Free throws. Free throws. Free throws.
Nothing is more maddening than seeing the Huskers miss free throws! And they did that a very high rate tonight, finishing at just 59% from the charity stripe (13-22).
Tai Webster in particular needs to improve because as I mentioned after game one, he will get to the line A LOT this year with his ability to break down a defense and with how officials are calling the games. And, let's face it, he'll get there EVEN MORE if he can't make them! Webster finished a very Dave Brandon at the gym'ish tonight (3-8).
Overall, NU shot 44% (38% from downtown) and reached 62 points. There were some very questionable shots, particularly by our Player of the Game (Terran Petteway), but you take the streakiness of this team because you know there will be nights they light the nets on fire (see Gulf Coast, Florida).
But again - Free throws. Free throws. Free throws. Make them and win games. Miss them and lose games while missing post-season.
Nebraska looked pretty good in this one, sans the last ten minutes, as the Huskers held the Leathernecks to just 17 first half points.
For the game, WIU shot just 38% (21% from downtown) and only one Leatherneck (Tate Stensgaard, who made his Free Throws, Free Throws, Free Throws) finished in double figures.
I like how Nebraska plays defense and I think they can do a lot of different things if they want to. I'm interested to see two things as the season goes on, with this length and athleticism.
1. Will Nebraska play full court and implement traps from time to time?
2. Will Nebraska implement or at least work on a zone with all these fouls and their ability to interrupt passing lanes? I was watching tapes of the 1990-1991 team the other day and this is one thing I'd like to see these team throw in a flavor of, because I think they have the athletes and the length to do similar stuff to that team.
34-30, Huskers win on the boards. They also win 8-5 on the offensive glass.
Petteway scored 13 points (behind only the game leader, Walter Pitchford) and grabbed NINE rebounds, leading the Big Red. I give him Player of the Game for attacking the glass like a man.
BALL HANDLING: A
For a second straight contest, Nebraska achieved single digits in turnovers (9). They're averaging just seven turnovers a game as a team through two contests.
Nice nights for both Webster and Shavon Shields, as both Huskers finished with 3 assists and 1 turnover.
Found it interesting that Coach Miles didn't take some of his timeouts to attack the way his team performed over the last ten minutes of the game.
Not saying the game was ever in question - it wasn't. And not saying it would have made a huge difference.
But I saw a few VERY sloppy possessions on BOTH ENDS of the floor and was not happy at all with how this team finished the game. Just thought a couple timeouts to send the message and help the team not develop bad habits in terms of focus could have been a good thing.
But that's probably being pretty ticky tack even pointing that out.
OVERALL GRADE: B-
Nebraska played very sloppy for the majority of the second half and while it really didn't matter in the grand scheme of tonight's outcome, it was still a bit concerning.
Still, the Huskers played without two of their best guards and still handled a team that made the post-season last year by double digits, so you can't be too upset.
Hopefully the Huskers completely wax South Carolina State on Sunday and can head to Charleston with a good chance to win a minimum of two games.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Terran Petteway
2013-2014 PLAYER OF THE GAME RESULTS:
Shavon Shields - 1
Terran Petteway - 1
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