Four true road games for the Huskers, four losses. Tonight they had an opportunity against a ranked Ohio State that has struggled as of late, did Nebraska take advantage?
Start of the game? Not the way a road team in Big Ten conference play wants to start. After Ohio State went scoreless on multiple possessions, Nebraska couldn’t get any shots to fall. Two Dachon Burke layups gave Nebraska an early 4-0 lead, but three straight Ohio State threes cut that lead fast, with the Buckeyes leading 9-4.
News of Luther Muhammad and Duane Washington Jr. being suspended 90 minutes before the game gave some life to Nebraska’s chances of winning this game, with experts suspecting a low scoring game with those two out. It didn’t really seem to affect Ohio State early on, leading 24-13 at the U8 media timeout.
After reaching 30 points and taking a 30-17 lead the U4 media timeout, Ohio State had five different players with 4+ points, all while the team was shooting above 50% from the field. Nebraska? Only three players with 4+ points, and less than 33% from the field. The first half of games remain a problem for the Huskers, with their style of play relying so much on positive energy and emotion.
The end to the half wouldn’t have looked too bad if not for a buzzer beater no look long two from Ohio State. Reason for the late Nebraska spark? Jervay Green. After receiving no playing time the last couple of games, Fred Hoiberg finally decided to put him in, and he immediately comes in and hits a three. Green should’ve also had a nice no look assist to Yvan Ouedraogo if not for a missed layup, but it still led to an and-one. Ohio State led 38-25 at halftime.
Scoring came easy for Nebraska coming out of the gates, with Thor leading the way. Unfortunately for the Huskers, scoring came even easier for Ohio State. Bullying their way down low with Kaleb Wesson and Kyle Young, knocking down threes, Doc Sadler and Nebraska could not stop the Buckeyes offense.
The Huskers were already reeling, and the wound only thickened when Cam Mack picked up his fourth foul with about 13 minutes to go. Ohio State immediately went on a run and extended their lead to 20. Mack’s minutes that past three games have been crazy, almost playing the entire time in each of them, and when he’s off the floor, it’s evident.
For the rest of the half, Ohio State didn’t even outplay the Huskers that much, the deficit remained around the 12-17 mark. It came down to Ohio State crashing the boards and dominating the offensive glass, and Nebraska just doesn’t have the players yet to keep up with that.
Two positives to take away from this game:
- Jervay Green is back? Maybe? Either way, it was good to see the JUCO transfer come back and make some plays happen. He finished with ten points and four rebounds, in only 17 minutes of play. He also should’ve have a couple of assists if not for some missed bunnies from his teammates.
- THOR! I love Thor, and I don’t know how anyone could dislike him. While he does get beat on defense, that has never been his style of game, and now he has being asked to play almost the entire game. He finished the game with 15 points, six rebounds, and three assists, shooting 5-8 from deep.
This team still has a lot of work to be done, but it’s obvious the most important minutes of the game for the Huskers are the first ten. If they fall behind early, their aggressive and fast pace tempo struggles, and opponents will thrive on slow, sluggish games with Nebraska.