LINCOLN, Neb. — For most, Sunday is all about the Super Bowl. However, the Nebraska basketball team has some business to take care of before kick-off as the Huskers will head to Iowa City to take on the Hawkeyes for the second time this season.
The Huskers defeated Iowa 93-90 in double-overtime in Lincoln in their first meeting. Sophomore forward Jack McVeigh said their main takeaway from that game is the importance of the little things.
“It was another one, two-point game so it shows that every possession is going to count,” McVeigh said. “We have kind of a grasp of each other, what we like to do, who to get to, the play actions and all that. A lot of it comes down to how well we execute and how hard we play on both sides.”
After missing the previous two games, Iowa senior guard Peter Jok will return to the line-up on Sunday. Joe finished with 34 points in their first game, most of them coming in the first half.
“It’s interesting,” Coach Tim Miles said. “A lot of times that first game back kind of messes things up. They’ve got it rolling pretty good. But he’s such a god player and we have so much respect for him and just his whole life story. He’s a remarkable kid. I’m sure he’ll be ready to roll and we’ll be ready to guard him. We’ve got a good matchup with him even though he got about 30 on us the second half; I still like out matchup with Tai on him or even Evan.”
McVeigh said guarding Jok will not be a one-man job.
“He can play,” McVeigh said. “The great thing about his game is you have to guard him with two because of his ability to come off ball [screens] and shoot off the pick-and-roll. You need help. One man can’t shut him down. You have to respect the types of shots he can take and make, so you’ve always got to got to be on alert. Your whole team has to guard someone like that.”
The news isn’t as good for Nebraska and sophomore forward Ed Morrow Jr., who has been out while dealing with a foot injury.
“Ed Morrow did not practice today, and usually you have to practice to play,” Miles said.
The Huskers are taking a cautious approach with Morrow in the hopes that when he returns, he’ll be close to 100 percent and won’t be in danger of exacerbating the injury.
“These things are difficult because Ed needs lift,” Miles said. “Lift is his game, and so I know he wants to be sure that he can come in and practice. Could he come in and give some minutes and I’ve some part-time reps? Maybe. But he’s not at his best and we saw that last year; that did not work out to his benefit nor our benefit … We want to just make sure he’s as healthy as possible because we don’t want to go backwards on the foot either, especially because this is the second time.”
Sophomore point guard Glynn Watson Jr. matched Jok with 34 points in round one, but he suffered a groin injury against Purdue and is playing through it.
“We’ve got to get him healthy,” Miles said. “He’s definitely got some groin injury stuff going. We really limited him today. I think he’s probable for tomorrow, but I think it was more serious than he was letting on.”
With two big-time players limited, McVeigh stressed the importance of getting contributions from everyone on the roster.
“Every person has to bring what they bring — defensively, offensively,” McVeigh said. “Not every night I’m going to get 20 or [Jeriah Horne] is going to get 16. That’s reality, so what else can we bring? If we’re slacking on the defensive end, if we’re not getting back, if we’re not talking, and that comes with the whole — every single dude, from pregame to today’s practice, every single person has to bring that.
“Whether it’s me going out and getting those buckets or Evan [Taylor] getting 10 and six like some games he has where he’s getting a lot of rebounds. It’s all those things you need at this level, every player to step up. Like last game, Peter Jok had 34 but they still didn’t win. Those types of games, you can’t rely on Tai [Webster] and Glynn to go have 30 apiece. It’s on every single player.”
Tip-off on BTN is set for 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.