3 takeaways from huge Nebraska basketball win over Rutgers
Nebraska basketball notched arguably its biggest win of the season on Tuesday night at Rutgers and here are three takeaways.
How about them Huskers?
As a 14-point underdog, the Nebraska basketball team went on the road and did something it hasn’t done all season — win back-to-back Big Ten games.
Rutgers is a team that is likely headed to the NCAA tournament and was tied for fourth place in the Big Ten coming into Tuesday night. However, the Huskers shot lights out. CJ Wilcher, a New Jersey native was spectacular and so was Keisei Tominaga who finished with 22 points and connected on four triples.
As a team, Nebraska basketball made 12, while Derrick Walker and Sam Griesel were able to score inside. In the end, Nebraska hit free throws and Rutgers was never within two possessions in the last two minutes.
That’s pretty impressive and here are three takeaways from the Huskers 82-72 win over Rutgers.
CJ Wilcher was the spark Nebraska needed
The Huskers were going to need some kind of outlier to win this game and they got it from Wilcher who connected on five 3-pointers. He came out firing and hit three from beyond the arc in the first nine minutes.
Rutgers still led for much of the first half but Wilcher’s hot start allowed Nebraska basketball to stay in the game early and in the RAC, that’s easier said than done.
Rutgers has one of the best home-court advantages in the conference, which only makes the win even more impressive. And in the long term, it’s exciting to see what this team can do when Wilcher and Tominaga are both in the game and shooting the ball well.
Fred Hoiberg decided to start both and it proved to be a shrewd move.
Derrick Walker and Sam Griesel were tough as hell
In my preview, I said Nebraska was going to have to make tough shots. Rutgers is one of the best defensive teams in the country and they don’t make anything easy.
But Derrick Walker and Sam Griesel delivered in a big way. Walker was 8-for-10 from the field. He also scored a number of key buckets down the stretch as Rutgers tried to rally and nearly everyone was with a defender draped all over him.
Griesel did the same thing and really helped carry this team down the stretch. He finished with 12 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and dished out five assists. This was a perfect example of why you need a good point guard to close out games. He didn’t turn it over, got good shots, and made free throws when it mattered, as well as going 5-for-6 from the field.
A massive win for Fred Hoiberg and Nebraska basketball
You have to mention Keisei Tominaga and his 22 points. He made four triples and was truly spectacular. But this was enormous for Fred Hoiberg and in my opinion, just about guarantees he will be back.
All of a sudden, Nebraska is one win from being .500 and with three straight home games, there are some interesting possibilities if the Huskers could win all three, and postseason basketball isn’t out of the question yet.
That’s a win by itself.
The Huskers have now beaten Creighton, Iowa, Wisconsin, Penn State, Ohio State, and Rutgers. And with Tominaga, Wilcher plus others set to return next season, there could be a real sense of optimism in the offseason for the first time in a long time about Nebraska basketball.
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Nebraska Basketball: Guard Denim Dawson enters transfer portal
Nebraska basketball redshirt freshman Denim Dawson entered the transfer portal on Wednesday, as more moves continue to be made within the basketball team. This was first reported by 247Sports’ Travis Branham.
Dawson had his moments for Nebraska basketball this season. He made his first start against Purdue back in December. He had three rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes of play. He then was able to continue his strong play in the second half of the season when he had seven points and eight rebounds in 30 minutes. Dawson was active on the glass against Penn State when he recorded nine rebounds.
It could be said that Dawson never had a fair chance to crack the rotation due to the players in front of him. Nevertheless, Dawson had raw athletic ability, and it was easy to see why he was recruited to the program.
Dawson was a three-star recruit and was the 32nd overall player in the state of California for the 2022 class.
Nebraska wing Denim Dawson intends to enter the transfer portal, a source tells @247SportsPortal.
Freshman that started in eight games for the Cornhuskers this season. Former three-star recruit in the 2021 class.https://t.co/RcNdldQaTz
— Travis Branham (@TravisBranham_) March 15, 2023
What does this move mean for Nebraska basketball?
