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Nebraska Huskers fall 71-56 to Kansas State in Wildcat Classic in Kansas City

NCAA Basketball: Nebraska at Kansas State Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

On a neutral court matchup in Kansas City that leaned a tad purple at least in crowd noise, the Nebraska Cornhuskers fell 71-56 to old Big 8/12 foe Kansas State in the Wildcat Classic at the T-Mobile Center. The Huskers move to 6-6 on the season, including a 1-2 road record and 0-2 Big Ten mark, while the Wildcats move to 10-1 overall, a program best since 2011.

Wilhelm Breidenbach led Nebraska in scoring with 13 points, a career-high mark for the sophomore big man. Breidenbach tied for third on the boards with five and added one steal and one block as well. Freshman Jamarques Lawrence added a big performance off the bench, scoring nine points and grabbing five boards along with one assist and one steal.

Juwan Gary was third in scoring on the team with eight points but led the roster in rebounds (11) and steals (4), while Derrick Walker and Emmanuel Bandoumel both scored seven with Walker leading UNL with two blocks.

Kansas State’s Keyontae Johnson led all scorers with 23 points. Nae’Qwan Tomlin added 15 points, Markquis Nowell scored 11, and Cam Carter added 10 points to round out double digit scorers for the Wildcats.

The Huskers struggled in the first half, going just 1-8 from 3-point range and shooting a measly 30% from the field. Nebraska also coughed up nine turnovers while Kansas State had a narrow rebound advantage 18-16 and shared the ball well with 13 assists.

The lone bright spots for UNL in the first half was Juwan Gary throwing down a dunk on a second-chance opportunity to give the Huskers the lead to start the game, going a perfect 7-7 from the charity stripe, and Breidenbach scoring nine points.

Otherwise, it was all Kansas State in the first half generally. That was punctuated by Nebraska failing to score a field goal after a layup by Gary with 5:58 remaining on an assist from Sam Griesel until Derrick Walker snapped the field goal drought with a jumper in the opening moments of the second half at the 19:46 mark.

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Nebraska came out of the locker room flat and quickly fell further behind. By the first media timeout, the Huskers trailed by 16, down 52-36. Both teams struggled to score over the next stretch of play, UNL still trailing by double digits, 52-39, at the second media timeout of the half.

Nebraska finally managed to cut into the deficit with an impressive run over the final eight minutes of the game, sparked by a 3-pointer by C.J. Wilcher with 8:08 remaining.

The high water mark came on a Bandoumel jumper with 3:55 remaining that cut Kansas State’s lead to just nine points, the first time since KSU pulled ahead into double digits with 1:48 remaining in the first half. The Wildcats quickly called a timeout and regrouped.

Nebraska was forced to turn to fouls down the final stretch and Kansas State pulled away for the final 71-56 margin. The win moves KSU to 128-93 all-time against UNL and 20-3 in Kansas City.

Nebraska returns to the court, technically another neutral court despite it being Pinnacle Bank Arena, on Dec. 20 to take on Queens. The game will be available via streaming on B1G+ which is a subscription only service. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. Central Time.