Nebraska (9-6, 0-2) hosted Wisconsin (11-4, 2-0) today in the final home opener at the Bob Deveany Center. Before the game started, Tim Miles thanked retiring Athletic Director Tom Osborne and presented him with a framed jersey. If you believe in omens, it wasn't a good one when T.O. dropped it coming off the court. Points were hard come by, especially in the first half. Wisconsin was the first team to reach double digits and did not do so until 10 minutes had passed in the game. The Huskers lack in depth and were without big man Andre Almeida for the game due to injury. It did not help Tim Miles' team when Shavon Shields who started in place of Almeida picked up two quick fouls. In the first half, the Huskers gave up 7 offensive rebounds which really hurt considering they held the Badgers to just 26% shooting in the half. Despite losing those hustle plays throughout the first half, Nebraska went to the break tied 19-19 with Wisconsin due to a steal and a layup by Ray Gallegos who along with Dylan Talley led the Huskers in scoring with 12 points.
In the second half, both teams got it going a little bit on offense. The Badgers struggled all game at the free throw line, going 3-13 on the day. Ryan Evans was a problem for the Huskers all day as he put up a double-double for the Badgers by scoring 10 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. Brandon Ubel hit a three pointer with 1:00 left on the clock to pull the Huskers within three, bringing the score to 41-44. However, that was the only field goal for the home team in the final six minutes of the game. Wisconsin finished the game on a 10-3 run that ultimately propelled them to victory.
I am not a believer in "moral victories" and they don't count in the standings so coming close to a big victory isn't good enough in this case for the Huskers. This is a game that was very much there for the taking and if Miles' team wants to get 5 or so conference victories this season, they needed this one. The Huskers did show good effort though and that was an area of concern for Tim Miles after the Ohio State loss. He spoke about that in his opening statement in the post game interview:
I told the guys in the locker room I can live with that effort. I can. I mean, that's got to be what our identity looks like: that kind of team that's out there scrapping and fighting. I can live with that. (I am) disappointed with the loss; kind of go back and forth on what we could've done late in the game and try to score the ball a little bit, right?
Up next for the Huskers is a date with #2 Michigan in Ann Arbor.