Miles Ahead: Upset Win Over Minnesota, The Jaysker Cycle Continues

I’ve come to a realization. In my last few posts, I may have come across as a cynic who has nothing good to say about the Nebraska basketball team. That’s quite the opposite. I’m just calling it like I see it, and with Nebraska, I see a promising team not living up to their full potential. It’s frustrating to see blowout losses to St. John’s and Michigan State when they should be competing, if not winning, against these teams.

This past two-game stretch is the hardest I’ve seen Nebraska play in consecutive games since the NCAA Tournament run in 2014. Against Minnesota, the Huskers played stout defense and didn’t allow second chance opportunities that have hurt them all season. They limited the Gophers to 37.2% shooting and disrupted the flow of their offense while limiting leading-scorer Jordan Murphy to 10 points. Meanwhile, Glynn Watson erupted for 29 points and set the tone for the Huskers on both ends of the floor.

I’m going on a little tangent here, but I love watching Glynn Watson play. He has great finesse around the rim, a solid jumper, and plays in-your-grill defense. When he’s not on the court, the pace slows and the Huskers lose an offensive threat and defensive nuisance. The team runs through him. Glynn is my favorite Husker in recent memory.

I digress.

The battle for Nebraska began in the Huskers’ favor with an aggressive offense, open looks, and solid defense that carried over from their upset win against Minnesota. Before the under-16 media timeout, Jordy Tshimanga finished a layup and drew a foul from Creighton center Toby Hegner. Nebraska had all the momentum going into the timeout, and for a short time the Century-Link Center was silenced.

What happened next was something I have never seen in college basketball. During the timeout the refs reversed the call and ruled Hegner was actually outside the semi-circle under the basket (This article explains the rule more in-depth). The points were taken off the board and Tshimanga was issued another foul, draining momentum the Huskers had built to that point.

Wait, what??? If I wanted every scoring play reviewed I would turn on the NFL and still not know if the guy was in-bounds or not. I’m convinced if this play wasn’t before a media time-out it stands as called on the floor. It’s tough to recover from an and-one that turns into an offensive foul and would’ve given a struggling player some confidence.

Here’s some numbers for you: 20 and 3. Fouls committed and free throws taken by Nebraska. 11 and 17. Fouls committed and free throws taken by Creighton. Now, fouls are arbitrary and some teams foul more than their opponents in certain games. However, the physicality from both Nebraska and Creighton was pretty even from the start. And when Glynn Watson is called for his final foul without even touching Martin Krampelj, something is fishy. If only a media timeout immediately followed that call.

Can’t wait to see all those Jayskers back in red once September comes around!

I’m proud of the way Nebraska played this past week. They played with heart and passion in the face of adversity. I’m hoping they can continue this throughout the rest of the season without falling into a funk. The pieces are there.

Key takeaways:

  • Jack McVeigh shouldn’t be on the floor. The “3-point specialist” who can’t hit a shot was burned multiple times by Bluejays’ freshman Mitchell Ballock. He is a defensive liability and when he’s not hitting shots I see no reason for him to be on the court.
  • Composure. In the upset victory against Minnesota, the Huskers had a hard time finishing the game. They seemed flustered against pressure and forced quick shots that allowed Minnesota to have more opportunities to close the gap. It’s ok to be patient against pressure.
  • The Huskers are 0-3 in true road games so far. Nebraska enjoys a four-game home stand before re-entering Big Ten play with a two-game skid at Northwestern and Purdue. Both are winnable and would be nice wins away from home.

Results:

  • vs. Minnesota: W, 78-68
    • Points: Watson, 29
    • Rebounds: Watson, 9
    • Assists: Palmer, 4
    • Blocks: Okeke, 3
    • Steals: Watson, 3
  • @ Creighton: L, 75-65
    • Points: Copeland, 20
    • Rebounds: Copeland, 11
    • Assists: Taylor and Watson, 5
    • Blocks: Copeland, 2
    • Steals: Copeland, Watson, and McVeigh, 2

Next up (7-4, 1-1 Big Ten):

  • Saturday Dec. 16th: vs. #13 Kansas. Tipoff at 7pm. Watch on FS1

 

*Photo by Jessica Moore*

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