Tired. Tired. Tired.
That's how the Big Red looked.... from the opening jumpball on Wedneday evening, and up to the final buzzer. Not sure what you can expect of a team that had a 5 hour practice, followed by an up-tempo and energetic win over Tulsa...only to play the very next night against a potent BYU offense. Oh yeah, and throw in the loss of starter Ryan Anderson to a minor foot injury as well. The Husker starters combined for a grand total of 23 points. That's correct...23 points. To contrast that figure, Jackson Emery led the Cougars with 23 points all by his lonesome. Nebraska's starting five went a combined 0 for 6 from the three point line, and 9 of 27 from the field. The Cornhuskers were led by a stellar effort off the bench by Eshaunte Jones in what was the only real bright spot on the night.
BYU had 3 players in double figures, while shooting a scorching 63% from the field, and hitting 7 of 16 from downtown. Conversely, Nebrsaka hit a respectable 42% from the field and 43% from 3-point land ( Thanks to bench scoring). The Cougars forced several key turnovers that led to breakaway points, while out-rebounding the Big Red 30-20. So far, Nebraska has not won a game in which they lost the rebound battle. More evident than any of the statistics however, was Nebraska's pitiful desire and lack of focus. Coach Sadler was clearly at wits end as well. Midway through the second half, Bear Jones hit a 3 pointer for the Big Red while being fouled in the act...resulting in a possible 4 point play and a Nebraska surge. Doc had other issues, and was called for a technical foul for verbally b**ch-slapping the referees. (I swear the Bo Pelini and Doc Sadler were seperated at birth).
Nothing illustrated the teams lack of motivation more than the opening inbounds pass to start the 2nd half. After a halftime of rest and a chance to re-focus, the inbound pass to Lance Jeter slipped through his hands, bounced off his dome and landed out of bounds. Matt Davison characterised the teams inability to perform fundamentals as "...these are things you learn in 3rd Grade". (Gotta love ol' Matt doing color commentary!) Nebraska created it's own blooper reel this evening, including airballs, dropped passes, and half-hearted efforts to retrieve loose balls..resulting in a lopsided BYU lead from start to finish. Eshaunte "Bear" Jones chipped in with the Huskers only real sparkling performance, scoring 21 points on 5-7 shooting from the arc.
It would have been a huge win for the Cornhuskers, but I think Husker fans everywhere would have been satisfied with a close game and a decent effort. Poor effort all around, and possibly a sign to Doc and crew that the Huskers wil have to step things up if they want to compete in the Big 12 this season. There is talent on this team, but the unit needs to operate as such, and keep the mental focus going for the full 40 minutes.
The biggest question at this point in the season, is who will step up and provide consistency for this team offensively. As of late, redshirt freshman Bear jones seems to be the only one who wants that job....but still plays off the bench. The status of Senior guard Ryan Anderson is unknown, but will likely be ready to play by the start of the conference schedule.
The Huskers head back to Lincoln for 3 straight home games to prepare for the Big 12 season opener aganist Texas A+M. Nebraska's next game will be on Tuesday, Dec 29th versus Southern Utah (4-8). Tipoff at 7pm CST.