LINCOLN, Neb. – A 21-0 run by Delaware State helped nearly erase a 25-point Nebraska lead in the second half, but a Shavon Shields 7-footer stopped a major scoring drought and the Huskers beat the Hornets 75-60 on Thursday night.
Nebraska senior Shavon Shields recorded 21 points to lead all scorers, pulling down five rebounds and dishing out a team high seven assists. Forward Andrew White added 20 points and four boards, including multiple timely threes during the contest. The two were the only Huskers who scored double-digits.
“I think we took our foot off the gas a little bit,” said White. “I take a lot of responsibility for that. The older guys, it’s our responsibility to keep the team as sharp as possible no matter the situation of the game.
“That was a good learning experience to still be able to come out with a decent win…I think that’s something we can do better and we can correct on. Our coaches have addressed that already so it is going to be a big emphasis for us going into the next week of practice.”
Nebraska (2-1) was up 29-24 at the 5:30 mark in the first half when the Huskers went on a 15-5 run to take a sizeable lead into halftime. A tip-in at the buzzer by sophomore center Jacob Hammond made the score 46-32. Hammond scored four points and had seven rebounds in 13 minutes of play.
Nebraska extended its lead early in the second half, but a 6:45 scoring drought by made it a four point game, 63-59 with a little over five minutes left in the contest.
“We have to do something about that,” said Miles, who saw his team give up a 20-0 run to Villanova on Tuesday night. “One is to quit turning the ball over. We turned the ball over far too much. We have to eliminate turnovers. That is the most important thing to me.
“I don’t know, maybe the guys weren’t feeling the fans love and didn’t want to get them Runza’s because we were on 63 for eternity. (laughs) I mean that’s a 20-point run and 22-point run in consecutive games. We have to do something about that.”
A team that struggled with their zone offense in 2014-15, Nebraska had long stretches of success against Delaware State’s zone look – logging 19 assists in the game, the most in the Miles’ era.
“We were making shots. It makes it a lot easier to get open looks and spread out the zone,” said Shields, who watched his team shoot 42 percent from behind the arc. “I don’t know the assist totals, but I always felt like it was an extra pass to an open three. Last year I felt like we would stand, dribble and then jack up a three.”
After struggling with Villanova on Tuesday night, starting guards Benny Parker and Tai Webster combined for 16 turnovers in the last two games, adding only 18 points and 11 assists between the pair.
“That’s got to get better. That number… it can’t be like that and they know that,” said Miles. “I talked to Benny a great deal at halftime and Benny looked… you could see he was wearing worry in his body language. Just like he was down. I just said, ‘Benny…’ and he goes, ‘I’m just so mad at myself.’ and I’m like, ‘On to the next, man. Enjoy this. This is your senior year. You’re not playing exactly where you want to be right now, but it will happen.’ And I thought he came out and played a pretty good second half.”
Nebraska’s 12 3-pointers were the most by the Huskers under Tim Miles (previous high was 11 on two occasions) and is the most since NU hit 13 3-pointers at Minnesota on March, 3, 2012.