No. 7 Wildcats rally to drop Cornhuskers
Denis Clemente scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half,
including a clinching bucket in the final seconds, and No. 7 Kansas
State rallied from two big deficits before beating last-place
Nebraska 91-87 on Wednesday night.
Riding the crest of their highest national ranking since 1962, the Wildcats (21-4, 8-3 Big 12) trailed by 10 points in the first half and were down nine early in the second to a team coming off a 40-point loss at No. 15 Texas.
Four consecutive free throws by Martavious Irving gave Kansas State a seemingly safe 87-78 lead before Lance Jeter and Ryan Anderson made 3-pointers. The Huskers inbounded the ball with 42 seconds to go after Jacob Pullen dribbled out of bounds. Anderson connected with another 3, tying it at 87.
Jeter drew his fifth foul when he draped himself around Chris Merriewether with 24.2 seconds to go. Merriewether made both foul shots to break the tie, and then Pullen atoned for his mistake by intercepting a pass by Nebraska and feeding Clemente streaking down the court for the final bucket of the hard-fought and surprisingly close game.
Dominique Sutton also had 21 points as the Wildcats swept the season series for the first time in six years.
Anderson had 22 points for Nebraska (13-13, 1-10) and Brandon Richardson had 15.
The Huskers hit 14 of 21 3-pointers to stay close and shot 58 percent for the game.
Clemente, held to just three points on 1 for 7 shooting in the first half, hit seemingly backbreaking 3-pointers on two consecutive possessions as Kansas State tried vainly to put the game out of reach for a Nebraska team that has won only once since conference play began in early January.
An early 3-pointer by Clemente brought the Wildcats even at 51-all. Then they finally regained the lead at the 12:01 mark when a technical foul was called on Nebraska's bench and Clemente made both free throws to make it 53-51.
Kansas State scuffled with miserable 13 for 30 shooting throughout the first half and twice fell behind by as much as 10 points.
Pullen scored the last eight points of the first half for Kansas State, helping trim Nebraska's 10-point lead to just 40-39 at intermission.
But Nebraska grabbed the momentum again in the second half, quickly building a 51-42 lead starting with Richardson's 3-pointer and Jeter's one-handed runner.
Sutton jumpstarted a 12-0 Kansas State run with a 3-pointer and capped it with a layup that gave the Wildcats a 57-51 lead.
Consecutive uncontested 3-pointers by Anderson shaved Kansas State's lead to 58-57. Pullen rebounded Clemente's miss and put in a long 3-pointer that was followed by Sutton's driving layup after his midcourt steal, putting the Wildcats on top 63-57.