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February 17, 2007
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The Cornhuskers played much of the second half without Aleks Maric, the 6-foot-11 center whose 41 points against Kansas State on Wednesday night fell one shy of the school record. He was hurt in a collision under the basket with 12:25 left and Kansas leading 51-26. He went to the bench and did not appear badly hurt but did not return to the game after scoring just 14 points.
Without him, the Huskers (15-10 overall, 4-7 Big 12) were helpless. Kansas (23-4, 10-2), hitting from both the inside and outside seemingly at will, went on an 18-4 tear, with Arthur scoring eight points.
All 13 Kansas players of got into the game scored. Jayhawks coach Bill Self seemed to be gesturing to his players in the final minute to hold back and not go to the basket, and grimaced when the last two buckets were scored. He was grim-faced as he approached Nebraska coach Doc Sadler for the postgame handshake.
In 1958, Kansas beat Nebraska by 54 points.
Kansas had been hounding Maric, whose 61 percent shooting led the Big 12, with a trio of defenders, rotating them in and out and keeping them fresh. He was 6-for-16 from the floor.
Sherron Collins, the 5-11 guard who's become a spark plug for the Jayhawks off the bench, scored six quick points to ignite a 10-0 run in the first half that the Jayhawks turned a 20-18 lead into a 30-18 bulge and got the slaughter started. The Jayhawks are the only school to post at least 10 conference wins since the Big 12 was formed in 1996.
The Huskers had shot 57.5 percent in beating Kansas State three days before, but hit only 31 percent against the Jayhawks. Ryan Anderson had seven points for Nebraska and Paul Velander six for the Huskers, who scored only 17 points in the second half.
Sherron Collins had 12 points and Mario Chalmers and Julian Wright each had 10 points for Kansas, which has won 23 of 24 at home against Nebraska. In the Jayhawks' last two games at home against the Huskers, Kansas has outscored them 188-93.
The Jayhawks, who lead the Big 12 in blocked shots and rebound margin, blocked seven and outrebounded the short-handed visitors 42-24.
Nine members of Kansas' 1952 team that beat St. John's for the NCAA championship were at the game for a reunion, including Dean Smith. Jayhawks officials feared the crowd might boo Smith for his role in luring Roy Williams back to North Carolina after the 2002-03 season. But the old players were introduced as a group without leaving their seats right behind the Kansas bench and only applause was heard.