LINCOLN, Neb. - Nebraska has been in the Big Ten five years. In all five years, the Huskers have started 0-2 in conference play.
On Saturday night, after taking a three-point lead into halftime, the Nebraska (8-7, 0-2) fell to Indiana, 79-69. The Huskers were able to hold the Hoosiers 10-points under their season average, but couldn't key stops in the second half to pull out a victory.
Indiana (12-3, 2-0), playing wihtout sophomore James Blackmon Jr. (15.4 points per game), got 24 points and seven assists from point guard Yogi Ferrell.
Next up for Nebraska is a matchup with Iowa on Tuesday night.
*-Jack McVeigh finished with 16 points to match his career high set against Mississippi Valley State in the season opener. McVeigh also grabbed a season-high six rebounds, topping his best against Creighton on Dec. 9. McVeigh, who tied for team-high honors in rebounds, becomes the ninth different Husker to lead NU in rebounds this season.
*-Benny Parker finished with 10 points, marking the first time in his career he has recorded consecutive double figure games. Parker also added two assists and two steals, and now has a 13-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in his last three games, and has three straight multi-steal efforts.
*-Nebraska held Indiana to 79 points, which is 10 below its season average, but the Hoosiers shot 54.9 percent from the field, which was the highest by a Husker opponent this season.
*-Michael Jacobson finished with three steals, topping his previous best of two against Villanova on Nov. 17
*-Shavon Shields dished out six assists, the third time this year he has had at least six assists.
*-Nebraska had four players in double figures, the fifth time this year NU has put at least four in double figures, but the first time NU lost with doing so.
*-Nebraska opens Big Ten play 0-2 for the fifth straight year.
Nebraska guard Andrew White III
On the difference in the last 10 minutes of the game
“They (Indiana) have players that have experience and knew how to defend tough actions. In this scenario, I think we need to give a lot of credit to them (Indiana) for guarding as a team. On our defensive end, they got us a couple times. They have a really good point guard (Yogi Ferrell) and a really good big man (Thomas Bryant) and they played pick and roll well, penetrated, and found some of their role players for big shots. They made big plays down the stretch on both ends.”
On how Indiana was guarding himself and Shavon Shields
“They were shading and throwing bodies at Shavon (Shields) on his penetration. I was face guarded pretty much the whole game, usually by Yogi Ferrell. He was playing me nose-to-nose, and not necessarily looking at the action off the ball. His priority was to keep me from getting the ball. He did a pretty good job of that overall. We’ll see that rest of Big Ten play. You have to get used to it. Shavon and myself have to get other guys shots, like Jack (McVeigh), who got going a little bit today. We have to use their defensive strategies and get other guys’ shots.”
On what Coach Miles said after the game
“He just said to carry that effort to the next game. Obviously as a coaching staff, the biggest thing is ‘Did your team play hard, and did your team play together?’ That’s kind of how you evaluate a game regardless of the outcome. I think we did both of those. He was disappointed but we’re not taking any moral victories. At this point the game is over, so we need to use whatever positives we do have and carry it into the next game.”
Nebraska forward Jack McVeigh
On how Nebraska was trying to defend a team like Indiana
“A big focus for us was rebounding and getting back in transition. They hit a lot of 3’s in past games on transition offense. That was big focus going in, was hitting bodies. Obviously they have a great point guard and a great big with shooters who can spread the floor. It was guarding that pick and roll action as a team, which we did a lot of work on. We forced them to take some tough shots, which they made down the stretch. Overall it was probably their athleticism, the running, and the rebounding, those little effort things.”
On regaining personal confidence with his 4-of-5 shooting game
“The coaches are doing a great job and telling me to keep being aggressive, (saying) if you get shots, take it, let it fly. With Andrew (White) getting face-guarded, he found me. I got opportunities and made the most of them.”
On the difference in the second half
“A little bit of it is experience. We’ve got some younger guys, but I’m not using that as an excuse. We just need to keep going. We need to play with the effort we played with today. We played hard. If we keep doing that on a daily basis then that is going to pay off. We need to keep working hard. We’re all getting better every day. We saw a step up from last game to this game. We played better and executed better. Every game we are looking to get better. Now we need to learn from this game.”
On the finish of tonight’s game
“The separation I think happened early in that second half. We had some looks and we tried to go to Shavon (Shields) a little bit. He had an interesting match-up so I tried to see if we could get him going. We just didn’t score on any of them so we had some empty possessions. And then they are up four and you’re like, well we’re okay and then Yogi (Ferrell) goes nuts on us. I think they scored ten points on four possessions and the lead goes from 55-51 to twelve. Well now that is too many. You just can’t. And it happened in a hurry in a matter of probably 90 seconds. Maybe a little longer than that but if I check the play by play that is probably close. So that was just really difficult. I thought we had a good first half. Nine guys scored, shot over fifty percent. We just weren’t able to get the defensive stops and then simple pass and catch plays down the stretch. We had four turnovers by main guys, veteran guys. There were pass and catch that hurt. It didn’t cost us, but the cumulative effect, that and some time we missed free-throws, didn’t allow us to have that chance down the stretch.”
On a game like this if you just have to say Yogi Ferrell is pretty good
“That’s what my assistants have told me. Here’s what I know, that he really made plays. And I thought Indiana made plays. That is a great credit to them and the program and you know there were some things that we did right. I mean a lot of things we did right and they still scored on us. It wasn’t like Northwestern where we had defensive errors that cost us. It was just these guys jumped up and stuck it in our eye. Not that you can live with that, I know this much, somebody asked me about our effort or whatever it was and I didn’t think he had much tenacity. I thought we had much better tenacity this game and although it didn’t translate into winning that will transfer into way more success for us down the road. I don’t like losing and I’m not light on losing but that is important to me. I thought guys like Shavon, who struggled shooting but still had six assists, a kid like Jack McVeigh comes in and he is spirited you know and he gets his first career technical but still gets sixteen points, six rebounds, did a lot of things right. Michael Jacobson I thought did some good things but I thought our tenacity was better to be able to compete with Indiana playing very well.”
On how he would challenge Jack (McVeigh) to be more of that guy we saw in today’s game
“We’ve challenged him, I’d say that is a word I would tell his parents.”
On if he was happy to see someone like Jack show some emotion
“Yeah I like the emotion, I like the fire. I like the fact I’m going to look you toe to toe, look you square in the eye, and we are going to be here all night. If you don’t have that mentality you will not survive. Unfortunately it was that one stretch, where they separated hurt us.”
On his plan and if you have to wait and see what they’re doing and then adjust your plan
“You kind of go with “Plan A” and “Plan B”. We have a set of core things we like to run and then depending on what we think is going to happen. I thought we did okay with those, we got some open looks and just missed them. Then there was four pass and catch errors, just normal plays that we practice every day. Those are the things that really bother me, not so much finding a way to get those guys shots because they are going to get shots. And I’ll get them shots if they can’t figure it out.”