My, how times have changed. It wasn't long ago that it was Nebraska that did the court storming, but on this night, the Huskers got to taste what it's like to be on the other end of the equation. The Huskers took to the road to take on a young, talented Rhode Island in front of more than 7,000 rowdy Rams fans who haven't sen their team beat a ranked team this century.
Nebraska and Rhode Island went back and forth all night. Neither team led by more than four in regulation. Both teams struggled to shoot the ball. After a slow first half, both teams were able to get going more in the second. The Rams made several plays that would get their crowd whipped up into a frenzy and every time, the Huskers had an answer. When the Huskers would grab a lead of their own, the Rams would counter. This game ultimately wound up in overtime where the Rams were the ones to make the plays.
URI freshman, Jared Terrell, came out in overtime firing on all cylinders. Terrell hit two threes on the Rams first two possessions of the extra period, and with an additional bucket from E.C. Matthews, the Rams took a six point lead they would never relinquish. The Huskers continued to fight and stay close, but could not close the gap, falling 66-62, sparking the party at center court.
There wasn't much about this game that was pretty. The first half saw the two teams go a combined 2-22 from three. The Rams only scored 19 points and the Huskers didn't do much better, only scoring 23. Other than Shavon Shields, who scored 25 points, no Huskers was effective on the offensive end of the floor. The Huskers continued to struggle rebounding the ball. Rhode Island dominated the boards, 49-36, including 16 offensive rebounds. The rebounding disparity made up for the Rams struggles at the line. In 33 attempts, they missed 12.
Somehow, with the poor game from Petteway, virtually nothing from Walter Pitchford who was in foul trouble almost the entire night and little else from the role players, the Huskers found themselves with a chance to win and eventually in overtime. The Huskers also had 16 turnovers. Add that to the Huskers rebounding and shooting struggles, it's a wonder they made it to overtime at all.
The first road trip of the season is often an adventure. Last season the Huskers first true road game did not fare well either, and that was just as rowdy as what they faced this time around. There will be much to learn from for this group going forward. First and foremost, they'll need to get their rebounding woes straightened out. If they can get that figured out that will go a long ways towards getting the Huskers where they want to be.
Storms were sure to come this season. No basketball team gets threw a basketball season unscathed (well, Kentucky might this year, but that's a different story). Games like this were going to happen, and it's likely there will be more of them. This is something you can afford to do in college basketball. If Coach Tim Miles is the coach we all think he is, there will be many lessons they can learn from this game.
Their next opportunity apply some of those lessons will come Tuesday evening, when the Omaha Mavericks come to town. The Mavs are not a team the Huskers can afford to take lightly. They are an explosive team on offense and just went to Milwaukee and upset the Marquette Golden Eagles. UNO will visit Pinnacle Bank Arena at 7:00 pm.