Jake Muhleisen tried his best to lead Nebraska over Alaska-Fairbanks last night, but he was the only one who stepped up in the ugly 64-61 loss. Muhleisen had a career-high 28 points with 5-of-8 3-point shooting, but no other Husker had more than nine points. The Huskers had their chances and traded leads with the Division II Nanooks during the closing minutes, but nobody seized the opportunity to win the first true road test of the season.
Hustle and intensity, the core traits of a Barry Collier coached team, were missing at points in the game and led to many lapses on defense and poor choices on offense. The Nanooks shot 47 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from 3-point range, which are both too high for the Nebraska defense to give up. UAF's shooting combined with the Huskers 39 percent shooting and 16 turnovers added up to a poorly played game and a Nebraska loss.
The only bright spots other than Muhleisen's outstanding effort were the Huskers winning the rebounding battle 33-28 (probably should have been a bigger margin), the reduced number of fouls committed to 13 after having 26 against Centenary, and pretty solid free throw shooting at 72 percent. The Huskers will have to build on what it can and pick up the intensity for the next game against Ball State today at 4 pm central. The Cardinals will be a stiff test for Nebraska and is an early season swing game. If the Huskers can pull out a win, it could be a real positive note for the next few games. I think the Huskers bring a huge effort and clip the Cardinals in a tight one.
Prediction: Nebraska 66 Ball St. 62 Huskers grab 3rd place.