Nebraska-Missouri: Huskers Squeak Past Short-Handed Tigers

Tim SzalewskiContributor IJanuary 30, 2008

Starting out 0-5 in the Big 12 conference was not on coach Doc Sadler's agenda.

But it might have been in the back of the players' minds as they went on the road to take on the eight-point favorite Missouri Tigers.

Someone in Vegas could have and should have updated that spread after the suspensions of five Tigers, three of whom were starters.

Nebraska pulled off a 66-62 victory in Columbia, Mo. on Wednesday night, but the Tigers seemed to outplay the Huskers.

Demarre Carroll scored 15 points and had 12 rebounds, and three other players combined for 36 points. Nebraska shot just 40 percent from the field, while Missouri hit 45 percent.

Think the suspensions made a difference in this game?

Game-Changing Factors:

* Nebraska center and leading scorer Aleks Maric jumped back on track after being held to no points against Kansas in their previous game. The senior from Australia put up 13 points and 13 rebounds, an area in which the Huskers have been struggling during their conference dry spell.   

* Missouri made only three of 14 shots from beyond the arc. Its season average was around 33 percent.   

* Nebraska shot 14-21 from the free-throw line. Allowing 21 free-throw attempts is unacceptable for a Missouri team that needed to step up after losing five players.   

* Huskers Sek Henry and Steve Harley combined for 29 points.

Although this was a much-needed victory by the Cornhuskers, they were given a gift of three starters being suspended. If Nebraska plans on beating this team again on February 13, this less-than-mediocre play will need to improve.

With big games coming up against a very solid Big 12, Nebraska needs to get rid of this cakewalk mindset if they want to compete with the rest of the conference.