1:30 PM ET, February 15, 2004
Bob Devaney Sports Center, Lincoln, Nebraska
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Kansas started the week with a 20-point loss at Big 12-leading Oklahoma State and ended it with a 19-point loss at ninth-place Nebraska."Every team goes through peaks and valleys, and certainly this past week, this is the biggest valley we've been in," coach Bill Self said after his (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP) Jayhawks' 74-55 loss to Nebraska on Sunday."There is a lot of concern because we haven't played well this past week. But we could have played well these last two games and, the way these opponents have played, still come away with losses."The Jayhawks have lost consecutive conference games by a double-digit margin for the first time since the 1982-83 season.Kansas (15-6, 7-3), which is 4-4 over its last eight games, has lost three straight on the road and dropped consecutive conference games for the first time since February 2001.Andrew Drevo, John Turek and Nate Johnson each scored 14 points as Nebraska (14-7, 4-6) won its third straight and beat Kansas for the first time in 10 meetings.Nebraska beat a Top 15 opponent for the first time in 20 tries since defeating then-No. 7 Iowa State in February 1997.Fans ran onto the court after the final buzzer, and the celebration carried over to the locker room."It was very excited in there -- jumping up and down, singing of the fight song," Nebraska coach Barry Collier said.It was arguably the biggest win in Collier's four seasons at Nebraska, and it gave the Huskers wins in three straight conference games for the first time since 1998-99.The Huskers made 13 of their first 19 shots in the second half while taking a 58-40 lead. Kansas, meanwhile, made only five of its first 17 shots after halftime.The Huskers shot 56.3 percent from the field -- the highest by a Jayhawks opponent this season -- while holding Kansas to a season-low 36.2 percent."What I'm most proud of is our spirit," Collier said. "We played with toughness and handled a pretty good team that probably got our best shot."Wayne Simien led Kansas with 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Keith Langford added 14 points.Drevo scored eight points in the first 8 minutes of the second half, including six during a 20-6 run that decided the game.Consecutive 3-pointers by Marcus Neal and Brian Conklin gave Nebraska a 33-30 lead in the first 2 minutes of the second half. Jake Muhleisen's three-point play and consecutive baskets by Drevo made it 42-34.Johnson's second 3-pointer of the game gave Nebraska a 53-37 lead.Nebraska went 5 minutes without a field goal in the second half, but Kansas managed only seven points to get within 60-47.The Jayhawks led 28-27 at halftime, but Neal's 3-pointer on the first shot of the second half gave the Huskers the lead and they never trailed again."We've had bad games, but we haven't had back-to-back bad games," Self said. "When you start talking about having bad games, that starts making you think like we should have won. Give Nebraska credit. ... The second half we were dominated. We tried playing zone, we tried playing man. We couldn't stop them."The Jayhawks played without forward Jeff Graves, who didn't suit up because Self was disappointed in his work ethic at practice this week.With the 6-foot-9 Simien battling a groin injury the second half, the Huskers were able to control the inside."They weren't really doubling us, so we tried to get the ball in there and go one-on-one," Drevo said. "That was something we thought we could exploit."The Huskers have equaled the highest win total in Collier's tenure and have guaranteed their best season since going 20-13 in 1998-99 under Danny Nee."It's a tremendous, tremendous win," Collier said. "In the big picture, trying to build the program the way we want it, it's a big step."
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