Nebraska (19-8, 10-4 Big Ten) sent the fans home happy Saturday with a 67-55 rout of Rutgers (12-15, 2-12 Big Ten).
Here are a few takeaways from the game.
Call the Authorities
Win or lose, this was going to make it in here. It had to. Isaiah Roby stole a life Saturday.
He’s tried to do it before. There was that near-poster to end all posters a few weeks ago when, fully extended, he had the ball up near the top of the backboard and his head at the rim. It didn’t fall. So far this season, most of them haven’t. This one did.
— Derek Peterson (@DrPeteyHV) February 10, 2018
The athleticism that Roby, only a sophomore, displays is off the charts. He’s a player that could become one of the conference’s best with some work. His handle needs tightening, his shot needs consistency but the tools are there. When you see him take off from the conference logo in the paint and yam on a dude, you see the potential on full display.
Coming off a career-high 19-point, eight-rebound, five-block performance against Minnesota, Roby finished this one with a similar stat-stuffing line. Roby had 10 points, 11 rebounds and added a pair of assists and blocks.
Time to update the Wiki page, folks. Roby now owns Rutgers University.
Balance is Key
Eight-of-nine guys scored. The only guy that didn’t was point guard Thomas Allen and on multiple occasions, he passed up good shots for great shots. Guard James Palmer Jr. led the way with 15 points and four assists — a quiet outing for him — but everyone was involved. Roby got his, forward Isaac Copeland had 11 points and only missed three shots, guard Glynn Watson Jr. added 11 and reserve big Jordy Tshimanga added eight off the bench.
The Huskers were above a point per possession and assisted on over half their made baskets.
For a team that has a tendency of looking a little rough around the edges at times on offense, this one was a welcome sight. Nebraska shot 46 percent from the floor, hit 14 of its 19 free throws and sent the fans home early with a smile.
Team On a Mission
If the Huskers had come out flat, or maybe a little unengaged, no one would have blamed them. In the run-up to a basketball game, they spent a lot of time and emotional energy trying to deal with something bigger than basketball.
The Huskers didn’t have to say anything about the racist video that surfaced on campus earlier in the week. They could have hunkered down and focused on trying to make the NCAA tournament, something that’s looking more likely with each passing win, but they decided to use the platform that being a Husker affords them and say something.
And despite everything, they came out of the gates on fire and built a 20-4 lead after 8 minutes of play. Rutgers got back within five before the half ended but never closer. In the second half, the Huskers pushed the lead to as many as 19 points.
If you were waiting for a collapse, it never came. The extended brain fart never materialized. The Huskers went more than three minutes without scoring only once and by that point, the game had already been decided. Rutgers shot 35 percent for the game and was forced into terrible shots all day long.
This is a team that knows what’s at stake — a loss in any of their remaining regular-season games means they likely need to make some serious noise in the conference tournament — and is playing like it.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.