Sunday, February 27, 2011
No Turnin' Back the Clock
Nebraska basketball fans won't be partying like it's 1991, or 1999 for that matter, as another road loss marred with meltdowns killed the Husker's chances at making the field of 68 in a couple weeks.
NU played well for the first two thirds of the first half, and it felt like they were absolutely the better of the two teams as they uncharacteristically cashed seven three pointers in the first 20 minutes. That kind of shooting, as rare as it is, can work wonders for opening up the inside portion of the team's offensive game plan. PYB would even settle for a few more deep misses, just to keep opponents from packing down inside too frequently.
However, very characteristically, NU also surrendered seven threes to the Cyclones and finished by relinquishing a 7-0 run to finish the first stanza and fall behind 41-33. Doc Sadler's team put up three halfassed-at-best shots on three possessions, and had two defensive meltdowns to let ISU take control.
The Huskers made a run in the second half, as Lance Jeter and JB Diaz racked up good numbers. Jeter had 27 points and Diaz had 18 points and 11 rebounds, nine on the offensive glass. Most concerning, however, was the fact that Diaz was too weak to finish inside against the Cyclones' subpar big men.
Brandon Ubel continued to be overmatched against Division I competition, getting blocked by Iowa State's three-point specialist Jamie Vanderbeken and flopping around helplessly on other occasions. For good measure, he missed a free throw that would have tied the game late and bricked an inexplicable 18-foot "jumper" with NU down 79-77 late in overtime.
It was another disappointing finish, as critical errors and game mismanagement cost NU another win. This team is simply not good enough to overcome gaffes like this: 6/13 from the free throw line, interior rotation lapses, two critical drops by Diaz when he was open under the goal and Jeter's panic three with eight seconds remaining and the shot clock turned off.
All in all, it was another typical Ames finish. With the pressure off, can NU win games at home against Mizzou and in Boulder? The Tigers haven't won on the road in the Big 12, but CU beat Texas Saturday. 1-1 looks like the best NU might do here. More of the same. If it is ever going to change, Sadler will need to sign some game winners instead of game losers like Ubel et al.