Maric has big game as Nebraska beats Missouri 61-56
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—Aleks Maric had 17 points and 13 rebounds and muscled inside to make a key block in the final seconds to lead Nebraska past Missouri 61-56 Thursday night in the first round of the Big 12 tournament.
Maric, a 6-foot-11 senior, moved past Tyronn Lue and Erick Strickland into sixth place on the school’s career scoring charts with his 38th double-double in a conference game, the most by any active Big 12 player.
The first Husker in nine years named first-team All-Big 12, Maric raised his career point total to 1,593 going into a second round match Friday against No. 5 Kansas. The Jayhawks, in an 84-49 blowout on Jan. 26, held Maric scoreless for the first time since his sophomore season.
A tumultous season came to an end for Missouri at 16-16. Among the most painful memories in a disappointing season in coach Mike Anderson’s second year was the fight involving several players outside a Columbia night spot in January that put star point guard Stefhon Hannah out for the year with a broken jaw.
Nebraska (19-11), which led by as many as 10 in the second half, took a 57-52 lead after two free throws by Maric. But DeMarre Carroll scored for Missouri, the Huskers committed another turnover, and Jason Horton sank a little runner that pulled the Tigers to 57-56 with 2:08 to play.
After Keon Lawrence missed a 12-footer that could have given the Tigers the lead, Steve Harley took an inbounds pass off a backdoor cut and sank a contested lay-up that put the Huskers on top 59-56.
With 33 seconds left, Nebraska’s Sek Henry missed the front end of a one-and-one and the Tigers grabbed the ball and called time out. After Horton missed a layup, Leo Lyons got the rebound but Maric blocked his shot.
Jay-R Strowbridge, fouled immediately, sank both foul shots with 8 seconds left.
Harley had 14 points for Nebraska, which hit only 3-of-13 3-pointers but outrebounded the Tigers 42-31.
Keon Lawrence had 15 points for Missouri, which was 9-of-19 from the 3-point arc. Matt Lawrence had 12 and Carroll, the Big 12’s newcomer of the year, had 10 points and eight rebounds.
The Huskers were 0-for-7 from 3-point range in the first half and didn’t hit their first 3 until Harley connected from the left wing for a 36-29 lead.
Missouri was 5-of-11 from 3-point range in the first half, with Horton and Keon Lawrence each hitting two 3-pointers on consecutive possessions.
The Tigers took a 25-20 lead, but the Huskers closed out the first half on a 10-3 run and Harley canned a runner at the buzzer for a 30-28 lead. The bucket was reviewed to make sure he got rid of the ball in time.
Maric, one of four Big 12 players with 900 career rebounds and 1,500 points, had four blocks.