Sunday, November 16, 2008

San Jose State falls to Nebraska

Well, the road trip was a split.

We like what Charles Dickens wrote opening "The Tale of Two Cities" although it's a passage admittedly over the top if applied to any sporting event:

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us..."

Ultimately, the Cornhuskers played better for more periods of time this afternoon, controlling the tempo more often than not and that led to a 63-46 win over San Jose State. It was Nebraska's 26th consecutive homecourt non-conference victory.

The critical portion of the game took place when the Spartans, down 38-20 after the initial 20 minutes, staged a comeback in and around the seven minute mark of the second half and pulled with five points at 43-38. Momentum shifted and the greater pressure was felt by Nebraska. But the Cornhuskers responded in lightning quick fashion with a three-pointer followed by a steal and a traditional three-pointer, a basket and a free throw. The eventual result was a 17-0 run.

The Spartans never recovered.

A Justin Graham pass leading to an Oakes layup reduced the difference to nine points at 40-31. Robert Owens nailed a trey with 7:34 left to make it 42-34 and Owens' two foul shots brought the contest to the 43-38 five point differential.

Chris Oakes continued his fine play, piggybacking another double-double -- 12 points and 10 boards -- on to the one he posted Friday. He also was credited with four blocked shots. Tim Pierce also posted his own with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

25 Spartan turnovers alongside 16 Nebraska steals doomed San Jose State. SJSU shot 36% for the game.

Here's Coach George Nessman on the game: "...They sped us up. The game, for almost the entire first half, was played at Nebraska’s tempo and pace. (It’s) not comfortable for us, not to say that we like to play slow, you know that, but it was a very scrambled up game. They’ve got three, four guards at a time, sometimes five out on the floor, that’s to their favor. For the first 10 minutes of the second half, the game was played more at our favor, forcing them on the perimeter, taking jump shots and not getting offensive rebounds off of that. We were able to come down and run our offense and run it inside, (we) got ourselves back in the game only to see, in a quick burst, them put pressure on us. We coughed it up, and we deserve to lose because of that."

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