Nebraska is now 12-4 on the season and 2-3 in the Big 10 after the Huskers held on to defeat the Penn State Nittany Lions, 70-64.
It was a sloppy start for Nebraska. Midway through the first, they had already turned the ball over five times, helping the Nittany Lions to a five point lead with 8:30 to go until halftime.
The Huskers were eventually able to find somewhat of a rhythm on offense, as they began looking for Isaiah Roby to drive it to the rim. Also, Thomas Allen and Glynn Watson were able to find space to knock down jumpers. It was a three ball from Allen which ultimately gave the Huskers a two point lead with a little over four and a half minutes remaining in the first half.
Penn State was able to retake the lead though, as senior guard Josh Reaves nailed a triple from downtown. However, the Huskers would strike right back, as Watson utilized the glass to bank in a three ball to take the 33-31 lead with just under 1:47 left until the halftime buzzer. Both teams traded empty possessions to end the half, as the score remained 33-31.
In the second half, Nebraska head coach Tim Miles made the decision to keep all of his starters out on the court for the rest of the game, opting not to make any substitutions. The decision was made as a result of some of Nebraska’s bench players not being ready to go full speed, including Nana Akenten and Amir Harris. Akenten missed the past two practices due to illness. Harris was also slow to adjust to his first minutes since the Creighton game, as he has had a battle with mono the past few weeks.
Nebraska didn’t need to dip into their bench anyway, as both Roby and Watson went off. Watson had 19, and was 3-6 from deep, but it was Roby who was the star of the night, he finished with 22 points, going 8-9 from the floor.
“He gave us a big spark,” Watson said of his teammate. “He was active on defense and that helped our offense. He was just playing both sides, and he was big for us tonight.”
Although he’s pleased with the win, Miles took the Husker’s struggles during the game to heart. “Sometimes, you just don’t feel like such a great coach, especially when you spend the last week saying ‘we’re going to get back, defend the three, and rebound,’ ” Miles said.
Nebraska was out hustled on the glass by a wide margin. The Nittany Lions grabbed 46 boards to the Husker’s 32. 21 of Penn State’s rebounds came on offense, as opposed to Nebraska, who came up with just six offensive rebounds all night.
The Huskers won’t be complaining too much though, as the win snapped their two game losing streak. Next, they’ll head back on the road to take on the Indiana Hoosiers on Monday. Tip-off is set for 5:30. Pregame coverage will begin at 4:30 on 1400, KLIN.
(Photo by Kenny Larabee)