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Nebraska 80, Alabama State 51 -- Postgame Reaction and Report Card

Well, that was sure interesting. (Final Stats)

I would like for the Huskers to shoot 56% from the 3pt line and 51.7% overall (that's an effective shooting percentage of 67.8%, btw) on Sunday against a team they won't easily beat.  That may be too much to ask, but at least tonight shows that the Huskers can play offense.

More importantly, this game shows what the Huskers need to do to make their offense work: get points in transition from the D, attack the basket from the set offense, and take the open 3s the penetration sets up.  For the first time all year, including the SLU game, the Huskers got their entire offense working, and it looked really good.

Defense was pretty good.  Didn't cause a lot of turnovers, but they kept Alabama State from getting a lot of good shots, too.  The Hornets got some open looks, especially late when the game was long since decided, but still only shot 36% for the game.

The lineup was a little different today, against a larger team.  Cookie Miller and Alonzo Edwards got the starts tonight, and played well.  Edwards didn't score a lot, but he was all over the court, making plays and screens when he played.  Still no Bear Jones -- I'm guessing he's going to have surgery on his hurting foot -- and Chris Balham, who hasn't played more than 10 minutes in a game despite starting, didn't play either.  Still, 9 Huskers played 14 minutes or more, and eight of them scored at least 5 points.  Four Huskers were in double digits -- Harley (16), McCray (12), Anderson (11), and Sek (11).  Sek was lightning, too, shooting 3 for 3 from beyond the arc and 4 of 4 overall.

Oh, and the Huskers didn't miss a free throw (6 of 6).

Report Card

Offense: A+.  This was as good an offensive game you could ask for.  They did cool off at the end when the benchwarmers were in there, but that's expected.  An Offensive Efficiency of  151.4 is by far the best of the Doc Sadler era.

Defense: B+.  Didn't force a lot of turnovers, but still shut down the offense of a team that will likely be in the NCAA Tournament (albeit as a 15 or 16 seed).  The D wasn't very efficient (101.8), but a lot of that came late when ASU got easy buckets.

Rebounding: A.  Alabama State has a lot of big guys, and the Huskers still outrebounded them by a lot.  They did give up 8 offensive boards on 32 misses, but that's much better than they've done.

Ball Handling: A.  There was some ugly ball handling in a couple places, but the Huskers got to the benchwarmers with only 8 TOs, which is quite impressive.  Especially considering that the Hornets turned up a full-court press in the second half.

Coaching: A.  Hard to judge coaching in a game like this, but Doc did get some players that needed to get some minutes to prep for Arizona State like Alonzo Edwards some quality time.  He clearly had a talk with the team about attacking the basket after the Creighton game, and it's had an effect.

Overall: A.  Hard to find fault with anything in this game.  They did let up on the gas in the second half, which probably made this game look far less lopsided than it could have been...and it was quite lopsided.

Player of the Game: Ryan Anderson.  11 pts, 5 RBs, 7 Assts, 3-4 3pt shooting.  Ryan did a little bit of everything tonight, and finally managed to get out of his shooting funk that's gone back quite a while.  Ryan's got to play like this more often, especially on Sunday.

Next: Sunday at Arizona State, 1 PM, Televised Nationally on FSN.  I'll have a full preview on Saturday for the biggest nonconference game of the season.