Our beloved Huskers played ugly against Tennessee State, but pulled the game out at the end as Bryce McGowens hit five of six free throws to finish off the Tigers 79-73.
Nebraska started this game on fire. They were hitting shots, going 5-7 early, while Tennessee State repeatedly turned the ball over and couldn’t hit anything. At 14:41, Emmanuel Dowuona hit a dunk. The Huskers started missing everything, the Tigers started hitting and the contest turned into a real game for the rest of the half.
The first half Nebraska missed nearly all the three-point shots they took, going 3-of-14 in the first half. Tennessee State was the opposite, going 10-19 from three. Many of the Tiger long shots were uncontested as they moved the ball well while Nebraska was slow moving around on defense.
The Huskers outscored the Tigers 20-6 in the paint, but the three point shooting kept the game close.
Just before half, the Tigers hit a wide open 3-pointer as their ball handler had the defense clear out the middle, drive in to collapse the Husker defense, then passed the ball out to the wide open shooter.
It was a pretty hideous first half of Nebrasketball.
In the second half...
The Huskers and Tigers traded baskets until 6:06 left in the second half. Tennessee State was cold at three-point shooting for most of the second half, at one point going 2-for-12.
At that point, Nebraska went on a 7-point run. The Huskers forced a shot clock violation, then Verge made a beautiful assist to Walker inside for two. On the next possession, Nebraska forced a turnover which Verge turned into two more with a jumper. At 3:55, Nebraska was up 70-61 and it looked as if they’d walk away with a double-digit win.
It was not to be.
At 2:15, Nebraska lead 72-62 and the game appeared to be over. A cold Tennessee State team got hot and went on a 5-point run, with Dedric Boyd hitting a jumper and a three. Boyd hadn’t scored in the previous 18 minutes.
The Tigers began to press, but made the fatal mistake of fouling Bryce McGowens. Bryce drew three fouls in the last minute, then made 5-for-6 free throws, maintaining the Husker lead. CJ Wilcher was fouled with 17.7 left and made both of his free throws to put Nebraska up 79-71.
There’s a lot of good to take away from the game.
Alonzo Verge looks like he’s learned he has to distribute the ball if Nebraska is going to do well.
Nebraska was 17-27 for 63% from the line, but made the shots when they counted.
Derrick Walker was a force, ending up with 16 points, but going 7-for-7 from the field. He was 2-6 for free throws, and had six rebounds.
Bryce McGowens and Alonzo Verge were the high scorers with 18 apiece. Walker had his 16, a career high, and CJ Wilcher added 15, going 3-for-7 from three.
Nebraska had 34 points in the paint, being out-rebounded 36-35, and had 10 total turnovers for the game. Our beloved Huskers had 18 assists!
It was a win, which is always better than a loss. (Ha!)
Our Huskers host South Dakota on Saturday before hitting the road.