The Huskers survived a furious Jacksonville State rally to grab win #7, holding off the Gamecocks 59-55.
With 7:00 remaining in the game, Dylan Talley hit a free throw to put the Huskers up 50-35. It appeared as though the Huskers were set to pull away for an easy win, one they needed after losing their two previous games struggling to eclipse 40 points in either one. This one was in the bag. Jacksonville State was having trouble scoring and after a slow start, the Huskers were starting to find a little rhythm. The difference between a Big Ten team and a team from the Ohio Valley Conference was becoming evident. The Huskers were wearing them down and this one was going to be a yawner. The problem was that the Gamecocks didn't feel the same way.
"Give a lot of credit to Jacksonville." senior forward Brandon Ubel said. "They played 40 minutes of basketball. We only played 32."
After the Huskers took their biggest lead of the game at 15 Jacksonville State went to work and over the next six and a half minutes, JSU was able to cut the lead to just a single point after a Ronnie Boggs three pointer from the corner with :21 remaining in the game. The Huskers were able to keep the Gamecocks off the scoreboard the rest of the way and seal the deal with free throws from Dylan Talley and Ray Gallegos, though they were helped by a missed layup from Brian Williams which would have tied the game with six seconds remaining. However he missed it and the Huskers escaped with the win.
The Huskers were paced by Brandon Ubel who scored 15 and grabbed 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. Also of note is the continued emergence freshman guard Shavon Shields. Shields had his best game as a Husker, scoring 14 points in 28 minutes of action. With opponents keying on getting Ray Gallegos off of his game, if Shields can continue to develop, it will be a big boost to what could be a fledgeling offense otherwise.
Also of note is that Nebraska did not make a single three pointer. The Huskers have not gone three pointer-less since a loss in December 2010 to Vanderbilt and have not won a game without hitting beyond the arc since 1998. In his post game show, Coach Tim Miles could not remember the last time he coached a team that did not make a single three. Also of note was that the Huskers made it to the free throw line 21 times, making 17 of them. In their past three games, the Huskers made it to the line a total of 24 times.
After the past two games, the Huskers will take the win. "We got lucky" Miles said, invoking the popular Buffalo Wild Wings commercials while reflecting on the game that nearly got away. With three games remaining and two away from the comforts of the Devaney Center, before conference play gets into full swing, the Huskers are going to have to rely on more than luck.