Nebraska is using its loss Thursday to Nevada as a learning for its defense heading into Saturday’s game with North Dakota State at Pinnacle Bank Arena at Lincoln, Neb.
Because of the Cornhuskers’ inability to set its defense and stop penetration, four of their five starters finished in foul trouble with three or more fouls. Nevada outscored Nebraska 30-18 in the paint because it was able to break down the Cornhuskers’ defense in the Wolf Pack’s 69-66 win.
“A lot of that was just letting them go by. We have to guard the dribble better,” Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We can’t foul them. We can’t put them on the free-throw line. It starts with guarding the bounce. … We can’t gamble, we can’t stab and allow them to get into the paint.”
Nebraska junior guard Trey McGowen, a transfer from Pitt who had 14 points in the season-opening win against McNeese State on Wednesday, was particularly affected by foul trouble against Nevada.
McGowen picked up his second foul in the first six minutes of the game and did not score in 23 minutes. He attempted only five field goals, three of them 3-pointers. It was the only the second time in 68 college games he has been held scoreless.
McGowen’s value for Nebraska (1-1) on the court is evidenced by his plus-9 plus/minus rating when he was on the floor despite putting a goose egg in the scoring column.
North Dakota State (0-1) is also coming off a loss to Nevada, a 62-48 defeat Wednesday as part of the Golden Window Classic at Lincoln.
The Bison had only one player score in double figures against the Wolf Pack — junior guard Tyree Eady with 11 points. They made only 29 percent of their field-goal attempts.
North Dakota State outrebounded Nevada 40-38, led by 10 from 6-foot-10 senior forward Rocky Kreuser. The Cornhuskers were outrebounded 49-31 by the Wolf Pack.
North Dakota State is coming off a Summit Conference tournament title in March, which resulted in the Bison qualifying for what would have been their second consecutive NCAA tournament before the event was canceled because of COVID-19.
“I don’t want to take anything away from who they are as basketball players but they represent myself, my family, this program, this state and this university in such a positive way,” said North Dakota State coach David Richman, who is in his seventh season. “It’s special. A lot of them did it back-to-back.”
–Field Level Media