LINCOLN, Neb. – In his first Big 12 Conference start this season, senior Brady Morningstar responded with a season-high 19 points, with the help of a season-high five three-point baskets, en route to No. 2 Kansas basketball’s 86-66 win at Nebraska Saturday afternoon.
The win, which spoiled NU’s undefeated 14-0 home record this season, improved the Jayhawks to 22-1 overall, including 7-1 in league play, and marked KU’s 17th-straight win versus the Huskers. Nebraska dropped to 15-7 on the season and 3-5 in the Big 12.
Morningstar, who also led the team with six assists, had five three-point baskets as part of 13 total three’s by the Jayhawks, which marked a season high and the most since the team hit 14 treys versus Tennessee Tech on Nov. 27, 2009. KU shot 54.2 percent from beyond the arc for the game.
At the start of the second half, Nebraska hit a pair of baskets on back-to-back trips down the floor to trail 44-41. Marcus Morris and Morningstar quickly responded with a pair of three’s and Robinson hit two free throws to extend KU’s lead into double-digits.
Nebraska looked to battle back scoring six unanswered points but it was the last run Kansas would allow as the Jayhawks used a 7-0 spurt midway through the final half to lead 67-54 with 9:04 remaining in the game. KU”s advantage never dipped below 11 points again as the Jayhawks proceeded to hit 55.6 percent of its shots from the field in the second half and 55.6 percent for the contest. Nebraska shot 41.1 percent from the floor for the game.
Three additional Jayhawks joined Morningstar in double-figure scoring including juniors Marcus Morris (17) and Markieff Morris (16) and senior Tyrel Reed (14). Markieff and Reed each had three three-pointers, which was a career best for Markieff.
Kansas opened the game scoring the first five points and never trailed again for the rest of the contest. Nebraska hit four its first five shots from beyond the arc in the first 11 minutes of the game but failed to hit another three the rest of the period. KU meanwhile shot 58.3 percent from long range and 55.6 percent of all of its shots.
Back-to-back three’s from Reed and Markieff Morris at the 13:02 mark gave the Jayhawks their largest lead of the period at 20-10. NU responded with seven-straight points to cut its deficit to 20-17 by the second media timeout. Eventually Nebraska got within two points of the Jayhawks, 32-30, with 3:03 on the clock.
Twenty seconds later, sophomore Thomas Robinson hit a pair of free throws to jumpstart a 10-2 run by the Jayhawks and push KU’s advantage to double-digits, 42-32, for the first time since the 13-minute mark. Reed capped the run with a three-pointer in the corner with a minute to play until halftime.
Just when it looked as though Kansas would take a 10-point lead into the break, the Jayhawks fouled with five seconds remaining sending NU to the free throw line where it hit both charity shots.