Wildcats unable to secure sweep of Huskers

LINCOLN, Neb. Kansas State wasn’t unable to secure a season sweep of Nebraska as the Wildcats dropped a 74-63 decision to the Cornhuskers Tuesday night at the Devaney Center.

Cartier Martin, one of three Wildcats to foul out in the game, came off the bench to score 22 points and Jermaine Maybank and Lance Harris each added 12 points to lead Kansas State (18-8, 7-4 Big 12)

But the Wildcats never found a solution for Nebraska’s Aleks Maric, who ended the game just one point shy of tying the Huskers’ single-game scoring record.

The 6-foot-11 center finished with a career-high 41 points and attempted nearly twice as many free throws (25) in 29 minutes of work as the Wildcats took (13) as a team for the entire game.

No one else was able to crack double figures for Nebraska (15-9, 4-6 Big 12), but the Huskers didn’t need much more than the hot hand of Maric to avenged K-State’s win from last year at the Devaney Center.

Kansas State trailed by six at intermission and by the same margin midway through the second half following a jumper by Martin that made it 48-42.

But a layup by Maric, a technical foul on David Hoskins which was his fifth foul of the game and two free throws by Marcus Perry pushed Nebraska’s lead to double digits at 52-42 less than a minute later.

The Huskers, who shot 25-of-38 (65.8 percent) at the foul line to K-State’s 9-of-13 (69.2 percent), would go on to lead by as many as 13 twice late in the second half and continued to feed Maric in order to keep the Wildcats at bay.

K-State got as close as eight three times in the final 1:30 but could never mount a serious challenge down the stretch.

Martin came off the bench to spark the Wildcats in the first half, scoring nine points including seven in a row at one point during an 11-4 run that put Kansas State on top 18-15 with 8:29 to go in the period.

A layup and two free throws by Maric on back-to-back possessions put Nebraska back on top 19-18 just over seven minutes before the break and the Wildcats never led again as sloppy ball-handling and ice-cold shooting hampered K-State the rest of the half.

The Wildcats managed just a 3-pointer by Harris and layup by Maybank the rest of the period and Nebraska scored 14 of the final 19 points for a 29-23 lead at the break.

Kansas State returns to action on Saturday, Feb. 17, when the Wildcats host Iowa State for a 5 p.m. tip at Bramlage Coliseum. The game will be televised by ESPN+Plus.