Well.....Nebraska loss and now leaves us wondering if Jordy Tshimanga’s absence had a bigger effect on the players than one could’ve imagined.
Everyone on Nebraska besides Glynn Watson Jr. couldn’t find the bottom of the net through the first four minutes of the game. Watson had all of their seven points at the U16 media timeout. It looked as if Watson kept shooting like he was, that the rest of the team would catch fire too.
Nebraska went on another three-minute scoring drought after the U12 media timeout and then another during the final 2:46 minutes of the half. Luckily for Nebraska, Penn State couldn’t shoot either in the first half, going 38 percent from the field. Maybe it was Nebraska’s tight and energetic defense...or Penn State just isn’t as talented this year. Nebraska trailed 33-24 at half.
Husker fans hoped that the team would come out stronger at the beginning of the second half, but those hopes quickly died when the Nittany Lions went on a 6-0 run to start the half. That would eventually extend to a 14 point lead at the U16 media timeout, with Penn State leading 47-33.
Then Tim Miles decided to use his old-reliable, the highly active 1-3-1 defense that won Nebraska a road game at Maryland last season. Nebraska went on a 13-0 run last year to beat Maryland, same story tonight.
Nebraska was down 59-46 with around 6:00 minutes to go, that deficit went away in less than two minutes when Isaac Copeland hit a three to cut Penn State’s lead to 61-56. Next possession, Watson makes a three to cut the lead to two. The rest of the way was mainly foul shots and then during a tie game, Evan Taylor pick-pocketed Tony Carr to give Nebraska the ball with 19.7 seconds left.
All Husker fans were thinking the same thing, give Glynn Watson Jr. the ball and let him shoot it. So that's what he did. Unfortunately Watson missed a long three and the game went into overtime.
Isaiah Roby won the tip and on the Husker’s first possession made a three to give Nebraska the 68-65. Roby would then go on to make two free throws to give Nebraska a two point lead, 70-68. It really did look like Nebraska might steal this game, but a shot clock violation committed by Roby on their next possession shifted the momentum, in which Carr took advantage of.
Carr would go on to score Penn State’s next and final eight points of the game, including an elbow jumper with 2.7 seconds left that gave the Lion’s a two points lead. Nebraska called a timeout but when they threw it in, Roby couldn’t get a shot off from half court, and Nebraska loss the game 76-74.
Nebraska played two-face tonight, looking like a team who had lost all hope in the first half, and a team that could make the NCAA tournament in the second half. However it looked like Nebraska just lost gas in overtime, not to mention a surprising poor performance from James Palmer Jr.
Palmer barely played and shot just 1-9 from the field, scoring five points in the end. In fact, Palmer didn’t play the final eight minutes of the second half and overtime. If the Huskers were able to get a normal Palmer performance, they most likely would’ve won the game tonight.
Nebraska heads back to Lincoln to host Illinois on Monday, then host Michigan on Thursday. To win at least one of the games will be very important for the Huskers who are still trying to improve their NCAA tournament resume.