Two tough losses to Maryland and Iowa...1-3 in the Big Ten...this Penn State game was a must win, in every aspect. Probably the easiest game left on the Huskers schedule, there was no reason for them to lose this game tonight.
Miles Jacket Tracker: Due to Cincinnati and Tulsa going into Overtime, I missed the first two minutes of the game.
Nebraska rode a rollercoaster for the first four minutes, hitting 2-3 3PT after shooting 13% from behind the arc against Iowa, but then committing a couple turnovers against Penn State’s zone defense. Seems like teams are starting to figure out Nebraska’s weaknesses...
Outside of James Palmer Jr. and Isaiah Roby for the first ten minutes of the first half, no one could do anything. Whether that’s because of matchups, who knows, but it didn’t seem like there was any urgency to begin this game. Part of that is because of Penn State’s defensive efficiency, but everything seemed very sluggish.
Penn State would have climbed to a much larger lead early on if not for Roby, who had ten points by the U8 Media Timeout, six of those points coming from the three ball. Roby has sneakily been putting up numbers recently, and when the rest of the team awakes from the slump, his contribution will be key to winning an NCAA tournament game.
Finally the crowd had the opportunity to get into the game, when Thomas Allen Jr. scored seven straight points to give Nebraska its largest lead of the game at that point, 4. For the last three minutes however, Nebraska would only make one field goal, heading into half up 33-31.
Coming into this game most thought it’d be a defensive kind of game, lots of foul shots, lots of turnovers. At the U16 Media Timeout, most baskets in the second half had been three pointers, and the turnovers were at a very low number, Penn State having 4, and Nebraska 6.
As the shootout began to heat up, it seemed as if (as the announcer said) there were “two Isaiah Roby’s”. Mike Watkins exited the game and Roby took advantage, going on his own 6-0 run, with a couple rebounds and blocks. However, with the Big Ten, Nebraska can’t resort to offensive shootouts due to their bench depth.
Without Roby, Nebraska loses by double digits. I don't know any other way than to describe this game as pure ugliness. Palmer took the worst shots ever, much like last year against Penn State. Boxing out didn’t seem like it was in Nebraska’s game plan. I know Penn State boasts one of the top defenses, but the offensive game plan seemed lost for a majority of the game. But, good teams find a way to win, and Nebraska found a way.
Final Score: Nebraska 70 Penn State 64
Something to keep of note, the starters played the entire second half. That can not happen in the future. I’m sure Miles will give a funny response when someone asks him in the press conference.
Next game is at Indiana Monday night. I don’t have great hopes for that game, but if they were to win that game, that’d make up for every other conference loss so far.