Time: 7:30 PM CST
Location: Pinnacle Bank Arena – Lincoln, Neb.
Watch: BTN Plus
The Tale of Two Halves – Carter Donahue
It was a tale of two halves, but Nebraska’s (2-0) early 18-0 run gave itself enough cushion for an 86-67 victory over North Texas (1-1) at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Despite a mostly lopsided affair, here are my takeaways from Nebraska moving to 2-0.
— First and foremost, North Texas is young team with a lot to work on. They simply don’t have the talent that Nebraska, or even Eastern Illinois has. It’s a rebuilding program. Right after the under-12 media timeout the Mean Green
Right after the under-12 media timeout, the Mean Green were shooting 6.7 percent from the floor. They got decent shots, but North Texas struggled to hit its open looks. In addition, defensively, North Texas racked up seven fouls in the opening minutes in the second half, and allowed Nebraska to reach the Bonus before the 10-minute mark in each half.
— All went well for Nebraska until North Texas went to the 2-3 zone right after halftime. From there, Nebraska started the half 3-of-19 from the floor. And while that might seem terrible, several missed shots around the rim – including a missed dunk by Isaiah Roby – *might* have been
And while that might seem terrible, several missed shots around the rim – including a missed dunk by Isaiah Roby – *might* have been fueled from a lack of focus and concentration. Of course, that’s no excuse, and Nebraska flat out missed shots, too, but the overall offense didn’t look too bad. Actually, Nebraska did a pretty good job of penetrating the middle of the 2-3, specifically James Palmer Jr. and Glynn Watson Jr. In addition, it was a good sign to see guys like Isaac Copeland and Isaiah Roby penetrating from the perimeter, too. Ed Morrow and Michael Jacobson couldn’t do some of the things Palmer, Copeland and Roby did against the zone tonight. Another positive from the zone: Jordy Tshimanga, when in the game, did a very good job of sealing the middle post defender in the 2-3, ultimately leading to several clear paths for Watson and Palmer. Tshimanga’s minutes were minimized today due to foul trouble. In the future, Nebraska can use its transition offense to beat the zone down the court and force opposing defenders out of position and scrambling. Given all the time the Huskers spend on transition offense in practice, that area of NU’s offense will inevitably improve with time.
In the future, Nebraska can use its transition offense to beat the zone down the court and force opposing defenders out of position and scrambling. Given all the time the Huskers spend on transition offense in practice, that area of NU’s offense will inevitably improve with time.
— After struggling in the season opener, Palmer started off the game scoring nine points in seven minutes off 3-of-3 shooting. A good start that showed Husker fans that the Miami transfer is a scorer with a short memory. Palmer led all with 18 points, and along with scoring, was able to penetrate the defense and set up plays for others. An overall solid game for the junior.
— Watson was good once again. I’ll say good because he wasn’t great… he could do better. And Miles and Watson know it, too. Even after scoring 15 tonight and 21 in the season opener (with 17 in a tight second half), Miles said after the game Saturday that he and Watson know he can do better. Watson was solid tonight, BUT, he was 1-for-4 from 3 (mostly open looks) and 5-for-10 from the floor. Watson is just scratching the surface of how good he can be.
— Evan Taylor struggled heavily at the line Saturday night and missed several free throws down the stretch that kept Eastern Illinois within striking distance. Tonight, Taylor finished 10-for-12 from the charity stripe. Not only a huge improvement from the line, but the senior getting to the line 11 and 12 times in the first two games; that’s a really good sign.
— Roby continued to contribute in many different ways. The sophomore finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. Roby also continued to show his capability of blocking shots at the rim, and, he also did a good job of penetrating the defense without turning it over. Turnovers have been a problem for Roby in the past, but tonight Roby dribbled it with confidence, and that led to easier plays for others.
— Speaking of filling up a stat sheet, Copeland finished with eight points, eight rebounds and four blocks – a career-high. He struggled from the floor, going 1-for-7, but despite his struggles, he found ways to impact the game and played well defensively. Once Copeland starts to get in a rythym and knock down shots, another lethal weapon will be added to Nebraska’s offense.
— Nebraska played nine guys in the first ten minutes, and 12 in the first half. And out of the 12, nine of those players scored. Included in the mix was freshman Nana Akenten and Thorir Thorbjarnarson, meaning the two will not be able to redshirt this year. The two freshman were the lead candidates for a redshirt this season, but after discussing it over with Miles, each player said he wanted to play. Playing double-digit guys in the first half not only helps give experience to the
Playing double-digit guys in the first half not only helps give experience to the roster, but it shows the depth that Nebraska has and the potential of some of the younger guys.
–Finally, Nebraska blocked nine shots today, tying the most ever by a Tim Miles team at Nebraska. Husker fans have seen Roby block six shots in the opener, Copeland block four today, and Duby Okeke – the leading shot-blocker at Winthrop – added a few emphatic blocks of his own. Nebraska’s athleticism looks to be altering a lot of shots early.
Nebraska will be back in action Thursday as the Huskers travel to New York City to take on St. Johns in the Gavitt Tipoff Games of the AdvoCare Invitational. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m. and can be seen on FS1. Fans can also listen online via the Huskers Sports Network.