Nebraska shot 50% from the field simply because they finally figured out a way to attack the basket and get to the rim.
When they weren't scoring from the field, they were often getting fouled, and the Big Red won the game because of this, converting on 77% of their foul shots (20-26). That included 9 of their last 10 in the closing minutes of the game.
Wow, was the old Shavon Shields back or what? Tonight's Player of the Game poured in 18 points on 6-12 shooting while also grabbing a team high nine rebounds!
While Terran Petteway was mostly bad during the first half and early into the second, turning the ball over EIGHT times, he still finished with 18 points and had a number of key baskets and free throws to seal the game at the end. I give him much credit for fighting through the struggles.
Also, Tai Webster was very good tonight - again, the numbers aren't eye popping (9 points, 1 assist and 2 turnovers in 28 minutes) but if you watch the games, you consistently see him improving and flashes of what he WILL become.
Let's first of all say that Ohio State DID miss a number of open looks.
Still, Nebraska was EXCELLENT tonight on the defensive end, forcing 15 turnovers and holding Ohio State to 40% from the field and 62 points. And, had OSU not fouled at the end and greatly extended the possession total, they would have been legitimately in the mid-50's.
One key thing; OSU connected on a paltry 28% from downtown (6-21) with two of those coming in the last minute.
I continue to like the zone and think it will help win NU more games as the season progresses. Ask Northwestern how it does against better athleticism.
Nebraska out rebounded the Buckeyes 33 to 27 and held OSU to just six offensive boards (four of which came in the first half).
We already mentioned Shields' effort on the boards, but also a "shout" to Petteway (5 boards), Leslee Smith (4) and Deverell Biggs (4).
Nebraska just played "tough" - even Walter Pitchford, who only officially had two rebounds in 20 minutes, was boxing out with authority and going up strong to help secure boards.
BALL HANDLING: D
17 turnovers, including EIGHT by Petteway and SIX by Biggs? No, no, no.
This is the sole reason NU went from up 14 with 1:50 left in the first half to losing by three in the early stages of the second half. This included a 14-2 OSU run at one point.
This is a couple of consecutive bad turnover games for Petteway - this needs to improve, obviously.
Coach Miles went small after seeing OSU do so and it proved effective.
He continued to mix in some zone at appropriate times and massaged his way through the turnovers by pulling guys at key stretches when they were struggling (Petteway and Biggs).
Also, kudos to Miles for playing David Rivers down the stretch, who responded with a key block, some big rebounds and converting at the foul line. He didn't have too much pride to give the kid another chance and play him in key moments.
OVERALL GRADE: A
Sans the turnovers, this is a straight "A" report card! I don't remember the last time we had one of those.
TREMENDOUS win for the Huskers - how do I know that?
Many casual friends/fans I haven't heard from in ages texted me and e-mailed me after the game, excited. Believe me, the wins DO matter, both with casual fans and recruits. Loved seeing Jacob Hammond so excited on Twitter, too.
But let's be honest - while the casual fans/recruits enjoyed it, even we, the biggest diehards, needed this. Getting beat down is only fun for so long and this puts us all on cloud nine.
Now, Nebraska MUST MUST MUST win at least one more game this week or this game goes for naught. Win 2 of 3 this week and you still have a realistic chance at the NIT.
Win this next one at Penn State, a game Nebraska ALWAYS loses in recent years (win a huge game, then drop a completely winnable game next), and you're making REAL progress.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: SHAVON SHIELDS
2013-2014 PLAYER OF THE GAME RESULTS:
TERRAN PETTEWAY - 8
TAI WEBSTER - 2
WALTER PITCHFORD - 2
LESLEE SMITH - 2
SHAVON SHIELDS - 2
DEVERELL BIGGS - 1
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