Huskers vs. Eastern Washington Eagles Report Card
Huskers win 63-60. Box Score
This one did not look good for the Huskers until Nate Johnson took over the last three minutes of the game. Nebraska trailed by three, but the Preseason Newcomer of the Year showed why he still might win that award by scoring 10 of the team's final 11 points to eek out the 3 point win over the pesky Eagles. Jason Dourisseau carried the team through the first half and the beginning of the second before fouling out. The freshman from Burke had his coming out party with 19 points, 12 of which came in the first half. If JD can keep this up and Nate can produce throughout the game, then this team still might have a run in them. Right now, though, that is a big if.
Best: Jason Dourisseau – 7-17 FG, 2-6 3-point for 19 points. The true freshman made his first real impact in a game this year. It was great to see him find his shot early and exude the confidence he will need in the grueling Big 12.
Worst: Jake Muhleisen – 2-5 FG, 0-1 3-point for 4 points. Jake has struggled in consecutive games now and has yet to produce the consistent outside shooting he needs to help this team.
The Eagles came out on fire from everywhere and capitalized on the lackluster effort from the Husker defense throughout the game. Gregg "The Mullet" Smith had multiple easy opportunities, but could not convert for EWU and that proved costly for them. It was a decent effort considering the Eagles only scored 60 points, but it could have easily gone to overtime if EWU's Brendon Merritt had not blown the wide open lay-up he had with seven seconds left to play. Defensive intensity was a problem in this one, but hopefully it can be chalked up to lack of respect and not lack of talent.
Best: John Turek – 2 blocks. The big man played pretty solid in the middle against the much larger "Mullet" and may have gotten a piece of the Merritt lay-up at the end of the game. Nate Johnson gets a mention here for blocking a shot with thirty seconds left.
Worst: Jason Dourisseau – 5 fouls. As good as he was offensively; he struggled at times on the other end of the floor. He had a couple of dumb fouls on jump shots, with one being on a 3-point attempt. Nate Johnson gets noted here as well because he was in Barry's doghouse for most of the game due to the lack of effort he was showing.
Nebraska has done a great job rebounding the ball all year, but this game was the total opposite. They got outrebounded 35-33 and gave up some bad offensive rebounds throughout the game. It was not an F effort, but a solid D can be giving for this aspect of the game.
Best: Andrew Drevo – 8 rebounds with 2 offensive. The Lincoln Christian product was very good on the glass in this game, but did not manage a double-double like he had done in four out of the last five games.
Worst: Nate Johnson and Jake Muhleisen – combined 2 boards. These two guards need to get it done in all aspects of the game and two rebounds in a combined 33 minutes of play are not enough.
Free Throw Shooting: F
11-fo-19?? 58%?? The 19 attempts is a nice figure, but who cares when you can only put in 11. Another up and down aspect of this young team that will likely continue until the season is over. Nate Johnson's miss at the end of the game allowed the Eagles one last chance to tie with a 3-pointer. It was not a good chance, but he could have iced it and did not.
Best: Dourisseau – 3-4 FT. The youngster calmly put in 75% of his free ones, which was easily the best on the team in this game.
Worst: Everyone else who shot free throws – 8-15 FT. Not good people!! This needs to be a point of emphasis for a team that is not very athletic and is scrapping for every single point in every single game.
This was way too close for Nebraska against a sometimes-dangerous-but-really-should-not-have-been Eastern Washington club. The only bright spots were Jason Dourisseau's breakout day, Nate Johnson erupting at the end, and getting a win. It will be very interesting to see if this team scores over 70 points the rest of the season. It seems like the ceiling, with the exception of Minnesota, is right about 65 per game.
Up Next: Denver and Lipscomb
I will be on vacation for these two games, so a dual report will be filed when I return next week. There really is not too much of a scouting report for these teams other than execute fairly well and the Huskers should win. A scary note would be that Denver beat the very same Eastern Washington team last week by 21! The Pioneers are terrible on the road though, so they will not be a challenge. Lipscomb is one of the worst teams in Division-1A basketball, so no worries there either. If the Huskers are going to break 70 again this year, then they better do it in these games because it will not be easy when the Big 12 starts at Kansas on January 11th.
Nebraska 71 Denver 60
Nebraska 85 Lipscomb 55