The Huskers used a strong first half performance to beat San Jose State at the Bob Devaney Sports Center today winning 63-46.  The team used some impressive defensive pressure in and some hot shooting from 3 point range to take a 38-20 lead at the half.  The second half started off very slow as it appeared Doc wanted the team to work the ball inside.  The team struggled to get points low and shooting cooled off from the outside.  The Spartans were able to cut the lead to 7 at one point until the Husker second team came in and turned the pressure up.  This pressure led to a nice run for the Huskers and put the lead back to near twenty.  The final spread ended up being 17 points.

First Half Breakdown:

The first half saw the Huskers dominate the game.  Their pressure really bothered San Jose State and they were able to get multiple turnovers using ¾ court pressure.  Then when in half court defense the team was using hard pressure on the ball and stepping into passing lanes trying to create turnovers.  When the ball went into the low post the team immediately double teamed.  What really helped the team expand the lead was their outside shooting.  The team was 7 of 12 from three in the first half.  Threes were raining in from all areas of the court; the Huskers definitely took advantage of their hot hands to expand the lead.  Even with the dramatic size difference the Huskers out-rebounded the Spartans 21 to 18 in the first half.

Second Half Breakdown:

The first 10 minutes of the second half the Huskers were just as cold as they had been hot in the first half.  They could not buy a bucket no matter if it was an attempt inside or from 3.  The team attempted to get some points low by getting Chris Balham a couple of looks to start the half, but he failed to convert.  During the cold streak Toney McCray was the only Husker to be able to get anything going.  The team finally got their offense going by Paul Valander making an open three pointer.  Doc turned up the full court pressure at that point and really disrupted the Spartans.  They had trouble getting the ball in bounds and their point guard really showed that he was a lackluster ball handler.  NU used a series of layups to extend the lead and finished out the game.

Player reports:

Toney McCray appears to be the real deal.  He is physically gifted and has definitely benefited from the redshirt year.  He is a physically impressive player that can get his shot and score whenever he chooses too.  Henry and Miller both did a nice job of running the point and applying solid defensive pressure.  Miller’s aggression and ability to push the fast break will help this team get points inside the paint off of layups in transition.  Ade Dagunduro and Ryan Anderson both had solid games and were very strong on the boards.  Brandon Richardson and Steve Harley both made open shots and took advantage of holes in the defense to get drives to the basket.  San Jose really packed the lane in to stop the dribble penetration from our guards.

Final Thoughts and Questions Moving Forward:

Are the Huskers going to be able to continue to get long rebounds from missed 3 point shots and keep possessions alive?  What will NU do when the other team has a capable point guard with the ability to successfully feed the post?  There were multiple times in the second half were the Spartans had dunks caused by NU’s lack of height.  Edwards and Balham are definitely still question marks down low.  Edwards did not enter the game until it was basically out of reach with 5 minutes remaining.  He did play well during the time he was in and showed the ability to score the ball from the post area.  Balham will have to play because of his defensive ability and size.  What does the team do moving forward if they cannot make their outside shots?  It almost cost NU big time in this game as the Spartans cut their lead.  They need to figure out a way to create some layups or other opportunities for easy baskets in the half court.  The defensive pressure they can apply is going to be the key to this team’s success.  Overall the team played very hard and it was an entertaining game.  This team will be fun to watch this year.

Go Big Red!

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