Huskers defeat Midland in Miles' first game at NU

2012-11-07T22:45:00Z 2012-11-08T17:40:06Z Huskers defeat Midland in Miles' first game at NUBy BRIAN ROSENTHAL / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com

Well, now, that was some way to welcome the new guy.

The sarcastic booing was loud enough Wednesday night that first-year coach Tim Miles playfully put his fingers in his ears in the final seconds of Nebraska’s 68-40 exhibition victory against Midland University.

Two more points, and the 6,679 fans at the Devaney Sports Center would’ve been entitled to free Runzas.

But Miles directed his team to hold the ball and run off the final 12 seconds.

So, no Runzas. Perhaps fans were upset because they realized this may have been their only chance for a while.

To nobody’s surprise, it’s apparent that lack of scoring will be an issue for Miles’ first team, which is replacing five of its top six scorers.

The Huskers, led by senior Dylan Talley’s 10 points, shot 40.3 percent from the field, including 6-of-22 on three-pointers, against an NAIA team.

Miles said he’d hoped to see more crispness, but also knows his team is still learning the intricacies of his motion offense.

“We've just got to feel this thing out,” Miles said. “I think I know what we need, but at the same time we’re going to have to play plenty of two-guard offense, we’re going to have to play with multiple (ball) handlers.

“I don’t think there’s any question that when we see a variety of defenses, we’re going to need a lot of different people to make good decisions for us.”

In other words, he needs a better start from guys like Brandon Ubel, a senior who had three fouls, no points and no shot attempts in the first half. He finished with eight points and five rebounds.

“We just have to figure out where our scoring’s coming from,” Miles said. “We have to get Brandon going. I’d like to free-play … we’re going to need way more direction than that. There are some things I’d like to run that are going to be iffy for a while, but we need to get Dylan some clear looks, we need to get Brandon some good looks.”

With Ubel in foul trouble, sophomore David Rivers came off the bench and finished with nine points, five rebounds, one block and one steal in 19 minutes.

“David’s been a pleasant surprise," Miles said. "David’s been a guy who’s come in and been more productive than some of our upperclassmen. He’s a sponge. He’s just, ‘Yes, sir’ and will go out and do it.”

Defensively, Miles said Nebraska was “OK,” but lamented allowing 12 offensive rebounds. But Nebraska did have 12 steals, and converted 24 turnovers into 35 points.

Nebraska led 30-18 at halftime, and after Midland cut the deficit to seven early in the second half, the Huskers used a 17-2 run to put the game away.

“The more games we play, I think the flow of our offense and defense will get better playing together,” Rivers said. “It’s just everything’s so new right now. We know what to do, but we’re thinking too much and not just flowing with it.”

Nebraska opens the regular season Sunday night against Southern, but don’t expect drastic improvement between now and then, particularly on offense.

Miles emphasized the importance of getting a little bit better each day.

“We’re not going to go out there and … it’s going to be rock fight for a while, all right?”

Briefly

* Junior guard Deverell Biggs, who will redshirt this season, had four points, three assists and two steals in 18 minutes in his only appearance of the season. “I congratulated him on a great season,” Miles quipped.

* Senior center Andre Almeida, in his first action since the 2010-11 season, played 21 minutes, one shy of his career high and seven more than his career average. He had nine points and eight rebounds.

* Midland, which is coming off a school-record 19 wins last season, was led by James Parrott’s 15 points.

Reach Brian Rosenthal at 402-473-7436 or brosenthal@journalstar.com. You can follow him on Twitter @HuskerExtraBR.

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