The Huskers are 10-1 at home. You may have heard about that. The hashtag #PBAMagic got a lot of use. But it’s not the building. Or at least, it’s not just the building. It’s the fans that came and cheered this team on. Make no mistake about it, they were loud and active. It was the players that pulled the jerseys that read "Nebraska" over their heads like Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields and Ray Gallegos. It was players like little used Nate Hawkins making plays with the game on the line that make the new diggs so special. Does this season happen without the building? Who knows? Do the players consider Nebraska without it? No idea. Do the fans come out if they were still playing at the Devaney Center? Doubtful. One thing is for sure, however, this team has become comfortable there in a hurry.
This conversation, however, was in doubt for much of the night. Through halftime, for sure. After getting out to a 7-2 lead just minutes into the game, the Husker offense came to a grinding hault. The Huskers were having success getting open shots and attacking the rim vs. Indiana’s man defense. The Hoosiers saw that too and switched to zone. The Huskers did not handle it well. Indiana disrupted passing lanes and caused turnover after turnover. If the Huskers didn’t turn it over, they settled for low percentage jump shots, only scoring 12 points the rest of the half. The Hoosiers led 32-19 at the break. All was not well in the Husker locker room.
Coach Miles got after the team at the break and things changed in a hurry after the second half got underway. The Huskers were in attack mode. The Huskers scored 16 points before the first media timeout and added a 17th capping off the four point play that was the official turning point of the game. That free throw finished off a sequence that saw Shavon Shields collect a questionable charge call on one end leading to the possession where Ray Gallegos was fouled on a three point attempt which he made. That seven point swing turned the momentum in the Huskers favor, which they were able to ride all the way to the finish.
In the second half, the Huskers switched up two things in the second half. For starters, after they blitzed the Hoosiers back into the zone that caused the Huskers so much trouble in the first half, it was too late, the Huskers were in attack mode and as Coach said in his post game show, they just didn’t care what defense the Hoosiers employed. They were in attack mode. On the other end of the court, the Huskers gave Indiana a taste of their own medicine and playing a zone of their own, smothering the Hoosier offensive efforts, holding them to 23 points in the half, riding the momentum and the emotion of that PBA crowd to the finish.
The Huskers were led once again by Terran Petteway who led all scorers with 18, 13 of which came in the second half. NU also saw three others reach double figures in a balanced attack who were playing their first game after the dismissal of Deverell Biggs. Nebraska will need to continue to have a balanced attack as they face two tough road games after taking the next six days off. They’ll next take the court on Wednesday February 5th vs. Michigan, a team they fell a point short against back on January 9. Coach Miles has been on record more than once saying he likes the matchup for his team vs. the Wolverines. His team will have the chance to back up that bravado and do what no other Big Ten team has yet figured out how to do and that’s been defeat the Wolverines. The Huskers came as close as anyone, however and they’ll get their shot to flip the script. Maybe they can capture some of that #PBAMagic and take it with them.