Lincoln, NE - After picking up their first Big Ten win at Penn State over the weekend, the Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-10, 1-6) dropped another Big Ten home game, this time at the hands of the Illinois Fighting Illini (15-5, 2-4), 71-51 on Tuesday night.
Freshman forward Shavon Shields was one of the most talked about players in the country after a 29-point game against Penn State last week. However, tonight was a game to forget as Shields scored just two points, and fouled out of the game.
“I think it was him being a freshman,” said Miles. “I don’t think he responded very well, but he’ll learn.”
Defense had never been a issue for the Huskers this season, but that caught up to them on Tuesday night. Nebraska gave up a season high in offensive rebounds allowed, including a series where Illinois had three on just a single possession
“I’ve coached a lot of games at a lot of different levels, and I don’t think that I’ve ever been this disappointed or embarrassed in one area of the game,” said Miles. “You have to credit Illinois. They came out and they hadn’t been making threes, so they had to find another area to score. They hit the offensive glass and gave themselves some chances and did a really good job. We just had to have more readiness and personal pride in those things. It seemed like tonight we allowed too many things on one end of the floor to hurt us on the next. We’d miss a block, give up a rebound and turn it over. It would be the same kid making the same mistakes in a row. That tells you a lot about our mentality and where we were. We weren’t where we needed to be.”
Catching him at the wrong time, Illinois senior guard D.J. Richardson had a season high 30 points. Richardson was averaging just 10.5ppg before Tuesdays contest. Richardson shot 9-of-14 from the field.
“We played an inside-outside game today, we threw the ball inside and they threw it back out, and it helped us get open shots,” said Richardson.
One of the biggest problems the Huskers face is starting games slow, forcing a game of catch up in the second half. Illinois sophomore center Nnana Egwu knew the Illini had struggled with the same thing, and knew that had to change.
“We came out and through the first punch”, said Egwu.
Miles’ squad will look for their second conference win when they take on the Northwestern Wildcats, Saturday afternoon at the Devaney Center. Tip off is set for 2 pm CT on the Big Ten Network.
- Josh Harvey -