Huskers get away with close win

Another busy week of watching basketball, but this time it was all UNL men’s basketball.  The week was great in a lot of ways. First and most important, we got to babysit our 2-year-old granddaughter from Wednesday to Sunday. 

That alone would make it a great week, but we worked in going to the Nebraska and Minnesota game on Wednesday night. Then, while Grandmother stayed with Kenly Grace, Grandpa got to go on Saturday to the Illinois game and spend that game with Son Travis and grandson Kyler. That is a hard week to beat as far as being an old former coach and a current grandparent.

Nebraska has been in world of hurt because after a really good start in the season, they have gone south the last month or so. To say they had to win the games this week was an understatement. 

The Huskers should have beaten Minnesota earlier, but let a lead get away in the last of the second half and started the losing streak. This time they got a one-point win on a gift delivered either by Minnesota or the officials depending upon how you look at it. 

The officiating was typical Big 10, not one-sided just inconsistent and surprising no matter what the call, but the Huskers got a call on a field goal attempt with 1.1 seconds left in the game and James Palmer Jr. hit a couple of free throws to  get the 62-61 win. 

The Huskers had taken a four point lead with 4:06 left in the game and didn’t make a field goal the rest of the game, but they ended their seven-game losing streak. 

To say Minnesota Head Coach Richard Pitino was upset would be correct as he sprinted towards the officials as they were leaving the floor. I am sure that any lip readers in line with him and anyone watching on TV would be able to tell you he wasn’t wishing them a Happy Valentine’s Day. It was reported he was still irate in the post-game press conference and said that unless the reporters would pay his fine he was not going to comment any more than he was “really, really, really disappointed with the way that game ended. Can’t say it any clearer,” Pitino said. The Huskers had no such feelings!!

Saturday night, the Huskers faced Northwestern and the Wildcats came into the game last in Big Ten scoring and field-goal percentage. (61.2 points per game and field goal percentage of .387) Northwestern couldn’t reach those figures in the game and they were still in late in the second half, but the Huskers finished strong and got enough points for the 59-50 win. 

I have thought that Isaiah Roby was as talented as any player on the squad and have thought that the last two years and every game of the now junior starter for the Huskers. Saturday night I saw his best game as a Husker. It was not just a good game it was a monster of a game. Roby got 19 points, 16 rebounds and had five outstanding blocked shots. One of which was a two-handed stuff right under the basket.  

I also was impressed with Tanner Borchardt, who is from Gothenburg. He is a player who isn’t going to get a lot of ink, but he does a lot of little things that help a team win and that was exactly what he did against Northwestern. 

The Huskers were able to win with two of their players who usually score being held way below their normal output. James Palmer Jr. who had 20 games in a row of scoring 20 points didn’t get into double figures. Glynn Watson who has been in a slump had a really good game on Wednesday night but Saturday never got to double figures either, and yet the Huskers won.  

The Huskers need to keep winning but it is going to be difficult. They have Purdue at PBA this Saturday, then Michigan at Michigan and Michigan State at Michigan State and then Iowa at PBA.  That means they are going to play the two teams that are currently tied for first in Big 10 in the Michigan teams and then the No. 3 team (Purdue) and then the No. 5 team (Iowa) to end Big 10 regular season play. Won’t be easy, but then winning the Big 10 never is easy.

Congrats PCS State Wrestlers

Congratulations to Beau Wood and Emilio Perez for an outstanding job at the state wrestling tournament in Omaha this past week. 

Beau was the Class C 195-pound State Champion and went undefeated for the season. Emilio ended up sixth in the state tournament. 

Both had outstanding seasons, tournament success and career success. PCS was represented very well by these two talented young men.  

Congratulations to them and their coaches, Head Coach Tanner Collins and Asst. Coach Todd Ford.

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