1 2 Kansas 36 37 NEBRASKA 33 39
James Palmer Jr. scored 14 points, including a go-ahead basket with 41 seconds to play, but 13th-ranked Kansas sunk the Huskers with a three-pointer with 21 seconds left, as the Husker upset bid fell just short in a 73-72 defeat on Saturday in the Shelter Insurance Showcase in front of a sold-out crowd of 15,207 at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Palmer led four Huskers in double figures, as Thomas Allen scored a career-high 13 points, while Isaac Copeland chipped in 12 tallies and Glynn Watson Jr. added 11.
Trailing 66-59 with just over five minutes to play, NU embarked on a 9-0 run, aided by a KU shot clock violation after the Huskers switched to a 1-3-1 zone defense out of a timeout, and capped by a Palmer triple with 2:24 to play.
The Jayhawks, who had lost two straight games entering Saturday and were looking to avoid a three-game losing streak for just the third time in 15 seasons under head coach Bill Self, would not go away as they tied the game up at 68 all. After a pair of Anton Gill free throws put NU ahead 70-68, KU again answered on a putback by Udoka Azubuike, who scored 26 points to lead the Jayhawks.
Palmer put the Huskers ahead in the final minute with a left-hand layup on a drive through traffic, but the Jayhawks again had an answer as Svi Mykhailiuk hit on a three-pointer in the corner to put Kansas up 73-72.
Gill and Palmer had attempts in the final possession for NU, but Gill’s attempt from downtown was off and Palmer’s shot was blocked by Azubuike.
Kansas controlled much of the early part of the second half after leading 36-33 at halftime. KU led by as many as six at 49-43, but Nebraska kept fighting, as a pair of three-pointers by Copeland and Allen bookended an 8-2 run to tie the game at 52-52 and force a Kansas timeout.
After Watson gave Nebraska its first lead since the opening minute of the first half with a three-pointer just past the 10-minute mark, Kansas went on a 13-5 run to take a 66-59 lead, its largest of the half.
The Huskers started the first half fast, scoring the first four points of the game to the delight of the racous Pinnacle Bank Arena crowd, but the Jayhawks controlled much of the first half, leading by as many as eight at 19-11 midway through the frame. NU kept Kansas within striking distance, as the Big Red used an 8-2 run to tie the game at 30 with just over four minutes to play in the opening period. The two teams traded baskets before KU took a 36-33 lead into the locker room.
Allen eclipsed his career high in the first half, as he led the Huskers with 10 points in the opening stanza.
Udoka Azubuike paced the visitors with 14 first-half points.
The Huskers limited Kansas to just 44 percent shooting on Saturday, after the Jayhawks came into the game averaging 52 percent, which ranked eighth in the nation. The Huskers shot 49 percent from the floor, including 36 percent from downtown. Both teams grabbed 33 rebounds on the night, but Kansas held a 40-28 advantage in points in the paint.
Copeland led Nebraska with nine rebounds, while Palmer added eight. Evan Taylor paced the Huskers with four assists.
In addition to Azubuike’s 26 points, Devonte’ Graham scored 18 points, while Mykhailiuk added 14 for the winners.
The Huskers will return home to face Texas-San Antonio on Wednesday, with tip-off at Pinnacle Bank Arena set for 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on BTN and carried on the Husker Sports Network