WICHITA, Kan. - A slow start proved costly as the Nebraska men's basketball team saw their season end with a 76-49 loss to Wichita State in the first round of the National Invitational Tournament Wednesday evening.
David Kyles' 13 points led three Wichita State players in double figures, as he hit four 3-pointers while Toure' Murry and Graham Hatch added 12 and 11 points, respectively, as the Shockers advance to face Virginia Tech Sunday morning in Blacksburg.
Wichita State (25-8) got off to a blistering start from the floor, scoring the first 10 points of the night before Brandon Ubel's 3-pointer stemmed the early tide after Nebraska (19-13) missed its first seven shots from the floor and shot a season-low 34 percent in the loss.
The Huskers pulled within 10-7 after two driving baskets by Lance Jeter, but could not get any closer, as the Shockers went on a 14-2 run, extending the lead to 24-9 lead after a pair of Ben Smith free throws.
The Shockers kept building the lead, extending the margin to 34-14 on a Graham Hutch 3-pointer and led by 22 points in the first half before taking a 40-20 lead into the intermission.
Nebraska was held to 32 percent shooting and 2-for-10 from 3-point range in the first half, while the Shockers shot 46 percent, including 6-of-11 from 3-point range.
The Shockers took any hopes for a Husker comeback away in the opening minutes of the second half, hitting six of their first seven shots of the second half to build a 54-25 lead with 15:24 left.
On the night, Wichita State shot 46 percent and hit 11 3-pointers, compared to only two for Nebraska. The Shockers also shot 17-fo-20 from the free throw line.
Jeter finished his Husker career with 12 points and three steals, while sophomore Jorge Brian Diaz came off the bench for 12 points and a game-high eight rebounds in a losing effort.
Around the rim
***Nebraska falls to 23-16 all-time in 17 NIT appearances in school history.
***The 27-point loss was the largest of the season (previous high was 20 against Kansas). In fact, Nebraska had not trailed by more than 20 points in any game this season before tonight.
***Nebraska's 49 points ties a season low also set against Vanderbilt on Nov. 18. The Huskers also shot a season-low 34 percent from the field (.347 vs. Kansas State was the previous low).
***Jeter had 12 points and three assists, upping his final season total to 145. The total tied Jack Moore (1979-80) for sixth in NU's single-season list. Jeter also had three steals and now ranks seventh on NU's senior steals list with 57.
Jeter finished the year averaging a team-high 11.7 points and 4.5 assists per game, becoming the first Husker since Cookie Belcher to lead Nebraska in scoring and assists in the same season.
***In the final four games of the season, Brandon Ubel averaged 10 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, as he had nine points and six rebounds against Wichita State.
***Diaz had 12 points and eight rebounds and finished the year with 150 field goals, the sixth-best total by a sophomore in school history.
***Nebraska finished the year allowing just 60.5 points per game, the eighth-best total in school history, and will likely lead the Big 12 once the season ends.