Huskers vs. Kansas State Wildcats Report Card
Huskers end the losing streak at nine and win 68-61. Box Score
It was not very pretty, but the Huskers did enough offensively to win their first game in ten tries. The 68 points is an above average effort for this team, but the 37% FG shooting is something Husker fans have already seen this year many, many times. That is the end of the complaining in this report because this win should be celebrated to the fullest. Jason Dourriseau finally hit a 3-pointer after a long drought and Nate Johnson and Brennon Clemmons did a very nice job of penetrating the lane and finishing. It is just so nice to see four players in double figures. Depth was supposed to be an advantage for this team and while tonight's game did not directly show that it did show how balanced Nebraska can be when things are going well.
Best: Johnson – 6-11 FG, 0-1 3-point for 15 points. Nate was under control most of the night and he was efficient with his shots. If he can consistently do this next year, then the Huskers will have the reliable scorer they thought they had when Nate arrived.
Worst: Andrew Drevo – 4-14 FG, 2-7 3-point for 19 points. Many of Drev's points came from the free throw line, so that is why he can land here and still lead the team in scoring. The epidemic of missing short shots has swept through this team and hopefully it will go away immediately. Special mention to Brain Conklin. He cannot seem to put two games together and was 0-3 from deep in this game after a stellar performance at Baylor.
This is the defense that was supposed to be played all year long. It is understandable as to why Nebraska has struggled in this department, so hopefully this win will pick things back up for the remaining games. The Wildcats were horrendous from outside and finished with 1-for-11 from long range. The 36% from the field for Kansas State shows how well the Huskers stepped it up on that end of the floor. Matt Seibrant was contained after lighting up Nebraska in the teams' previous meeting. Pervis Pasco was awesome down low, but he was the only ‘Cat to produce the entire game (at least until he fouled out). Well done by the Huskers and another defensive performance like this will be expected against Iowa State in the next game.
Best: John Turek – 1 block and 4 steals. John did a very good job on Seibrant. He also had a career high with his four steals.
Worst: Drevo – 2 blocks and 1 steal. Even with some decent defensive numbers it was evident that Andrew was not completely immersed on the defensive end. Pasco was far too quick for him and it showed early and often.
This contest featured one of the better rebounding displays Nebraska has put on in some time. They were still outrebounded by three, 43-40, but grabbing those 40 boards is quite an accomplishment. The last time the Huskers reached that level was six games ago against Missouri at home. John Turek was excellent on the glass with his 14 boards. Clemmons chipped in another eight including some big ones late in the game. It could have been better overall, but at this point in the season coming out even with the opponent is more than acceptable.
Best: Turek – 14 rebounds with 6 offensives. John did a great job boxing out and snaring multiple missed shots. This needs to be a more common occurrence.
Worst: Conklin – 0 rebounds. One board in 17 minutes is not too much to ask. Plus, Brian has once again been replaced on the low block during free throws by a smaller player. Rodney Fields started the trend two years ago and Corey Simms is continuing it. The coaches obviously do not have much confidence in the 6'11" "big man" right now when it comes to rebounding.
Free Throw Shooting: B+
A great effort to get to the line a whopping 36 times, but only hitting 64% dampens that effort a little bit. Everybody was going strong to the basket and it paid off in drawing fouls. Three KSU players fouled out with the biggest one being Pasco with just under nine minutes left in the game. That changed the interior landscape drastically down the stretch.
Best: Drevo and Clemmons – 9-11 and 7-9 FT respectively. Both players did a fantastic job of drawing fouls and then knocking down the freebies. It was especially nice to see Drevo do this because he has been struggling recently.
Worst: Johnson – 3-7 FT. Nate was great from the floor, but was a letdown from the line. This is an obvious aberration for the 73% shooter from the stripe.
When's the parade down O Street?!?! This is a big win for the program because it avoids the longest losing streak in school history and gives the players something to build on. It does not turn the program around by any means, but losing continuously can run a team into the ground and carryover to the next year. Hopefully, this win will spur the Huskers to a couple more Ws and allow them to salvage the season somewhat.
Up Next: Iowa State
This is another winnable game for Nebraska because ISU is having a down year. Currently though, the Cyclones are riding high on a two-game winning streak which includes a huge win over Colorado, 81-55. Nebraska still has the advantage because it is playing at home and, like Kansas State, Iowa State has yet to win a game on the road in the Big 12. If Corey Simms and others can slow down Jake Sullivan and Turek can stop Jackson Vroman inside, then the Huskers can pull out the victory. Even though this game features two pretty bad teams it is worth the price of admission just to see if Larry Eustachy blows his top like he is known to do often. Another reason to go to this one is because Brian Conklin could possibly have a career day. He improves every other game and this is his time to hit 7 3-pointers. Wouldn't that be great?!?!
Prediction: Nebraska 70 Iowa State 63