Fans, media and coaches alike were shaking their heads in amazement as Kansas University raced to a 43-8 lead en route to a 76-56 victory against Nebraska on Monday at Devaney Center.
"I was thinking, 'This is surreal,''' KU assistant coach Tim Jankovich said Tuesday night, subbing for head coach Bill Self - who was out recruiting - on the weekly Hawk Talk radio show. "I tried to think back, I don't remember a scoreboard looking like that as time was running out in the first half. It was an amazing performance by our guys, a lot of fun."
Not for Nebraska, in its first season under Doc Sadler.
"I think we were star-struck," Sadler said. "Our guys had no intention of not going out and competing. I think they got hit so hard, so quick . . . and then it dominoed. It was over."
NU did win a small victory in outscoring the Jayhawks by 15 points over the final 22 minutes. KU couldn't clear the bench until the final two minutes.
"We were hoping the second half to play better and substitute earlier, give guys more time than they normally get. Coach was less than pleased for a stretch defensively. They made some tough shots and continued to play hard," Jankovich said, lauding the Huskers.
Indeed, the Huskers did not wilt.
"Doc (Sadler) is tough," KU coach Self said. "The personnel (at NU) is going to get better and better. We were pretty good, but they never quit."
Nebraska, 12-8 overall and 1-5 in the league, next hits the road for games at Missouri and Texas Tech.
"No," Sadler said, asked if the loss would have a lasting effect on his team. He said he'd take care of that.
"It's my job. I've got complete confidence in myself. We've got to shrug it off. I totally believe come Saturday, you are going to see us play as hard as we're going to play."
Freshman brags: NU freshman Ryan Anderson, who hit six of nine three-pointers, including four of five in the second half, earned a spot on the bench and a chewing out from Sadler after drilling a second-half trey. He ran by KU's bench and was heard yelling, "You better guard me."
KU was leading by 25 at the time of his taunt.
"Unfortunately, we let one slip away," the freshman from Seattle said of the game. "As a team, we just weren't ready. We weren't ready to stand our ground. We took some quick blows, and unfortunately we just kept going back."
Anderson, who finished with 19 points, attended Rainier Beach High in Seattle, alma mater of KU junior Rodrick Stewart.
Game over ... at the half: Sadler had a unique take on the rout at halftime: "I told our guys, 'The game's over guys. We're not going to come back and win this game.'''
Yet he stressed they continue to compete.
Of the rout, Lincoln Journal-Star columnist Steven Sipple wrote: "You figured Nebraska would have to play perfectly to make a game of it. After all, Kansas features four former McDonald's high school All-Americans. Nebraska? Well, Nebraska has a McDonald's a few blocks from the Devaney Sports Center."
Of the Huskers going 13 minutes, 43 seconds without a field goal in the first half, he penned: "I've seen relationships begin and end within 13:43."
On a serious note, Sipple praised senior guard Marcus Perry for even playing in the game. Perry's left foot has been a mess the past six months because of plantar fascitis and two stress fractures. He rarely practices and plays games in pain.
"I just pray every day to give me strength to go out and perform," the 6-foot-2 sharp-shooter told the Journal-Star.
He had nine points, four rebounds and two assists in 27 minutes versus KU.
Huskers may lose prospect: NU received some bad news Tuesday. Rishawn Norwood, a 6-3 junior-college guard who was to play at Nebraska next season as one member of Sadler's seven-man recruiting class, is not enrolled in any school for second semester classes after leaving Mount San Antonio (Calif.) Junior College.
Rich Kollen, commissioner of the South Coast Conference, of which Mount San Antonio is a member, told the Lincoln Journal-Star that Norwood had been declared ineligible for not taking required 12 units of classwork. The Mounties forfeited nine victories - all after Nov. 22 - in which Norwood played while not taking enough credit hours.
"It's a constant fight to make sure these kids are in 12 units," Kollen told the paper, "and we have zero tolerance for this kind of stuff."
Last season, Norwood averaged 27.2 points per game.