Explaining The Grades:
Feels like Groundhog Day - and that's both good and bad.
Of course, I'm referring to NU's offense being largely stagnant, other than when Bo Spencer goes and makes a play at the end of the shot clock.
Of course, on nights like this, that's a good thing, as NU hasn't seen a guy like Spencer since Tyronn Lue, a guy that can create for himself and take a game over out of the guard position.
Spencer is our Player of the Game tonight after 7-12 from the field, including 4-6 from downtown and 4-4 from the line, en route to pouring 22 points.
It's GREAT that Nebraska finally has a playmaker at the end of the shot clock and a guy that can potentially break the NBA drought NU currently has (now at 13 years years).
However, it's worrisome that the Huskers go as Spencer goes, as there will be nights (see Gulf Coast, Florida) where he'll be off and such, NU won't know how to score.
I don't want to make this game sound like it was only the Bo Spencer show, however. There were some other guys that really stepped up, including Caleb Walker, who put in 9 points, with 7 of them coming in the second half when the game was in question.
Toney McCray (8), David Rivers (5) and Jorge Brian Diaz (9) also had nice nights offensively, not only for their scoring output, but for the way they ran the offense.
Overall, a definite GOOD night for the Big Red, who put in (lucky) 69 points on 51% shooting from the floor and got the foul line 18 times (converting on 83%).
Nebraska held the Horned Frogs to just 20 points in the second half on 24% shooting from the field. For the game, TCU shot just 36%.
In the first half, the Huskers had a continuing problem of finding open shooters on the perimeter, which needs to stop! NU also needs to do a much better job of identifying shooters.
I would say the defense was "C-" level in the first half but "A+" level in the second half and for a defense that has largely been average this season, this was a good night.
Jorge Brian Diaz continues to play better defensively and had a huge night tonight, swatting away 5 shots (though the stats only say 3 - I'm positive it was 5).
Brandon Richardson was his usual stud defensively and it was also nice seeing Toney McCray elevate his efforts on "D."
Both teams grabbed 30 total rebounds in this one, though the Huskers did allow TCU to get to 11 offensive boards.
Brandon Ubel continues to rebound effectively based on proper positioning and heart, as the Overland Park junior snagged eight boards, including three offensively. Fellow Kansas (Hutchinson) Caleb Walker also grabbed eight, including two offensively.
Walker was a dark horse candidate for Player of the Game had Bo Spencer not played like a member of the Harlem Globetrotters.
Eleven turnovers on the road is OUTSTANDING.
However, I'm still not happy with NU's spacing and movement on offense. As mentioned earlier, the offense is far too predicated on Spencer bailing the Big Red out. It worked tonight, but it's not a consistent recipe for success.
Speaking of Spencer, he was turned over six times tonight, though in many of those occasions, he was trying to bail out a possession.
Good news here is that outside of Bo, no other Husker committed more than one turnover.
What more can you ask for from Doc tonight?
He coached his team to a big road win, and actually, a MUST WIN.
They came out with good effort and though they didn't perform real well in the first half, he got them going in half number two and they never let up.
In recent games, Doc has been getting out coached in the second half, which was never a trend before. So, its good to see that snapped tonight.
I like what Doc did with the rotations tonight and I REALLY LIKE how he's eased David Rivers and Josiah Moore into the rotation. I also harped on him early for his play of Mike Fox and it should be noted that he's returned him to more of a walk-on roll, which is important for Moore and Rivers to grow and mature.
Doc's team played lockdown "D" in the second and it was clearly coaching that got Bo Spencer that wide open 60 footer at the end of the first half.
This was easily Nebraska's best effort of the year, with Rhode Island coming in second.
The Huskers went on the road and though they played in front of a crowd similar to one at the UNL Rec Center, they did take care of business and motivate themselves to grab a road win. That should be noted - sometimes these atmopsheres can be tough to conquer.
NU also bonded together in the second half and took the woodshed to TCU, outscoring the Horned Frogs 39-20.
This was a real nice win for NU, compounded by Diaz even winning his second tip in as many contests.
And that frosting tasted good!
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Bo Spencer
Bo Spencer - 3
Caleb Walker - 2
Jorge Brian Diaz - 2
Brandon Richardson - 1
Brandon Ubel - 1