It’s opening night! The Huskers came into this one a 15 point favorite, and did not cover.
After getting front row seats for the exhibition game, I was directed to the “other” student section, behind the away team’s hoop. I showed up at the same time for both the exhibition and tonight.
For Fred Hoiberg’s first game, intensity surged through the arena, with the starters leading that surge. Immediately after the U16 media timeout the team received a standing ovation from everyone, leading 14-7.
The team looked just as quick and energized as they did in the exhibition, flying to the ball. As the crowd settled in however, UC Riverside found their groove, cutting the lead 20-16 at the U8 media timeout.
The Highlanders continued to limit Nebraska on offense, forcing contested shots for a couple possessions, and gaining a 30-24 lead at the U4 media timeout.
Four final points from Matej Kavas would be all for the Huskers for the first half, jogging into the locker room trailing 32-28 at halftime. After controlling the momentum for the beginning of the half, UC Riverside snatched it out of Nebraska’s hands.
Some first half notes to keep track of: 10/29 from the field, including 3/13 from behind the arc. Charity stripe visits also continued to struggle in the first half, with the Huskers going 5/10. Did the first half woes continue?
Well for the start to the second half, yes, yes they did. Turning the ball over, allowing open threes, selfish play, all of it created a storm for the Huskers. Scoring only four points through the first eight minutes, Hoiberg and the team trailed 47-32 at the U16 media timeout.
Not to mention it seemed like the Highlanders didn’t miss a single three coming out of the gates. Groans rang throughout the arena as every shot fell for the Highlanders.
Inexperience. Shooting. Tempo. The three stories to summarize this game. I ended up leaving this game early, but not because of the team’s play, but because I wanted to get this article out earlier.
Although I did not expect this outcome tonight, a 66-47 loss, this is the era of rebuilding. We can expect outcomes like this in the future, but let’s hope we don't ever get this outplayed again. Shooting 6-26 from behind the arc, and 9-19 at the foul line will never cut it, no matter who you’re playing.
I wish I had more to say about this game, but the only thing I have at this moment is to simply wait. Patience is our biggest virtue ever at this point. Growing pains were bound to happen, and to get through them, we have to trust the process (not saying that just because I am from Philly, I truly believe that).
Next game is this Saturday against Southern Utah at 2PM ET, and I expect a bounce back win from Hoiberg and the skers. We just have to remain confident, and ride with Hoiberg. GBR!