The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, March 03, 1997, Page 9, Image 9
Matt Miller/DN VENSON HAMILTON falls away from Kansas’ Scot Pollard in Nebraska* 85-65 loss Sunday. KU got the best of the Nebraska big men, out-rebounding the Huskers 52-24 In the last game of Big 12 regular season. *3vaS|P' KU big men dominate as Nebraska loses its regular-season finale , by 20. By Mitch Sherman Senior Reporter Nebraska learned the hard way Sunday why Kansas heads into the Big 12 Conference Tournament with a first-round bye and ranked No. 1 in the nation for the 14th straight week. The Jayhawks abused Nebraska on the boards, domi nated the tempo and humbled the most energetic crowd in three seasons to watch a basketball game at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The 85-65 regular-sea son-ending Jayhawk win marked NU’s worst defeat this season and stole valu able momentum from the Comhuskers, who fell to 16-13 over all and 7-9 in conference play. “You saw the No. 1 team in the country,” Nebraska Coach Danny Nee said after the Devaney Center’s sev enth-largest all-time crowd of 14,759 watched Kansas pull away in the sec ond half. “Obviously we would have liked to play better in our own house.” Nebraska must regroup by Thurs day at 16 p.m., when it plays 10th seeded Missouri in the first round of the league tournament in Kansas City, Mo. The Huskers, who earned the sev enth seed by virtue of Baylor’s loss Saturday to Oklahoma, likdy need four wins in four days and a tourna ment title to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. With a win Thursday night, NU will meet Texas, the tournament’s No. 2 seed and champion of the Big 12 South Division, Friday at 6 p.m. A loss at any time this week prob ably sends NU back to the National Invitation Tournament, in which the Huskers would play host to a first round game on March 12, according to Nebraska Ticket Manager John Anderson. 2 \ “You always want to win your last game at home,” Nee said. “But we treat the postseason as a new season. That’s the great thing about tournament play. You get another chance.” Kansas (29-1 and 15-1) out-re bounded Nebraska 27-10 in the first half, grabbing a 41-28 lead, and 52 24 for the game, by far NU’s largest deficit on the glass this year. Seniors Mikki Moore and Bernard Gamer, playing in the final regular-season home games of their careers, contrib uted just 13 points and nine rebounds Sunday. Meanwhile, KU’s Raef LaFrentz and Scot Pollard each posted double doubles. LaFrentz scored 16 of his game-high 23 points in the first half — two less than Nebraska’s five player frontcourt — and the 6-foot-11 junior grabbed 10 rebounds in 29 min utes. After falling behind 52-37 early in the second half, NU used a 9-0 run sparked by Troy Piatkowski’s 17-foot jumper to close to 52-46 with 11:59 to play. But Pollard ignited an 8-0 Jaykawk run following a timeout to put Kansas back on top by 14. “I felt we had another run in us, but we didn’t,” said Nebraska point guard Tyronn Lue, who scored a team-high 18 points with eight assists and no turnovers. “We got some good looks, but we just didn’t finish.” With NU down 67-54 at the 4:33 mark, Cookie Belcher fouled • h ■ U-— You always wjant to win your last game at home. But we treat the postseason as a new season ” Danny Nee - NU basketball coach LaFrentz, and officials slapped the fieshman guard with a technical foul— — his fifth personal of the game — for taunting Pollard. Pollard and LaFrentz each connected on two free throws, and Jerod Haase converted a three-point play, completing a seven- 1 point Kansas possession to stretch its ; lead to 74-54. I “We were going to try to make an other run,” Nee said. “But after that, it didn’t matter. “Coming into the game, I was cau tiously optimistic. But we got domi nated on the rebounds, and we thought that would be one of our strengths.” In the first half, KU opened an 11 4 lead before the Huskers closed to 21 19 on a Belcher 3 with 9:21 to play. But a 7-0 Jayhawk run erased NU’s momentum, and Kansas ended the half with an 11-3 spurt to lead by 13. “They were a very confident bunch today,” KU Coach Roy Williams said of his team, which set a school record for regular-season victories. “We never let the crowd get into it, even when a couple calls and couple plays went against us.” ' r - _ Matt Miller/DN BOOKIE BELCHER learn the court after his fifth foul Suaday during Nebraska’s 85-05 less to Kansas. Kansas forward Paul Pierce scored 18 points, and Pollard, in his third game back after missing eight with a fractured left foot, added 14 with a game-high 12 rebounds in 27 minutes. Venson Hamilton scored 13 points but grabbed just four rebounds for Ne braska, which tied a season-low with line turnovers to Kansas’ 17. In NU’s 32-77 overtime loss at KU on Feb. 1, [he Huskers’ out-rebounded Kansas 16-33 but turned the ball over a sea son-high 28 times. “I thought we would come out and blay a lot better than we did,” Lue said. ‘I’d rather have 28 turnovers and have i chance to win in regulation than have line and get blown out.” Swimmers take crown from Tbxas By Jay Saunders Staff Reporter The Nebraska women’s swimming and diving team upset No. 8 Texas to earn the first-ever Big 12 Conference Championship in _^ ^ ^ College Station, Texas Saturday. ._After, winning the last three Big Eight champion ships, the Comhuskers kept their streak alive with a 927-865.5 come-from-be hind victory. NU RyssslT enured 12 titles out of 21 events on the way to the championship. Bentz who was named the conference’s women’s swimming coach of the year. “Our program has taken a giant step. This is absolutely a huge victory for us.” The Nebraska men finished second behind the Longhorns with a score of 735 5 points. UT scored 920.5 points en route to winning the men’s inaugu ral league crown. . ° * In die wbmeh’s coiifipetitibn, Texas led after the first two days but entered the final day of the meet trailing the Longhorns by one point. The Huskers were led in the finals by 16 swimmers on the final day in five events. NU took a big step toward the tide sweeping the top three places in the 200-yard breaststroke. All-American Julia Russell, who was named the meets outstanding women’s swimmer^on die event with a pool-record timfc of 2:10.25. NU’s Lenka Manhalova, who finished second with a time of 2:12.55, and Helene Muller, who was third with a time of 2:13.82, rounded out the top three spots for the Huskers. The three times also were automatic qualifying times for die NCAA meet. Muller also won the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 50.02 seconds. Husker swimmers captured the third-, sixth- and eighth-place spots in the race. Nebraska also placed four swimmers in the top eight of the 200-yard back stroke. Christine Troy finished in aper sonal-best time of 2:00.13 to finish in second place. Women’s winners on Friday in cluded: Russell in the 100-yard breast stroke (1:00.83, a new pool record), Anna Windsor in the 200-yard freestyle (1:48.49) and Laura Simon in die 400 yard IM (4:19.15). Despite the strong performances in the individual races, it was the relays 1 that were die icing on the cake. The Huskers also swept the relays. The 400-yard freestyle capped off the conference crown few NU. The team of Windsor, Beth Karaica, Stacey Sedlacek and Muller had a first-place time of 3:20.19 shattering the school-record of 3:23.53 set in 1994. Nebraska also won the 200-yard medley relay with a school-record and pool-record time of 1:41.49 and the 800 yard free relay with another school and pool-record time of 7:19.28. , On the men’s side, Adam Pine and Michael Windlisch were die only two Huskers to win gold medals over the weekend. Pine won the 100-yard but terfly with a pool-record and school record time of47.02 seconds. Windlisch finished first in the400-yard IM with a time of 3:52.42.