LINCOLN, NE -
DEFENSE COMES UP BIG IN WIN:
Husker fans know that scoring will come at a premium this year, which means defense will be the key in wins or losses. Coming into this game, Valparaiso was shooting 50 percent from the three-point line, but the Husker defense held them to just 13 percent on Thursday night. Valpo was also averaging 77 ppg. this season, and was held 29 points below their average.
“We were able to get stops,” said senior forward Brandon Ubel. “That’s a very good shooting Valparaiso team that we held to 48 points. We did it on the defensive end, which is what were going to have to do, and I think that was big for us.
HUSKERS HOLD ON DESPITE SCORING DROUGHT:
With no one single threat to rely on to score the ball, the Huskers fell into a drought in the final seven minutes only scoring one field goal. Settling for jump shots, and missed layups pushed the Huskers to the edge of defeat, but were able to hold on.
“They switched into a zone, that kind of through us off for a little bit,” said Ubel. “We started settling for jump shots, then we started to attack the rim, we got a couple of baskets. In the end we got enough stops to win the game.”
A key to getting easy points, is getting to the foul line, Nebraska head coach Tim Miles knows that they have to get there more.
“We missed some shots, right there, and we don’t get to the foul line, and that’s a problem,” said Miles. “They’re gonna have to go out and do it, and you’ve got to show it to them. It’s a daily deal and it’s not happening quick enough.”
One bright spot for the Husker offense was Ray Gallegos. Gallegos scored 14 points and nailed four three pointers, a career high. Gallegos is averaging 15.5 ppg. this year.
HUSKERS STARTING TO HAVE FUN:
What gets caught up in all the talk about records, and new coaches, is the fact that basketball is a game, and games are meant to be fun. New players and new coaches leads to nerves and tentative play, but the Huskers came out Thursday night and just played ball.
“I thought there was a spark on the team that I hadn’t seen before,” said Miles. “ We won the exhibition game and the locker room was kind of blah, we beat Southern and the locker room was blah, tonight they were all changed up, and I told them this is how they are suppose to feel.”
At halftime is when Miles really saw his team starting to have fun.
“It kind of felt like a team who was unsure. At halftime, they didn’t feel like a team that was unsure,” said Miles.
*Valpo was held to 48 points, their lowest amount since scoring 47 against Ohio State in 2011.
*This was the first time that Ray Gallegos has scored double-digit points in consecutive games since 2009-10.
*Reigning Horizon League player of the year, Ryan Broekhoff, was held to 18 percent shooting.
- Josh Harvey -