Australia, who had nine rebounds. Maric entered the game among the Big 12 leaders with 17.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.
Down 39-35 early in the second quarter, Nebraska went on a 7-0 run to take the lead for the first time since early in the first half. Maric scored seven of the Cornhuskers’ first 14 second-half points.
The Tigers stayed close and were trailing just 61-58 when Keon Lawrence’s 3-point try bounced off the back of the rim with 1:53 to play. Nebraska pulled away after that.
Missouri coach Mike Anderson refers to his pressuring defense as “40 minutes of hell,” but Nebraska’s smothering effort was just as hellish for the Tigers, who shot 37 percent from the field.
Guard Stefhon Hannah, the Tigers’ leading scorer, averaging 15.9 points per game, was held to six points on just 2-of-5 shooting before fouling out. Three-point specialist Matt Lawrence, second on the team with 11.7 points per game, was shut out on six shots from the field.
Keon Lawrence led Missouri with 18 points and Darryl Butterfield, starting for the first time, had 10.
The Tigers ran into early second-half foul trouble, mostly because their small front line could do little to stop Maric except foul him. Nebraska ended up 20-for-30 from the free-throw line, compared with Missouri’s 13-for-18.
Missouri’s sluggish offensive start was offset only by a smothering defense that kept Nebraska from running out to a big lead. The Cornhuskers led 5-0 before Missouri finally scored on a short baseline jumper 2:40 into the game by Butterfield, a surprise starter in place of Marshall Brown.
The points were the first of a 20-6 run that put Missouri ahead by nine midway through the first half. Nebraska outscored the Tigers 14-8 the rest of the half and trailed only 28-25 at the break. Missouri made just one field goal over the final 8:14 of the first half.