A trend is starting to emerge for this year’s Nebraska basketball squad. It’s not necessarily a killer, but it’s not a good habit to get into, either. The Huskers got off to a slow start for the third time in three games, when you include the exhibition game. This time it was the Central Arkansas Bears that got out to the quick start, leading for much of the first six minutes of the game.
Now, the Huskers did take the lead for good on a Shavon Shields free throw to go up 12-11 with 14:30 to go in the first half lead. But it wasn’t until the end of the first half that they would begin to pull away. The Bears used a barrage of three pointers in the middle of the half to stay close to the Huskers.
The young Bears had trouble playing disciplined enough to take advantage of the lackluster Huskers. They turned the ball over 11 times in the first half, missed three lay ups and fouled the Huskers with remarkable frequency, so much so that NU was in the double bonus before half of the first half had ticked away. They continued to attack the undersized Central Arkansas squad by doing what they do best, drive, drive, drive. They found themselves at the charity stripe 25 times before halftime, connecting on 19 of them.
After the break the Bears kept coming, closing the gap to 5 at 47-42. The Huskers went on a 21-4 run as the Bears went ice cold from the field and the rout was on. The Huskers would stretch their lead to as big as 29 before settling in for a 82-56 win. The Huskers played with a lot more energy and defensive discipline in the second half to put the Bears away.
NU once again saw a trio of players finish in double figures. Terran Petteway led the way with 23 while Shields scored 16 while hauling in 11 boards for the double-double and Tai Webster had 13.
Despite the big win, there will be plenty for Head Coach Tim Miles to use to coach the boys up before they hit the road this weekend. They still struggled to rebound and gave up way too many offensive rebounds and got sloppy with the ball in the first half. Slow starts will certainly be an issue as well. In games like this vs. teams like Central Arkansas, that are clearly inferior, they’ll need to figure out how to start games with the intensity they seemingly find as the game wears on.
But for tonight, the Huskers walk away with a 26 point win. It wasn’t a particularly inspired effort, but the Huskers were able to overwhelm an inferior opponent. The challenge gets much more difficult as they head out on the road to take on the A-10’s Rhode Island Rams. URI, also 2-0 will pose a more significant challenge to the Huskers early on in the season to get a better gauge of where they are. Tip-off on Saturday is at 6:00 pm Central. Currently, no television coverage is available in Nebraska, but that could change by game time.