Wiscy day! Coming in at +16 underdogs, most experts assumed Wisconsin would handle the Cornhuskers easily after a poor outing against Indiana at home. The fastest paced team in the Big Ten in Nebraska, versus the slowest team in Wisconsin, who would prevail?
Due to these paces, it was a toss-up for how the scoring would go in this game, whether it’d be an ugly offensive or guns blazin’ up-tempo type game. To begin, both teams started off hot. At the U16 media timeout, both teams already had nine points, with Wisconsin 3-4 from behind the arc. Thor also made a three off the bat.
Wisconsin continued to hit from deep, making their first six out of ten and extending their lead to 11 at the U12 media timeout, 24-15. Everyone was scoring Wisconsin in the first half, with ten total players playing, and eight of them having points.
It looked for a little while Wisconsin was going to dominate, with Nebraska resulting to terrible, non-passing possessions where someone would shoot a contested three. Dachon Burke decided to change that, driving to the hoop at will and making acrobatic layups (although it could’ve just looked acrobatic because he shoots with improper footing).
With help from back to back Cam Mack threes, Nebraska went on an 11-1 run to take a 26-25 lead with five minutes to go. As soon as Wisconsin began to commit turnovers and missed threes, Nebraska was able to thrive off of fast breaks and long defensive rebounds.
The rest of the half went pretty much back and forth, with the score settling in at 39-38. Kevin Cross helped the Huskers too off the bench with seven points. First half went pretty well, so the start to the second half wouldn’t be too bad, right?
Brad Davison wouldn’t agree, after he knocked down two threes right away, starting a Wisconsin 10-0 run to start the half. Not only did Davison knock down two threes, but also why didn’t Hoiberg call a timeout earlier? The momentum shifted to Wisconsin entirely and in a Big Ten conference road game, momentum is the most important aspect for a road team.
Side note as well, after Wisconsin made their third three of the second half, they went over their total for most threes made in a single game for Big Ten season, at 10. They averaged 7.5 made threes per game all season long coming into this game. That’s the tricky part about doubling down low, you have to hope the opposing team won’t make their threes. Tonight, Wisconsin did.
Kevin Cross however though, man do I love Kev. Kev came into the game after Wisconsin could not miss, and pulled the Huskers right back into the game. An and-one in the post, and then a deep three brought the score back to 63-54. Nebraska then however had two straight possessions down seven, and took a contested three and turned it over. Way too many times throughout the season have the Huskers blown possessions in opportune times.
Oh yeah, also, with seven minutes to go, Wisconsin broke their single game record for made threes in a Big Ten game when they reached the 15 mark. After getting the lead down to five after a Kev three, Wisconsin went on an 8-0 run in less than two minutes to take the 74-61 lead with six minutes to go.
Things only got worse from their, as Nebraska continued to go stagnant on offense, and Wisconsin broke their single game program record for any single season game when they made their 18th three.
Overall, looking at this game, not the worst thing in the world. Tonight we saw that Nebraska has talent, they’re just inexperienced. Burke dropped 20 points and 8 rebounds, Kev had 17, Cam Mack had a 14-6-7 line, this team has a lot of talent. Unfortunately just couldn’t capitalize when they had momentum, and credit to Wisconsin for having an historic night. Now, Huskers travel to a sold out RAC to face Rutgers this Saturday...
P.S. - Another cover ;)