Longhorns gouge Huskers for disappointing loss!

The goal of playing basketball is to score and do it as often as possible. The Nebraska men's basketball team proved that with even the stingiest of defense, having a little luck putting the ball in basket is always nice. Whether it was free throws or points in the paint, the Huskers couldn't keep the hot streak from the first couple minutes of the game to continue. The Texas Longhorns came into Lincoln this afternoon and won the battle with the Cornhuskers 63-53.

Nebraska jumped the gun on the Longhorns by catching by surprise and leaving behind the pass first offense. The aggressiveness paid off as Nebraska opened up to an 11-0 lead behind a trio of long three pointers and a John Turek jumper. Texas was held without a basket for over 5 minutes at the start of the game. The large crowd of 10,203 was fired up, and it looked as though the Huskers could do no wrong. Texas finally scored and eventually found their shooting touch as they went on a 12-0 run to prove why they were ranked inside the top ten in the nation.

 The Huskers suffered a major blow to the inside rotation as Jason Dourisseau came down awkwardly on his ankle on an out of bounds play. That injury proved to be a crucial factor to the Husker game plan as coach Barry Collier was left with only three proven players inside. Three players, however, is better than two which is what it eventually came down to when Wes Wilkinson picked up his fourth foul early in the second half.

 Missed free throws tend to be something a coach can get very frustrated about, and I have a strong feeling Barry Collier might need some Tylenol after this performance. What has been a downfall to the Huskers all season long reared its ugly head today. Nebraska was 9-20 from the free throw line managing only 45% of their shots to roll in. That 45% is a number coaches look for their teams to shoot from the floor and unfortunately, if Nebraska had done just that they might have won. Shooting just 18-59 from the floor for only 31% doesn't normally get you victories. That thought held true against a top ranked team in the nation with a great mixture of NCAA tournament experience. Texas also boasts one of the most heralded recruiting classes ever with three McDonald's All-Americans on the roster.

 Positives did emerge from the game. Nebraska appeared to have a lot of confidence throughout the game and had they not had to foul the score would have shown how close this Big XII contest was. Joe McCray was my MVP of the game by a wide margin. As a direct result of his shooting ability and uncanny quick release, McCray had a game high 21 points on 5-12 shooting from three point range. All five three-pointers came in the first half as he cooled off in the second half because of pressure defense by the Longhorns. McCray also had his first career double-double, hauling in 11 rebounds. John Turek had a solid game scoring 13 points while adding 8 rebounds and logging 34 minutes due to limited post presence for Nebraska. Marcus Neal also reached in double figures with 12 points, but only managed 4-17 shooting. 

 I would say this is one of the better coaching jobs Barry Collier has done all year. He had his team ready from the start of the game and, honestly, that is something I haven't been able to say all year long. While at times the offense appeared to flash four players just standing, it was a rare occurrence. Collier let the kids play basketball and did a great job drawing up specific plays and switching defenses back and forth. He had McCray coming off of screens and getting open. I believe he did everything in his power to put these kids in position to win the game. My hat is off to the entire coaching staff and the players for fighting all the way until the end. Remember that sometimes there are such things as a good loss. While it is never good to lose, Nebraska proved they will be competitive throughout the season, as they won't see much better competition the rest of conference play. 

 One of those teams that is better than Texas, the Kansas Jayhawks, happens to host the Huskers Wednesday, January 19, at 7 p.m. The game can be seen on FSN Midwest as part of the televised package deal throughout the season.

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