That was certainly exciting. The Huskers got a huge win to open the conference slate over a Missouri team that most people thought was pretty good. The Huskers controlled the game for the entire first half, then held on for dear life before finally putting Missouri away in the final minute.
In the first half, Nebraska controlled the flow of the game, slowing Missouri's high-paced attack, and holding a team that scored over 80 points a game to 18 in the first half. NU forced 12 turnovers and turned them into 12 points, building a 32-18 lead at halftime.
The second half was mostly Mizzou. Nebraska backed off the aggression on offense, and let up a little on the defensive intensity. However, they still played excellent transition defense and kept Missouri from getting over the hump late in the game when it looked like the Tigers might take the lead.
Offense: B. The offense sputtered in the second half, but in the first half (and late in the second half), the Huskers did what they needed to. Only 13 3-pt attempts is a good thing: The Huskers were driving and taking high-percentage shots, and using the drives to open up 3pt shooting.
Defense: A. Missouri got some open shots, especially down low, in the second half, but the half-court offense really isn't Missouri's game. Defensively, the Huskers disrupted Mizzou's transition offense the entire game -- no fast break points and only 3 points off turnovers.
Rebounding: B. Despite being at a size disadvanage, the Huskers were only out-rebounded 35-30. They gave up 11 offensive boards, which extended some late Missouri possessions, but for the most part, that didn't kill them. Ryan Anderson and Ade Dagunduro came up with key rebounds every time we needed them.
Ball Handling: A. Okay, so 11 turnovers weren't great, but most of those were either dead ball turnovers or were immediately answered with Mizzou turnovers.
Coaching: A. Doc knew exactly how to disrupt Mizzou, and created a game plan that did just that. In the second half, it took a few timeouts to adjust the offense so we could score again, but in the end, he called for attacking the basket. I'm not sure what Toney McCray did, but Doc pulled him after a few decent minutes and he didn't come back in.
Overall: B+. A solid win that was made far more dramatic than it needed to be by an inability to score late in the second half. Defensively, Nebraska showed they can shut down anyone. The key to successful Big XII season is going to be scoring enough to win.
Player of the Game: Ade Dagunduro. The first half was the Ade Dagunduro show. Since the UMBC game, Ade has really come alive. If he continues to play the way he has, he has a good shot at all-conference teams by the end of the year.
Next Up: Wednesday 7PM, at Iowa State. TV on Fox Sports Midwest.
Around the Big XII:
Michigan State 75, Kansas 62: This game wasn't this close, with Kansas down 19 at the half. These certainly aren't last year's Jayhawks, but they're young and improving.
Oklahoma 61, Kansas State 53: A big road win for the Sooners, who hadn't beat K-State in 3 years. Blake Griffin continues to show how big a stud he is, with 29 points and 15 boards. It was also the first time Oklahoma beat a north-division opponent on the road since 2005.
Baylor 73, Texas Tech 61: The Red Raiders simply don't look very good, and Baylor does. The Bears shoot a lot (they didn't shoot particularly well, though). Texas Tech has scored 167 in a game this year, and given up 111 in another.
Texas 75, Iowa State 67: A surprisingly good performance by the Cyclones on the road against a top-10 opponent. Iowa State shot fairly well from 3-point range, but sent Texas to the line way too much. AJ Abrams was 2-10 shooting, his fifth-straight cold-shooting performance, which doesn't bode well for the Big Monday showdown with Oklahoma.
Oklahoma State 72, Texas A&M 61: There's 4 good teams in the South, and it's gonna be just as easy for one of these two teams to go 6-10 as it would be to go 10-6. A&M breezed through their nonconference schedule, but may struggle in conference play with a brutal schedule.