Nebraska earns an "A+" for its first half effort, as NU scored a season high 50 points on 53% shooting from the field (50% from downtown).
In the second, Nebraska was sluggish and took a lot of rushed/bad shots, as well as turning the ball over way too much (more on that later). The Huskers finished the second frame with just 29 points on 43% shooting, though in credit to them, they also shot 50% from three (3-6). Remarkably consistent! I'd give NU a "B-" for its second half.
Nebraska saw four players in double figures (Shavon Shields (15), Ray Gallegos (13) Walter Pitchford (12) and Terran Petteway (11)) and as we'll detail later, a lot of that was because of how well they shared the basketball.
I thought Nebraska did a poor job in the post for the majority of this game and that was enough for Kirk Van Slyke to make them pay, as the Red Wolves big man finished with a game high 27 points on 11-15 shooting. That really, really concerns me, as Arkansas State had virtually nobody else in the paint to make you worry and obviously, Nebraska is going to see teams with two and three versions of Van Slyke come Big 10 play.
However, this is nothing unexpected, so the Huskers must continue to do all other areas of the game at a high level in order to combat its lack of talent and depth in the frontcourt.
Outside of the defense on Van Slyke, Nebraska played okay, and held Arkansas State way under its scoring average, yes.
However, dig deeper and look who they've played, and the points averaged become a lot less impressive, so I was not overly thrilled with how NU defended, especially in the second half (when the Red Wolves shot 50% and scored 40 points).
Nebraska finished three rebounds ahead of Arkansas State (39 to 36) but did allow the Red Wolves to go +1 on the offensive glass (11-10).
Our Player of the Game is Walter Pitchford, who finished with a double double in scoring the above mentioned 12 points while snatching 10 boards. Still, sick of seeing Nebraska teams allow rebounds off of short and soft misses on free throws, which happened down the stretch. I.E., I can understand some long misses, but short and soft misses should NEVER not be rebounded by the inside positioned team.
BALL HANDLING: B+
19 assists on 29 baskets? Terrific!
16 turnovers, however, including an additional stupid technical foul by Deverell Biggs (which may as well be a 17th)? Not good.
The Huskers also seemed to not understand how to finish the game and a lot of that was because of turnovers, trying to force things that weren't there and rushing into things.
So on one hand, great job distributing the basketball but on another, poor job taking care of it.
*** NOTE *** Very nice assist to turnover ratios by Tai Webster (5:2) and Ray Gallegos (4:0).
Nebraska came out on fire and looked as if it wanted to send a message to the rest of the country after being embarrassed last Sunday.
The Huskers did a much better job moving the ball around and finding the open shooter, and they completely dominated this game for 30 of the 40 minutes, also covering the spread in the process (even with a poor final 8:00).
That tells me they took care of business and came out focused and motivated. Nothing but praise for Coach Miles today.
OVERALL GRADE: B
A good win against an average opponent, with very few things to be disappointed about.
Hope the guys take care of business in the classroom this week and get ready for their final cakewalk of the year next Saturday 'cuz after that, "it's on like donkey kong!"
PLAYER OF THE GAME: WALTER PITCHFORD
2013-2014 PLAYER OF THE GAME RESULTS:
TERRAN PETTEWAY - 4
TAI WEBSTER - 2
WALTER PITCHFORD - 2
LESLEE SMITH - 1
SHAVON SHIELDS - 1