Some notes and thoughts from Nebraska’s 64-42 loss to No. 16 Creighton on Thursday night:
Well, that game sure was a flop.
Then again, who out there didn’t expect, in early November, at least a 22-point margin in this game?
The fact Nebraska had built some momentum and confidence, and had many believing the Huskers could make this a fun, competitive battle, isn’t all that bad. The Devaney Center has as much electricity and anticipation as for any game I can remember in the last seven years, or more. (Maybe a Texas game or two).
I did consider warning folks earlier this week to temper expectations, knowing full well that what happened Thursday night could, well, happen.
But why rain on a parade?
That’s certainly not that attitude Tim Miles is carrying. The first-year Nebraska coach, while knowing this team is shorthanded and limited, isn’t about to accept losing. He expects to win, and was genuinely frustrated and disappointed with last night’s loss, and admitted he felt a clear sense of the rivalry with Creighton.
“I don’t think there’s any question about it,” he said.
Creighton, of course, is clearly more established, more experienced, and more-everything at this point, which makes last night’s result understandable.
The Jays have a very nice team with, as Miles said, many pieces to the puzzle. I still wonder how they’ll manage teams with athletic, penetrating guards/wings, but overall, Greg McDermott has a solid group that’s tough to defend.
Who thinks Doug McDermott goes pro?
Speaking of athletic and penetrating guards …
Dylan Talley fits that mold, but overall, it’s a weakness for Nebraska, as was shown with how Creighton guarded (or didn’t) point guards Benny Parker and Mike Peltz, who were a combined 0-of-6 from the field.
Also remember that Parker is playing on a bum ankle he sprained Monday against USC – that coming after he got hit in the head in a practice leading to the USC game. He’s not close to 100 percent now, and he’s also learning as a true freshman. Those things, combined with his first “big-game” moment, factored into what you saw last night.
But you’d like to see Parker eventually be a little more aggressive offensively. (He did have five assists). Other teams will follow Creighton's game plan, and Parker must respond. I've got a feeling he will, when healthy. He's a competitive sort who will answer to a challenge.
What about Ray Gallegos?
He’s athletic enough and has the looks of a guy who could make something more happen with the ball, but that’s not really his game, Miles said.
“He’s not a ball-in-hand guy,” Miles said. “We try to get him to take the ball and do some things, and he rarely feels comfortable doing that, so we need to play him off screens.”
Nebraska didn’t screen as well, or enough, against Creighton, which played some salty defense. (In general, the Huskers’ offense resembled the timing, rhythm and flow of your typical series of Lincoln stoplights.)
Miles said Nebraska needs to have more screening action to free Gallegos.
“You can put him on the baseline, and maybe I didn’t do enough of that tonight,” he said. “That’s what I’m thinking.”
Give credit, too, to Creighton guard Jahenns Manigat for chasing Gallegos, who was just 2-of-8 from the floor. Gallegos had been 10-of-18 on threes in Nebraska’s previous two games.
Creighton coach Greg McDermott had some kind, positive words to say about Miles after the game.
The coaches have met head-to-head nine times now – seven with McDermott at Wayne State and Miles at Southwest Minnesota State, once with McDermott at Iowa State and Miles at North Dakota State, and last night.
Miles has yet to come out on top. I wouldn’t expect that streak to last long.
“His teams, they generally don’t beat themselves,” McDermott said. “We had a hard time forcing them into turnovers. They’re going to be disciplined defensively and follow the plan, which they did.
“Tim’s a heck of a basketball coach, and as you folks have learned about him, he’s an eternal optimist. He’s got these guys believing that they’ve got a chance to win, and that’s why they’ve won six games. They really believe in what he’s selling, and that’s how he’s going to build this program.”
Some quick hits:
* Nobody who played for Nebraska on Thursday night scored in last year’s game against Creighton.
* The 42 points were the fewest Nebraska has ever scored against Creighton.
* From the “Where Are They Now?” files: Former Husker Adrienne Coleman, who transferred after one semester under Doc Sadler, is averaging 18.9 points and 7.6 rebounds for Bethune-Cookman. He scored 29 points on 13-of-14 shooting in a Monday victory over Stetson.
* From the “Where Are They Now?” files, Part II: Fahro Alihodzic, released from his Nebraska letter of intent after Miles’ hiring, is averaging 10.2 points and 4.4 rebounds for Alabama-Birmingham (4-5).
* Nebraska takes next week off for finals, and doesn’t play against until Dec. 15 at Oregon.