Nebraska was unchallenged in its season opener but should face steeper competition in its second game when it hosts Nevada on Thursday as part of the Golden Window Classic in Lincoln, Neb.
The Cornhuskers rolled to a 102-55 victory over McNeese State on Wednesday, while Nevada recorded a 62-48 victory over North Dakota State.
Nebraska scored 43 points off 27 McNeese State turnovers while topping 100 points for the first time in 24 months.
Cornhuskers coach Fred Hoiberg couldn’t have drawn up a more convincing shellacking but said the performance wasn’t a total stunner.
“I wasn’t surprised,” Hoiberg said. “I knew we would come out and compete — that I was absolutely confident in. How you come out with jitters and that type of thing in the first real game setting, you just don’t know how that will go down, but I was very confident that we would come out and compete. That’s just what this group is made of.”
Nebraska showed superb balance with sophomore guard Dalano Banton and junior guards Teddy Allen, Trey McGowens and Shamiel Stevenson each scoring 14 points, while junior forward Lat Mayen and senior guard Kobe Webster added 13 apiece.
Prior to the opener, Nebraska announced a 16-game suspension of junior forward Derrick Walker for an unspecified rules violation that occurred when Walker was at Tennessee. He transferred to Nebraska following the 2018-19 season and redshirted last season.
After the contest, the Cornhuskers announced that a player tested positive for COVID-19. The Omaha World-Herald reported that the player was freshman center Eduardo Andre, who was not with the team on Wednesday.
While Nebraska was rolling up points, Nevada was preventing them in its opener.
The Wolf Pack limited North Dakota State to 29.1 percent shooting from the field, including 6 of 21 from 3-point range.
Still, Nevada coach Steve Alford said his squad will need to play even tougher defense against Nebraska.
“They won by 40-some and scored over 100 points with six guys in double figures, so they’re a team with a lot of good offensive weapons. You’re not just guarding backcourt or frontcourt,” Alford said of the Cornhuskers. “They have a lot of weapons, they shoot the three, they drive it. Much different than the team we played (Wednesday) that wants to play a slower pace.
“Nebraska wants to play a breakneck speed, so it’s going to be faster pace, so we have to prep for that. But that’s a team that can really score the ball.”
Sophomore guard Grant Sherfield, a transfer from Wichita State, scored a team-best 14 points for Nevada. Freshman forward Tre’ Coleman provided a spark with 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting and three steals in 24 minutes off the bench.
“We know he’s a very good player and he’s only going to get better,” Alford said of Coleman. “He’s got size, he’s got strength, he’s got length.”
–Field Level Media