I stated in my preview that if Nebraska had a chance in this game then they would need to improve their scoring and defense. Seemed like a tall order considering they suffered greatly in both categories the past two games.
Well, they did. They improved in both areas in a very big way. It was as if this team woke up Friday morning and realized they they were more talented than their opponents were and decided to act like it. Nebraska came out fast, focused, and on fire to get their first win of the season.
The Jackrabbits of South Dakota State came into Pinnacle bank arena with a 3-1 record. They were going against a Nebrasketball team that was 0-2 and showed little in those games to make one believe that they would win this one. The Huskers came out and blasted SDSU 90 to 73 on Friday night.
Nebraska came out hot against the Jackrabbits. Not only were they dead-eye in shooting from the floor but they kept full control of the game and raced South Dakota State up and down the court all night. The Huskers ended the night shooting a very nice 49% from the floor while the Jackrabbits were kept to 40%. A big difference that really gave the Huskers the edge in the game.
The past two games Nebraska had had decent play in the first half but seemed to fall apart in the second. Against SDSU Nebraska had a 24 point lead and never gave the Jackrabbits a chance in the second to come back for the win. This team played hard from start to finish and gave coach Hoiberg his first win leading the team.
The Huskers were lead by sophomore guard Cam Mack who had 24 points, 2 rebounds, and 4 assists. He was followed by both Dachon Burke Jr. and Haanif Cheatham who both ended the night with 17 points. Burke also pulled down 7 rebounds for the Big Red.
The big man from France, Yvan Ouedroaogo, dominated the game in the paint with 12 total rebounds and 6 points. Yvan had a big leap in effectiveness between this game and the past two. I can imagine the change from playing in Europe to here was not easy but the young freshman showed that his ceiling will just keep getting higher. He might just be ready in another month when the conference schedule starts.
Kevin Cross had another big game off the bench with 10 points and 2 rebounds from the pine. Expect more out of him as time goes by and it wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up starting at some point in the season.
Nebraska is now 1-2 and will return to Pinnacle Bank Arena on November 22nd to take on Southern University at 7:00pm CST.