Huskers feeling the charity against Aggies

When fans boo the refs, it's because they got jobbed. Well, at least they think they did. The refs got a little flack tonight, but not because they are so horrible to Nebraska, but almost ridiculously kind. It was a game that when you look at the stats, did indeed come down to free throws, but for once, Nebraska came out on the other more positive side.

The Red Zone student section of the Bob Devaney Sports Center had a grudge against the officials as they left tonight. A huge disparity in free throws attempted between the Huskers and Texas A&M Aggies stood out as the key factor in the 77-67 score. Unlike in previous contests where the Huskers had a difficult time getting the calls, tonight was marked by Nebraska shooting 32-45 from the charity stripe to pull away for the victory. The 7,839 fans walked away with a weak voice after yelling their ritual "left, right, left, right--Sit Down!" to players on opposing teams who foul out. Four players for Texas A&M managed to be disqualified from the game, contributing 20 of the team's 34 fouls.

Shooting free throws has been a problem all year long for Nebraska and, after tonight, the excuse that they just can't shoot them isn't valid. The Huskers opened up a seven point first half lead against Texas A&M by shooting 12-17 from the free throw line and managing 15 points off of turnovers. After a few baskets, Coach Barry Collier got sneaky by putting on a full court press and catching the Aggies off guard for easy baskets.

The game was billed as a showcase for two frontrunners for Freshman of the Year in the Big XII. However, Joe McCray and Joseph Jones finally struggled in conference action and didn't live up to the hype. McCray finished with only five points on 2-8 shooting, but he earned a lot of respect in my eyes for showing a little more patience than normal. He seemed content with setting up Jake Muhleisen for easy baskets. Jones had a rough time for the Aggies as he found himself into foul trouble from the start of the game. Two quick fouls and a questionable move by Texas A&M Coach Bill Gillispie to leave him in during first half play proved to backfire when Jones picked up his third before halftime. As costly as that decision was, it looked minor compared to when Gillispie continued to trust Jones early in the second half after he picked up his fourth personal foul. Only a few moments later, Jones was taken advantage of by an aggressive move by John Turek and called for his fifth foul. The Red Zone almost seemed stunned to be able chant their ritual so early in the second half.

Senior Jake Muhleisen, who had an amazing night for Nebraska, paced the Huskers. He swept all the votes for my MVP of the game by unanimous decision. Muhleisen finished with 25 points and tied with Jason Dourisseau for a team high six rebounds. He was 10-11 from the free throw line and 6-7 from the floor. After hitting a couple clutch three pointers early in the game, he appeared to regain the confidence that had been gone for over a year. I have been very hard on Jake all season long because of his passiveness and I was happier than anyone to see him regain his touch and finally get over the wrist injury he suffered earlier in the year. Jake looked like the player who, since his sophomore year, Husker fans had predicted would be one of the greats of all time.

Texas A&M came into the game with a 13-3 overall record but their non conference schedule had been weak and they are a very inexperienced team. The Aggies still managed to upset Texas and play with a lot of energy and rowdiness. Tonight wasn't their night but I have to give them credit for not giving up. They gave Nebraska everything they had but couldn't manage to gain a victory. Nebraska looked strong from the tip and improved to 9-7 on the year and 3-3 in conference play. Texas Tech hosts Nebraska on Saturday at 12:30 in another battle of the Lone Star state versus the Cornhusker state.

Big Red Report Top Stories