Huskers vs. Arizona State Sun Devils Report Card
Huskers lose 75-63. Box Score
Another poor offensive night for the Huskers. This is becoming a common theme this season. Scoring in the 60s will simply not get it done against good teams. It is amazing how this team has fallen off the map from 3-point range after last year's performance. They shot 17% in this game from deep. A field goal percentage of 45% is manageable, but the 3s need to start falling for some success. The turnovers also need to come down from 15. Those were the difference in this game as both teams shot almost identical percentages from everywhere. Hopefully this young team will start showing signs of improvement soon.
Best: Nate Johnson – 8-13 FG, 0-1 3-point for 18 points. It was great to see Nate turn it around in one game. He played excellent basketball in this game and hopefully the ankle is healthy enough to allow him to do this more often. Oh yeah, Andrew Drevo put in another 21 points. The guy is a machine.
Worst: Wes Wilkinson and Jason Dourisseau – Combined 0-7 FG, 0-4 3-point for 2 points. These two youngsters need to step it up for this team and, hopefully, they will do so immediately. Wes needs to provide some of the outside shooting he is thought to possess and cause some matchup problems for opposing teams.
The interior defense was absolutely terrible for most of this game. Ike Diogu and Tommy Smith combined for 37 points and led the run that pretty much put away the game in the first half. Drevo and John Turek were helpless inside and Turek probably set a record by fouling out with only 11 minutes of playing time. The Sun Devils were also much too fast for the Huskers in this game. That showed with some of the offensive rebounds ASU was able to reel in to create more opportunities. It was not all bad though because Arizona St. did shoot a poor outside percentage, 18%, and finished with 45% overall, which is about average.
Best: Roy Enright – I know he only played six minutes, but it seemed like he played the best defense inside on the Devils big men. Nobody really stood out defensively in this game, but Enright did a decent job. This is the type of situation in which Roy could be very useful. The main big men got in foul trouble and Roy came in and banged around for awhile.
Worst: John Turek – You automatically land in this spot when you foul out in 11 minutes of playing time. He had no idea how to handle Diogu or Smith and neither did his post buddy Drevo. That led to a huge day inside for ASU.
It seemed like Nebraska was being beaten to the boards more often than not, but the final tally had the Huskers winning the battle 33-31. With Turek only playing 11 minutes and Arizona St. possessing some solid height, this is quite an accomplishment. Too many offensive rebounds, 13, were allowed, but that is what happens when the other team is much faster to the loose balls. Nate Johnson rebounded, pun intended, from a boardless game against UCSB to haul in five in this game. All in all a good night on the boards for Nebraska.
Best: Wilkinson – 6 rebounds with 3 offensive. He may not have shot well, but he did come to play on the glass and did a nice job in only 20 minutes.
Worst: Turek – 1 rebound. If he plays normal minutes who knows how many he has, but it is his fault that he did not stay in the game, so he lands in this spot with one measly board.
Free Throw Shooting: A
It does not get much better than 80% from the line on 12-of-15 shooting. As I have said before, more attempts are welcomed, but this is probably as good an effort as this team can produce. Nate Johnson has not missed in a while and Drevo is knocking his in at an 81% clip.
Best: Jake Muhleisen – 4-5 FT. Jake came back from a poor night at the line to put in four. He needs to be around 75% ever game since he is the point guard and will be fouled on many of his drives.
Worst: Brian Conklin – 1-2 FT. Why can't Brian get on track this year? He had two freebies after a technical on the ASU coach and missed the first. We miss you Conk!! Please come back!!
As bad as this loss looks, it really is not that bad when you break it down and look at the stats. The Huskers made a good run in the second half to cut the lead from 22 to 9, but ran out of gas. The only difference in the game was turnovers with Nebraska having 15 to ASU's 7. The road woes will most likely continue for this young team, but fans can take solace in the fact that ASU is a very good team that will probably make the NCAA tournament and the Huskers hung tough even when the outside shot was not falling. Right now this team will struggle to make the NIT, but it is still possible if the shots start to fall with more regularity. Keep your heads up Huskers and stay out of the cellar in the Big 12 by any means necessary!!
Up Next: Eastern Washington
The Eagles at first glance do not look like a good team. They are a directional school and, with the Huskers playing them at home, they do not look like a team that will challenge Nebraska. But if you look deeper you will find that this team has a very good chance to come into Lincoln and beat the Huskers straight up. They have solid wins at Washington and at San Diego St. On top of those games, they led Gonzaga at home for most of the game before losing in the last two minutes. Those are some examples of why this team could be dangerous. There are other games, though, that paint a different picture. Losses to Delaware, Austin Peay, and at Denver are very ugly and show that maybe this team might not be very good competition. Let's hope that the latter team shows up at Devaney on New Year's Eve and helps the Huskers kick off the New Year with a bang!
Prediction: Nebraska 75 (Yes they will break the 70 barrier) Eastern Washington 58