Give Illinois credit because they hit some pretty difficult shots in this basketball game.
The obvious was the big three at the end of the first half. But both Brandon Paul (14 points) and D.J. Richardson (13 points) also had end of shot clock, extremely difficult shots that were created by individual talent.
Nebraska also gave up 13 points off of turnovers, so the defense wasn't quite as bad as the stats would indicate (72 points and 44% from the field allowed, while only forcing 10 turnovers).
However, the Huskers could not get any stops in the final five minutes of the game, and Illinois made its free throws (15-18, 83%), making this game impossible to "steal on the road."
Illinois won "the battle of the boards" by nine (35-26) which you can definitely live with.
However, you have got to see more out of Ubel than just five rebounds in forty minutes.
In fact, no Huskers had more than five boards for the night.
Still, the 'Skers were solid on the glass.
BALL HANDLING: C-
11 turnovers and 11 assists - decent.
Actually, 11 turnovers is pretty good in the grand scheme, but the manner in which NU racked these giveaways up was NOT good.
Most of these were unforced, especially early on, when the Huskers had seven first half giveaways.
Several were dropped balls or throw aways or the such and as noted above, led to a number of Illinois points.
So this is one of those games where the stats can be deceiving - NU faced little to no defensive pressure but still gave the ball away more than it normally does and in a way that led to more points than it normally would.
Nebraska was ready to play and looked crisp, confident and collected throughout this game.
The Huskers had an answer for the majority of big Illinois baskets and Tim Miles deserves a lot of the credit.
Miles rolled the dice like a River Boat Gambler in leaving Shavon Shields in their with three fouls throughout the second half. He won the bet as Shields was able to play without fouling out.
Miles did a nice job massaging this game with timeouts and kept his players fresh until the final four or five minutes, when they just had nothing left and the better team pulled away.
OVERALL GRADE: B+
Nebraska played a forty minute game on the road against a middle of the pack Big 10 team, which is impressive considering it did so with just six players AND just four days after getting "ripped a new one" in Madison.
You have to be pleased with that fact, especially considering that Illinois played probably a "B" level game themselves in making some big time shots at the end of shot clocks and converting at the foul line time after time.
Let's hope NU can send out the Bob Devaney Sports Center in style on Wednesday night with a sold out crowd and exciting win - one which would get the Huskers the 10 seed in a year it was picked at the very bottom!
PLAYER OF THE GAME: RAY GALLEGOS & DYLAN TALLEY
2012-2013 PLAYER OF THE GAME RESULTS:
RAY GALLEGOS - 10
DYLAN TALLEY - 10
BRANDON UBEL - 5
SHAVON SHIELDS - 4
DAVID RIVERS - 3
JORDAN TYRANCE - 1
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