3 takeaways from Nebraska Basketball win over Penn State
Nebraska basketball desperately needed a win and got one Sunday thanks to an incredible performance from Keisei Tominaga.
The last few weeks have been rough for Nebraska basketball and its fans. The optimism that once surrounded this team has faded and the hopes of postseason play seem very slim
But for one day at least, inside the Vault, Nebraska basketball gave their fans something to cheer about. The Huskers defeated a really solid Penn State team — one fighting for the NCAA tournament — 72-63.
The defense allowed 14 3-pointers to the Nittany Lions. I’d have never expected Nebraska to win doing that, however, I also didn’t expect Keisei Tominaga to hit five triples of his own and score 30 points.
Sometimes, it takes an outlier performance to win a game, and here are three takeaways from the victory over Penn State for Nebraska.
Keisei Tominaga needs to start going forward
Sunday’s game against Penn State was the sixth start of the season for Tominaga and it wasn’t the first time that he’s gone off. He came in averaging 10.3 points per game and has now made 43 3-pointers this season.
The junior set the tone for the Huskers and he’s the kind of player that just tends to get hot. His defense is questionable at times but it has also gotten a lot better than last season. Derrick Walker and Sam Griesel are really good players but they don’t have the shotmaking of Tominaga.
He’s got one year remaining and frankly, for the rest of his career, the kid probably needs to be in the starting lineup. He can cook in a way no one else on this roster can.
Tominaga’s big day definitely helped Nebraska basketball beat Penn State. However, a lot of it was just good, fundamental basketball. The Huskers only turned the ball over seven times. That number was 19 in the loss to Illinois. Nebraska had been turning it over more than 15 times per game during its recent losing streak and just taking care of the ball was vital.
The offense notched 17 assists on 27 buckets and even though Penn State had an 18-point advantage on 3-pointers, Nebraska outscored Penn State 38-20 on 2-pointers. The Huskers also made 10 free throws compared to one for the Nittany Lions and got the charity stripe 14 times compared to four.
It might not be the thing fans remember but if you only turn the ball over seven times and only foul six times, you are going to win a lot of basketball games.
A confidence boost for Nebraska basketball
The Huskers have seven regular-season games left and they would need five to finish above .500 for the season. That would make them eligible for the NIT.
Making that tournament was my goal at the start of the season. If Juwan Gary and Emmanuel Bandoumel hadn’t gotten hurt, it might have happened. It’s still possible. It seems unlikely but getting this win could set the stage for a strong finish.
Nebraska was able to close strong last season by knocking off a few ranked opponents. The Huskers are at home in four of the last seven games and none are against teams ranked in the top 25. They need to sweep at home and get one on the road.
First, though, the Huskers needed a reason to believe again. Tominaga and someone like Jamarques Lawrence, who scored 11 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and dished out three assists, are going to gain more confidence.
Everyone but Walker and Griesel should be back next season. So not only is it a chance to grow for the future but it’s a chance for this group to show what it can do. Hoiberg’s job is still on the line and every win he can get in the coming weeks will help.
There might not be many after this, yet confidence is a big deal and Nebraska should have some after beating Penn State.
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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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