As hard as it is to believe, there were some positives offensively tonight.
For starters, Nebraska shot more free throws than Creighton (26 to 22) and NU's 59% from the field in the second half was better than Creighton's 55% in the first.
Outside of that though, there wasn't a lot of good to say, especially in the first ten minutes of the game, when NU's offense was "bad for the ages."
The Huskers came out scared, rattled and like they'd never seen aggressive defense in their lives. Creighton did a great job taking away the driving lines, sure, but NU took WAY TOO MANY jump shots and three pointers early on.
In fact, in the first half, Nebraska shot just 8% from downtown (1-12) and 30% from the field, which helped them get down 22-3. No, you can't even make that up.
I'll give NU some credit in that they played much better in the last 25 minutes, but when you dig a hole of epic proportions, it really doesn't matter.
Nebraska allowed CU to shoot 49% for the game and pour in 82 points.
Again, from the 5:00 minute mark of the first half and on, once NU switched to the zone, it did a nice job of keeping Creighton in check.
But how can you really feel good about that?
One thing is for sure, Nebraska needs to play more zone. That defense has been largely successful (sans one game in the Charleston Classic) and it will help keep NU out of foul trouble.
The Huskers (and the rest of America) are glad to see Doug McDermott's days coming to an end as a collegiate player, as the big man lit the nets on fire to the tune of 33 points on 12-23 shooting (5-10 downtown).
34 to 30, Creighton. For as bad as this game was, rebounding really played no factor, and that's not a bad total.
Nice night for two Huskers on the boards, as Petteway and Deverell Biggs hauled down six boards apiece.
It's for this reason, along with 21 points, that Petteway is our Player of the Game (over Shavon Shields - though it was GREAT to see Shields "show up" and get back on track).
I also loved hearing how Petteway handled himself in the locker room following the game, as he apologize to teammates, was in tears and genuinely sorry that he was co-issued a flagrant two foul (along with Grant "Thug Life" Gibbs). Class act by Terran when, in this writer's opinion, he had little to apologize for.
Gibbs should know better, after all, as he was a college freshman when Petteway was still getting school lunch at Galveston, Texas Middle School.
BALL HANDLING: D
9 turnovers to 13 assists. In theory, that's nice.
If you watched the game, however, Nebraska's inability to get into its offense in the first 15:00 was one of the main shortcomings of this contest.
NU consistently lacked attack, passion, fire, etc. in its offense. That comes back to how they performed with the ball in their hands (that's what she........).
This game was unacceptable. Period.
You can't get down 30 to a team in the first twelve minutes of a game, anytime, anywhere.
Nebraska looked scared, flat and overwhelmed early on, and at least some of that have to come back to the head coach.
Should NU have taken a shoot around in Omaha? Should they have planned their trip different with a hotel? Should they have played more straight up and less attention to McDermott, who you knew was going to get his 30 either way? Should NU have zoned earlier? Should former starter (just two weeks ago) David Rivers have gotten in the game over Nathan Hawkins? Lots of questions.
I appreciate how NU battled back and to Miles' credit, he was coaching BIG TIME in the second half, running up and down the sideline, calling timeouts and obviously seeing his team meet the challenges he issued at the half. So for that, he deserves credit and props.
But I can't do much more than that, as really, Miles and his team created lemonade out of the rotten lemons they created mostly on their own.
OVERALL GRADE: D
If Nebraska had been down 8 points at the half and lost by 15, we would all feel okay with this loss.
But the fact that Nebraska thoroughly EMBARASSED ITSELF (and its fans) in the first half is enough to make this one far from "acceptable."
Hopefully this will be a big part of the growing process, and we'll see a much different NU team in Cincinnati in a couple of weeks. Also, hopefully NU realizes that if it comes out loose, with intensity and plays its game, it can play with borderline Top 25 teams like Creighton.
I do have to give Creighton lots of credit, too, as much as it pains me. They have a very good basketball team and they'll be a solid 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Still, the days of the Bluejays as a state "basketball power" appear to be coming to an end, based on CU losing the majority of its key players (and All-Americans) and based on the fact that its head man hasn't shown any ability to cut it in major conferences, which CU now finds itself a part of.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: TERRAN PETTEWAY
BONUS AWARD - DOUCHE OF THE GAME AWARD: GRANT GIBBS
2013-2014 PLAYER OF THE GAME TOTALS:
TERRAN PETTEWAY - 4
TAI WEBSTER - 2
LESLEE SMITH - 1
SHAVON SHIELDS - 1
WALTER PITCHFORD - 1