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Life in the Red

Hoops follow-up: Effort must improve

2013-01-03T15:32:00Z Hoops follow-up: Effort must improveBy BRIAN ROSENTHAL / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com

Just a few follow-up notes and comments from Nebraska’s 70-44 loss at No. 8 Ohio State to open Big Ten Conference play on Wednesday night:

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You’ve probably heard that Tim Miles wasn’t happy with his team’s effort.

I can’t blame him.

The talent level gap between Nebraska, Ohio State and most of the rest of the Big Ten is alarming enough without the Huskers looking passive and, at times, intimidated.

If there’s a turning point to a 26-point game, it probably came when Nebraska didn’t go after a rebound off a missed OSU free throw, after the Huskers had trimmed the lead to 20-15 with about 6 ½ minutes to go in the first half.

That led to a Lenzelle Smith three-pointer, and that started a 16-2 run – during which senior guard Dylan Talley missed three straight free throws, with NU down 12.

Unacceptable, Miles said.

While not the difference between a win and a loss, those plays are examples where Nebraska could’ve been –should’ve been – more competitive.

The final score could’ve reflected as much, too.

***

Nebraska’s offensive woes against talented teams continued.

The Huskers shot a season-low 30.4 percent. They missed several open jumpers at the start of the game, and never got anything going inside.

“I thought they did a god job with their interior defense,” Miles said. “We were what 11-of-35 on twos? That’s just ineffective basketball.

“They blocked six shots and probably altered another four or five or six. I thought they did a nice job. We couldn’t get Talley going inside the paint at all. We couldn’t get Brandon (Ubel) going inside the paint.

“That hurt us, and then you can just chase Ray Gallegos around a whole bunch and you’ve got limited options.”

***

It should be noted that Ohio State won without guard Aaron Craft scoring a point. Then again, it’s Craft’s defense that makes him one of the Big Ten’s top players.

A couple of Nebraska player notes …

Sophomore David Rivers scored seven points and had four rebounds. He didn’t score in a Big Ten game last season.

And freshman Shavon Shields had a career-high nine rebounds. It’s the third time in the last four games he’s had at least seven rebounds

***

Nebraska hosts Wisconsin on Sunday at 3:30 p.m., and Miles called it a “winnable” game for the Huskers.

Is that just coach-speak to keep up players’ spirits?

Maybe some, although Wisconsin, which hosts Penn State on Thursday in its Big Ten opener, has struggled at times in the nonconference. The season-ending knee injury to Josh Gosser in October was a key blow, and Nebraska’s chances with the Badgers might be better now, at home, than down the road, when Wisconsin, as it usually does, will find its groove and be much improved.

***

A recruiting note: Power forward Matt Atewe of Notre Dame Prep will be making his official visit this weekend and will attend the Wisconsin game.

Atewe has already visited Kansas State and Oregon, and is considering a visit to Georgia Tech. He’s said he’ll make his decision on March 7, which is his birthday.

Reach Brian Rosenthal at brosenthal@journalstar.com.

Copyright 2015 JournalStar.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Contributors

Steven M. Sipple

Steven M. Sipple

Steven is the Husker sports columnist for the Lincoln Journal Star.

Brian Christopherson

Brian Christopherson

Brian is the Husker football beat writer for the Lincoln Journal Star.

Brian Rosenthal

Brian Rosenthal

Brian Rosenthal is the Husker men's basketball beat reporter for the Lincoln Journal star.

Brent C. Wagner

Brent C. Wagner

Brent is the Husker volleyball and women's basketball beat reporter for the Lincoln Journal Star.