After starting off 1-1 in conference play with a win over Purdue and loss to Indiana, Nebraska fell to Rutgers at home last Friday night. Tonight, they had an opportunity to return to .500, could Cam Mack and the boys get it done?
Contain Luka Garza, and force Iowa to make outside shots. That was Hoiberg’s game plan, and many other coaches game plans prior in the season against Iowa. There’s no way to completely take away Garza. Early in the game, the strategy worked out well.
The Huskers jumped out to a 7-0 lead and managed Fran McCaffery to receive a technical foul, just about three minutes into the game. However Haanif Cheatham would miss the technical free throws, and Yvan Ouedraogo would travel, ending some of the momentum. Not to mention Iowa went on a 7-0 run of their own to tie the game at 7-7.
A quick two fouls from Dachon Burke took him out of the game at the U16 media timeout, but that didn’t stop Nebraska from bouncing back with a 7-0 run to take a 17-9 lead, holding Iowa to a four minute scoring drought. First time I noticed Iowa’s three point percentage was the eight minute mark when I saw Iowa was shooting 1-16, something for coaches to take note of when playing Iowa at home...
Nebraska extended the lead all the way to 11, but after a shot clock expiring three from Iowa, and a couple Garza layups, Iowa reduced the deficit to 30-26 at the U4 media timeout. However, I’ve decided to deem this first half “the half of runs”, so as you can guess, Nebraska proceeded to an 8-0 run, and led 38-31 at halftime. Leading the way at half was Cheatham, 3-3 from behind the arc to finish with 13 points for the half.
The second half didn’t start quite like the first half, but thanks to Burke and Mack, the guards stopped the lead from getting away. After going nearly three minutes without scoring and Iowa starting to find their groove, the two guards combined for nine points before the U16 media timeout to keep a 47-41 lead.
Then Joe Weiskamp came alive. A couple easy layups, a block on Ouedraogo, and then a three from Weiskamp gave the Hawkeyes their first lead at 51-50. Connor McCaffery also helped from behind the arc for Iowa, making their 3PT percentage look a little prettier.
Cam Mack also knows how to make things look pretty, dishing out two quick assists to Kevin Cross and Thorir Thorbjarnarson to take back the lead, the score 56-53 at the U8 media timeout. Not only did Mack’s vision bring the crowd to life, but also a loose ball dive from Charlie Easley to create a Huskers turnover heading into the timeout.
THOR! The hammer struck in the most important part of the game. As Iowa started to creep back and take the lead, Thor pulled up from NBA range back to back possessions to give the Huskers a four point lead with three minutes left. This game would come down to if Nebraska could handle the pressure,
I guess Burke could:
What a win. After trailing late twice in the game, the young Husker crew pulled it together and gritted out for a win. Thor had 17 points and 9 rebounds; Cam Mack had 15 points and 10 assists; Luka Garza 16 points, four under his average of 20 per game. Everything went right for the Huskers, and I just love to watch this team play when the gears are churning. Huskers win 76-70, and dominated for the majority of the game.
Next game is this Saturday at Northwestern, a chance for Nebraska to move to 3-2 in Big Ten play.