Basketball Opponent Pregame Glimpse: Nebraska Cornhuskers

Jake Sage

Nebraska Cornhuskers 7-13 (2-7 in Big Ten)

Last Result: Rutgers Scarlet Knights 75, Nebraska Cornhuskers 72

The Cornhuskers came up short of handing the No. 24 ranked Scarlet Knights their first home loss of the season, as Geo Baker drained a game-winning three pointer with just a second remaining in the contest when the score was tied at 72. After a competitive first half, Rutgers jumped ahead in the second half going on a 17-5 run to take the lead by 14 with 14:36 remaining in the contest. Nebraska, then, responded with a 26-7 run of their own, taking the lead by five with just 5:36 left in the game. Nebraska got the lead up to six after Cam Mack hit a jump shot with 3:09 remaining. Rutgers finished the final three minutes of the game on a 9-0 run, which included two three pointers from Geo Baker, which were his only points of the game, coming off Rutgers bench, and a three pointer by Akwasi Yeboah that tied the game with 2:07 left.

Despite blowing the lead late, it was still a valiant effort by the Cornhuskers to come back and take the lead in a tough road environment, as Rutgers Athletic Center sold out for the fourth straight game for the first time since 2000. Nebraska’s comeback bid was led by Cam Mack, who had 16 points in the second half without missing a shot. Mack sat most of the first half, after picking up two fouls within the first four minutes of the game. Nebraska was still able to stay afloat in the first half without their leading scorer, though, as they trailed by only five heading into the break. Nebraska upset bid was helped by a career high five threes made from Thorir Thorbjarnarson, who finished the game with 17 points and eight rebounds. Jevary Green also had a nice game for Nebraska going 5-for-7 with 11 points off of Nebraska’s bench.

Although there were certainly bright spots that the Cornhuskers should take away from this game, the end result was their fifth straight loss. Nebraska’s defense, which is the worst in the Big Ten, giving up 75.2 points a game, was once again poor, and Nebraska remains one of only two Big Ten teams to not have a road win this season (the other one is Michigan).

Nebraska’s Last Matchup Against Michigan:

February 28, 2019: Michigan Wolverines, 82 Nebraska Cornhuskers 53

Last time Nebraska played Michigan, the Cornhuskers got run out of the gym by the No. 9 ranked Wolverines in Ann Arbor. Michigan never allowed Nebraska to take the lead, dominating wire to wire. Michigan was excellent offensively shooting 55.6% from the field while going 12-for-22 on three point attempts. John Teske led the charge with 22 points and 10 rebounds, going 7-for-10 from the field while making all three of his attempts from deep. Ignas Brazdeikis also added 20 points, as he made four of his five attempts from three point range. The Wolverines were without Charles Mathews in the game, but Isaiah Livers stepped into his starting role and had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Zavier Simpson had 10 dimes, which was four more assists than the Nebraska team had in the game.

The Cornhuskers struggled tremendously on offense in the game, as no player on their team had over 11 points, while they shot an abysmal 16.7% from three point range. The Cornhuskers were also not helped by their leading scorer James Palmer Jr. being held to a season low seven points in the game on 3-for-15 shooting. Nebraska was down 43-21 at the half, so the game was out of reach pretty early on.

Players to Watch:

Cam Mack, Sophomore, Guard

The 6-2 point guard is Nebraska’s leading scorer. He is averaging 13.3 points per contest and has been better scoring the ball recently, as he has had double-digit points in each of the last 13 games he has played. Mack also ranks 3rd in the Big Ten in assists per game, averaging 6.7 per contest. After playing in only one game his freshman season, Mack has been thrown straight into the fire this year, playing over 30 minutes in every game except one so far this year. The sophomore guard’s best overall game of the year was when he accounted for a triple-double with 11 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in the win against Purdue. Mack was going to have a very interesting guard match-up with Michigan’s leader Zavier Simpson before Simpson was suspended for violating team policies. Without Simpson, Mack avoids the tough defense of Michigan’s best on ball defender. Mack’s ability to score the basketball will have a huge impact on the game, as the Wolverines try to secure their first road win of the season.

Dachon Burke Jr., Junior, Guard

The guard from Orange, New Jersey has been extremely inconsistent for Nebraska this season. Burke Jr. averages 11.7 points per game; however, he disappears in some games. In fact, Burke Jr. has failed to reach double-digits in points in five out of Nebraska’s last eight games. In the game against Rutgers, he was horrible shooting the ball going 1-for-8 from the field and finished with a season low two points. Burke Jr. has also been inconsistent from three, as he has had multiple four made three games, yet he is still only a 28.4% shooter from behind the arc. The junior guard certainly has the ability to put up a big scoring night against the Wolverines, as he has had five games with at least 17 points. Therefore, which Dachon Burke Jr. shows up will have a big impact on what team ends their losing streak today. 

Who will step up for Michigan on the road against Nebraska? Is DeJulius the starter and, if so, how does he do? Comment below!!!

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