This move makes sense for Dawson, as Nebraska basketball has several guards on the roster already. Jamarques Lawrence is one of them, and he was able to take on a big role for the program. This is a case of there being too many mouths to feed on the roster. The emergence of Lawrence also probably played a bit of a role as the latter looks to be a staple for the program.
It will be interesting to see where Dawson ends up. He is certainly a talented player, but Nebraska basketball was not the right fit for him at this time.
Podcast: What’s next for Nebraska Basketball after missing NIT?
Our latest podcast discusses whether Nebraska Basketball should have missed the NIT, look at what’s next, and more.
It’s the start of another week, Husker fans, and in terms of the Nebraska basketball team, we got some disappointing news on Sunday night.
Nebraska was on the NIT bubble even before its loss to Minnesota last week in the Big Ten tournament. While some NIT projections had the Huskers barely making it in the field, Nebraska basketball was left on the outside looking in.
Chris Peterson and Danny Jaillet are each on the show in their usual spot and offer up their thoughts on whether Nebraska basketball was treated fairly. The loss to Minnesota was bad, but Nebraska also beat Maryland, Penn State, Creighton, and Iowa (twice) — all teams that made the NCAA tournament.
The Huskers also beat Wisconsin and Rutgers, two teams that made the NIT. The loss to Minnesota was bad but the Huskers had a quality resume. However, their 16-16 record wasn’t all that impressive and again, that’s where the loss to Minnesota hurt.
What’s next for Nebraska basketball?
Now that the season is officially over for the Huskers, we can look toward the future. The biggest question is what will Keisei Tominaga do? Will he return for another season, or go to Japan?
There is hope the Huskers can do some things with NIL, although Keisei is limited to earning “passive income” such as money from jersey sales. He can’t actively promote products. It’s always possible things could change with those NIL rules, but at the end of the day, if money is the driving factor, Japan is probably the best bet.
Tominaga has become a star over there. He’s also a star to Nebraska basketball fans and could have as big a following next season as any Husker — ever.
I’m not saying he would be the best player by any means, but social media didn’t exist when Tyronn Lue was around for instance. It would be fun regardless. Nebraska basketball also needs to add some transfers.
We talk about all that and more. We also touch on Nebraska football recruiting, so check out the full episode of the Husker Big Red Podcast below:
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Nebraska Basketball season ends with defensive thud vs. Gophers
Nebraska basketball lost to the Minnesota Golden Gophers by a 78-75 margin on Wednesday night. There were several crucial plays towards the end of the game. The basketball bouncing off of Sam Griesel while Nebraska tried to score was a difficult break. Two illegal screens in a row also did not help matters. Nevertheless, there was one major theme. The defense struggled throughout the evening.
It wasn’t as if Nebraska had answers for Minnesota either. Minnesota shot 51.9% from the field and 41.7% from beyond the arc.
One of the biggest problems for Nebraska on Wednesday night was being able to stop scores from the inside. Minnesota was able to have their way inside in several aspects. Minnesota freshman Pharrel Payne had six points and four rebounds on the evening. On the other end of the floor, he played solid defensively, shutting down Nebraska big man Derrick Walker.
Jaden Henley and Dawson Garcia had their way inside as well. They finished with 14 and 18 points respectively. They were able to pick apart the Nebraska basketball defense with quick passes and their ability to muscle inside. To be frank, Nebraska basketball had no answer for the inside game, and it became clear that this was going to be a major problem throughout the course of the game.
The defense inside the paint was not the only problem. Nebraska basketball struggled all night in terms of rotations and not getting to the shooter quick enough. They were unable to close out on a player such as Garcia, and he made them pay, going seven-of-13 from the field. He gave Minnesota the lead on a three-ball with 8:35 left in the first half, and the Gophers never looked back.
The aggressive rotations and aggressiveness overall that Nebraska displayed all season defensively was missing. They did not have the defensive energy to match Minnesota and it was noticeable early on. Minnesota was able to play however they wanted offensively, and they were able to establish their dominance inside, opening up space for perimeter shooters. It looked like a cat playing with a mouse.
It was a defensive thud to end the season for Nebraska basketball. Now the offseason begins and questions remain unanswered.
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