Nebraska scored a season low 59 points and shot just 36% from the field.
The biggest issue for the Huskers was an inability to get to the rim and finish or for that matter, even getting to the rim and getting fouled. When the Huskers DID get to the line, they were excellent - going 10-11. However, the Bearcats attempted 30 free throws, or NINETEEN MORE than NU (scoring 15 more points than the Huskers at the line - or, the difference in the game).
As touched on in the previous paragraph, and as noted by Tim Miles after the game, NU showed no ability to pump fake, go up strong with two hands or pivot. They tried to score "off of one foot" and it led to six blocked shots and probably another five that were disrupted.
Shavon Shields has got to figure out a way to get going. I've put this on Miles a couple of times this year but certainly not today, as Shields did attempt 11 shots (making one) and it seemed as though there was a concentrated effort within the offense to get him the ball in situations to slash and score.
Our Player of the Game is once again Terran Petteway, who put in a game high 22 points after being mainly nonexistent in the first half.
I really didn't think Nebraska was that bad defensively, as the Huskers held the Bearcats to 42% shooting and a respectable 74 points (it would have been 70 had NU not fouled at the end).
As mentioned above, Nebraska fouled WAY too much, but much of that was due to their deficiencies on the boards (noted later).
I liked the variety of looks NU ran, including a little mini-press, some zone in the first half and tough, hard nosed man to man defense.
Still, one other negative - NU really tried to pack the lane and make Cinci gun it from downtown, but the Bearcats found ways to get into the lane, get easy shots and get fouled. That certainly was disappointing.
We knew coming in that Cinci held a big edge on the boards and boy, did they ever, finishing +10 (40-30) including FIFTEEN offensive rebounds that led to numerous second chance points, both from the floor and the free throw line (officially TWENTY ONE second chance points).
I feel like a broken record, but Walter Pitchford has GOT to figure out a way to grab 5-7 rebounds a game and not get completely dominated in the post on the defensive end. I'm fully aware he's a stretch 4 and likes to think of himself as more of a "3" on the offensive end, but somebody his size and with the way Nebraska is set up HAS to at least be mediocre defensively and on the boards. He is nowhere close to that (finishing this game with disappointment after disappointment on both - a line of 2 points, 3 rebounds and blown defensive assignment after blown defensive assignment in 21 minutes).
BALL HANDLING: C+
12 assists, 11 turnovers. Solid considering 59 points.
Disappointing to not have Deverell Bigs for this one as he would have helped out, perhaps giving Tai Webster (4 turnovers, 2 assists) more of a rest, even if he had played the "2" much of the contest as Coach Miles has mentioned he will be doing.
I thought Nebraska came out and (to use a Doc Sadler word) "competed" really well, both defensively and on the boards. The shots weren't falling, but they came out and looked ready to play, which is something we've been harping on NU for NOT doing throughout much of this season.
In the end, NU wasn't good enough to win this game, if we're being honest with ourselves, but it didn't have anything to do with Coach Miles' in game coaching or motivation.
OVERALL GRADE: C+
Nebraska lost by about what Las Vegas thought they would (the spread closed at 12.5) and competed for 30 of the 40 minutes. They are still 1-2 bigs short and 1 Biggs short but the effort was there today, as was the focus, and that's something to be hopeful for heading into Big 10 play.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: TERRAN PETTEWAY
2013-2014 PLAYER OF THE GAME RESULTS:
TERRAN PETTEWAY - 6
TAI WEBSTER - 2
WALTER PITCHFORD - 2
LESLEE SMITH - 1
SHAVON SHIELDS - 1