Nebraska (3-0) took down Seton Hall (1-1) 80-57 at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Wednesday night. Here are three quick reactions to the Huskers’ win.
FIRST TEST PASSED
After two blowout wins to start the season, Husker fans were anxious to see this team go up against a real opponent. Seton Hall’s not likely to be among the Big Ten’s best in 2018-19 –– the Pirates were picked eighth in the preseason conference poll –– but it is still a Big East team, a long and athletic (if inexperienced) team.
How did the Huskers handle it?
OK. The Pirates’ top player, Myles Powell (30 points in the opener), got his, going for 24 points against the Huskers and Seton Hall never really went away. But Nebraska led for just over 35 of the 40 minutes, they just weren’t perfectly comfortable for three-fourths of the game.
The key stretch came with 13:36 left in the second half when an atrocious foul call on Isaiah Roby resulted in a technical on the Huskers’ bench. Powell made both free throws and Michael Nzei (13 points, 9 rebounds) got a layup on the following possession to cut Nebraska’s lead to 44-42.
The Huskers’ veterans grabbed momentum back in no time. James Palmer Jr. drained a 3 followed by an Isaac Copeland jumper from the elbow, two more free throws from Palmer and a slick assist from Glynn Watson Jr. that allowed Thomas Allen to knock down a corner 3. Just like that, a 2-point game was a 9-point game.
Seton Hall never got closer than seven the rest of the way as the Huskers closed the game on a 36-15 run.
Nebraska’s senior guard carried the load early for Nebraska, scoring 10 points over the game’s first 12 minutes, including a pair of 3s. His strong start allowed the Huskers to work through foul trouble that limited Roby to just 18 minutes and an 0-for-8 start from the field for Palmer.
Palmer finished with a game-high 29. Watson finished with 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting (2-of-3 from 3) with eight assists to two turnovers.
Watson’s strong start against Seton Hall was a continuation of his strong start overall this season. He’s now 19-for-31 (.613) from the field and 9-of-15 from 3 (.600) with 14 assists to three turnovers. That’s good news for the Huskers. The longer Good Glynn sticks around, the longer Nebraska’s season will last.
DEFEND THE ARC
Three-point defense was one of the keys this year for Tim Miles and Nebraska checked that box on Wednesday. The Pirates shot just 2-of-16 from deep and didn’t hit their first 3 until they were three minutes into the second half. They were 10-of-24 (.417) in the season-opening win over Wagner and took 40 percent of their overall shots from 3.
One-game sample size and all, but Nebraska chased Seton Hall off the line well and contested shots throughout the night. The best example? The Pirates called their first timeout of the first half to stop a Nebraska run and wasn’t able to get the offensive look it wanted. That left Palmer on Myles Cale at the top of the key with the shot clock winding down. Cale had nowhere to go, hoisted up a 3 with a hand in his face and didn’t draw iron.
Nebraska held Seton Hall to a 3-point attempt percentage of 27.1 on the night, and the Huskers have held opponents to 6-of-48 shooting from deep (.125) through three games.
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.