This is a really tough game to grade offensively because while NU shot just 37% from the field, it did connect on 85% from the free throw line (17-20) and score a point total that should have won the game (67).
However, for a good portion of the game, it seemed as if NU couldn't get anything going against Ohio State, who forced a couple of shot clock violations, took NU out of its game early with defensive overloads and of course, the officials let Aaron Craft play football with ball handlers, too.
I don't want to put this game on the refs - they did NOT lose it. Nebraska pissed this game down its own leg.
However, the officiating certainly didn't help, from Craft being allowed to bump & grind on NU players like it was a posh club on a Friday night, to travels being missed on one end and not on the other, etc.
Our Player of the Game is Walter Pitchford, who was just a hair better than Terran Petteway today though honestly, both could have easily won it.
Pitch finished with 15 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 assist and 0 turnovers in 32 minutes, although his show boating on the alley oop ended up being another reason NU lost, as it led to a HUGE four point swing and continued shift in momentum.
Petteway finished with 20 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 3 turnovers.
Nebraska's defense wasn't bad - I would call it "average" in this game. It was the REBOUNDING (which we'll discuss later) portion of the "D" that was BAD.
In the first half, NU held OSU to 28 points on 50% shooting because they forced 8 turnovers and kept the Buckeyes off of the foul line (3-5).
In the second, NU allowed 43 points on 46% shooting and allowed the Buckeyes to shoot TWENTY THREE free throws. Luckily, OSU missed nine of them and converted on just 61% for the game.
It's hard to fathom how the Huskers allowed OSU to score 43 points in the second half, especially considering the Buckeyes had TWO in the first five minutes (or 25%) of the half. Simply depressing that this one got away.
+9 for OSU on the boards (43 to 34) including FOURTEEN offensive rebounds.
I'm sorry, that simply can't happen, ESPECIALLY when you are the rested team who DID NOT play the day before.
LaQuinton Ross essentially beat NU on his own, scoring 26 points and grabbing THIRTEEN rebounds, though Ross was also helped by Nebraska and the officiating in putting this one in the Buckeye "W" column.
BALL HANDLING: F
11 turnovers, 9 assists don't tell the whole story.
Nebraska was ONCE AGAIN embarrassingly AWFUL against the Mickey Mouse press OSU featured.
I have no clue how game after game, all season long:
A. Nebraska can't handle a basic press at end of games and
B. Why more teams don't press against the Big Red more often.
We'll talk more about this under coaching.
The lack of in bounding the basketball in this game - in the Wisconsin game - in the Minnesota game - and many others - is on Coach Miles.
I don't need anyone telling me we're overachieving and having a dream season - I'm aware of this. I'm Miles' biggest cheerleader. But remember, this is a report card for THIS GAME.
And when taking in account the pattern that has evolved over many games, its not acceptable that this team isn't coached to in bound the freaking basketball without:
A. Using a timeout.
B. Taking a five second.
C. Throwing it away.
D. Catching it and getting trapped in the corner.
Miles has had plenty of time to work on this. Today, for example, we had a guy TWICE who could have run the base line after a make NOT DO IT. Once was out of a timeout.
Also, no creativity. Why not pass the ball to another Husker every once in awhile who then throws it back to the other one. That would work a minimum of one time and give them a different look. Do something different. We didn't until we had turned it over three times and used a timeout. That's simply not acceptable.
This is what made the game snowball, because it made OSU believe they could win. That got them going, changed momentum and made our guys fold like a cheap card table. The offensive rebounds we allowed off of the turnover misses were also backbreakers.
OVERALL GRADE: D
I'm sorry but I can't grade this game positive when we were up 18 with 13:40 left and LOST the game. That means we were outscored by TWENTY TWO POINTS in 13:40.
Had we lost this game in a toe to toe, see saw battle, this grade would undoubtedly be higher.
But I think we're to a point where we can expect this team, which isn't THAT young anymore (we're at the end of the season) to finish off a near 20 point game with the contest nearly 70% over.
Conversely, the GOOD NEWS is that I think we will learn a LOT from this game. It could become invaluable going forward. You have to learn how to win and how to respond to different situations and a lot of that is based on experience.
I think next time we're in a tough neutral site game (next week), we'll come out on top. Better to lose like this today than next week.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: WALTER PITCHFORD
2013-2014 PLAYER OF THE GAME RESULTS:
TERRAN PETTEWAY - 13
SHAVON SHIELDS - 8
WALTER PITCHFORD - 5
TAI WEBSTER - 2
LESLEE SMITH - 2
DEVERELL BIGGS - 1