It's difficult to know what to say about a game like this one and the Huskers (9-6, 0-3) fought so hard only to fall 62-47 to the #2 ranked Michigan Wolverines (16-0, 3-0). On one hand, you're proud of your team for playing well and giving themselves an opportunity to win.
They went on the road vs. the #2 team in the country and gave them everything they could handle. On the other hand, these guys are on scholarship at the University of Nebraska to win basketball games. They're competitive and don't like losing, even when everyone expects them to. Staying close isn't what their objective was. What do you say to that locker room? Nebraska head coach wasn't entirely sure either.
"You really struggle to say 'good job'" Coach Miles said in his radio post game interview, "they don't want to hear it and that's why you love these guys."
The Huskers entered this game looking to win their first conference game of the season. The Wolverines looked to remain undefeated and match the record for best start in school history. Few gave Nebraska a chance going into this one. After all, it was just a week ago the Huskers went on the road and lost by 36 to Ohio State. Coach Miles called his team out after that laugher for what he perceived to be a lack of hustle.
They were 24 point underdogs this time out. The Huskers, however, didn't play like it. They were able to slow down a team that had been hitting nearly 60% of their shots to only 39% from the floor, was averaging more than 82 points per game to 62 and held a team that averages 10 3's a game to just three.
Nebraska did everything on the defensive end they needed to win the game. On the offensive end, however, they were unable to take advantage of the opportunity by not being able to score points down the stretch.
The Huskers trailed by only five points at halftime 25-20. Nebraska was able to stay close to that margin for most of the second half and trailed by only five points with under seven minutes to play. The Huskers had avoided the mistakes that had plagued them so often over the course of the season.
They turned the ball over only five times, defended the preimeter well and held their own on the glass. The final seven minutes, however, those issues reared their ugly heads. A lazy pass led to a break away dunk. They failed to find Glenn Robinson III on a rebound opporutnity who dunked the ball vioelently. The Huskers never got closer than seven points after that.
The Huskers ran a short bench tonight, as well, only playing seven guys. Andre Almedia saw his first action since going down with a sprained ankle vs. Ohio State last week. He only saw ten minutes, however, and Benny Parker was in foul trouble the entire night, seeing only 12 minutes of play. The other five to get in the game all logged over 30 minutes. It will be difficult for the Huskers to maintain that rotation throughout the remainder of their schedule.
A bright spot in the game was Ray Gallegos who, after struggling in Big Ten play so far, found his shot a bit vs. Michigan. He led the Huskers with 19 points, including the final 12 for NU. Dylan Talley also chipped in 12.
It doesn't get much easier for the Huskers, as they travel back to the state of Michigan to take on the Michigan State Spartans Sunday evening. Tip off for that game is set for 5:00 pm CT and can be seen on BTN.