I really wasn't happy with most anything from tonight, so I apologize in advance if my feathers are a little ruffled!
Offensively, Nebraska came out taking stupid, quick shots and when it wasn't doing that, it was turning the ball over.
The Huskers clanked more free throws than me at the gym (22-34) and continue to leave Shavon Shields' face on milk cartons with how they forget about him halves (and sometimes games) at a time. In this particular contest, you almost forgot Shields was there until the first two possession of the second half. For awhile, I chalked this up to a young team and a young man (Shields) who needs to do a better job of asserting himself. But I'm starting to wonder if some of this comes back to my hero (Coach Miles), too. This is one of the biggest problems with this team right now - the lack of consistent Shields in the NU offense.
Thanks to a fairly nice second half (when NU shot a sizzling 63%), the Big Red were able to finish 52% from the field for the night while scoring a respectable 77 against their Southern Conference opponent. Still, don't be fooled - this was not pretty.
I will start by saying that The Citadel got 18 points off of turnovers (though Nebraska, shockingly, got 22). That keeps this grade from being lower.
With that said, it's still a sad state of affairs that NU let The Citadel connect on 50% of its shots in the first half and for the night, score 62. The Huskers had no answer for Ashton Moore, who put in a team high 21 points.
Nebraska got out rebounded by The Citadel (34 to 30).
Repeating, Nebraska got out rebounded by The Citadel.
While Leslee Smith needed to put some stick 'um on his hands to cut down the turnovers, he did finish with a quiet double double (10 points, 10 rebounds) and Shields grabbed 6 boards.
Pitchford continued his Santa Claus down the chimney like quietness on the boards, pulling down just two in just 12 minutes.
BALL HANDLING: F
This was perhaps the most maddening facet of the game.
First of all, the various zone defenses and looks gave Nebraska fits as it tried to set up its offense.
Second of all, The Citadel put very little pressure on the Huskers, who turned the ball over NINE times in the first half (just four in the second; 13 total).
Third, Tai Webster (3 turnovers) and Deverell Biggs (2 turnovers) continue to concern me, especially considering both seemingly had double that amount tonight. I think both have tremendous upside (most notably Webster) but we're getting to the meat of the schedule and its time to start seeing some progress. In the case of Webster, it's almost like he's gone downhill since the FCGU and Georgia games, where he looked the part. Mentally, I think he's really struggling, from turning his back on Coach Miles at halftime of Creighton, to not taking a wide open layup tonight (instead throwing it out to the corner) to getting overly frustrated with turnovers, to missing free throws. He will be fine; I hope Miles continues sticking with him in the lineup. But that still does concern me a bit, that we haven't seen hardly any progress from him since the Charleston Classic (correct me if I'm wrong on that; that's just my opinion).
Tim, I love you to death. You're my boy, blue.
But that was a completely garbage effort tonight. The first half was EMBARASSING. We're talking Barry Collier losing to Alaska Fairbanks embarrassing. We're talking Collier losing to UMKC embarrassing; we're talking Nee to Western Carolina embarrassing.
Nebraska should have TRAILED at the half. It didn't even enjoy a 5 point lead until the game was 3/4 over!!!
I listen to most every Miles press conference/post game, and his players adopted his outlook of this game, plain and simple. And that outlook was, NU would show up and win, because it was much better. It didn't even have to gameplan much. It could look ahead. Miles has even all but said as much, that he allows his players (in a way) to look ahead.
As a player, that must be an awesome thing. As a fan it is, too. I don't want Coach to ever be less honest and not shoot straight, telling us how it is. Obviously if he did hide more, I wouldn't have been fairly certain this was his view, so I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth.
But Coach, this team is nowhere near ready for that attitude. I get that it makes them like you more. I get that its relatable. Hell, I get that its common sense, because every single person is doing that (myself included).
But this is too many times now that this team has come out flat, especially at home, to just "chalk up" to inexperience and laugh off. I was greatly, greatly concerned about this game and the effort. The first half was BRUTAL. That has been a common theme at home this year against several opponents. That comes back to coaching/motivation/focus.
There's no excuses; this was NOT a true 15 point win. The team played like garbage against a garbage opponent and was lucky Eddie Hightower's crew blew the whistle as it did.
2013-2014 PLAYER OF THE GAME RESULTS:
TERRAN PETTEWAY - 5
TAI WEBSTER - 2
WALTER PITCHFORD - 2
LESLEE SMITH - 1
SHAVON SHIELDS - 1