LINCOLN, Neb. - Coming up just short, the Nebraska Cornhuskers fell to the No. 11 Ohio State Buckeyes 63-56 on Saturday night at the Devaney Center.
Normally, moral victories are not what a coach looks for, but against the 11th ranked team in the country, tonight’s effort by Nebraska will not go forgotten.
The Huskers managed to cut the lead from 15 to just five late in the game. But a missed three by Brandon Ubel with 1:08 left sealed the deal for Ohio State.
Nebraska head coach Tim Miles had nothing but praise for his players after the game.
“I thought that our mentality was really good. I thought our effort level was really good,” said Miles. “Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to come out on top. I thought we had some Jekyll and Hyde out there.
“I would call it is a good learning experience to understand the mentality you need to play every night out. If we can capture that energy and capture that lesson, then we can come out and maybe get over the top next time and make it happen the next time.”
RIVERS STEPS UP IN SECOND HALF
A forgotten man on a short-handed team, Nebraska sophomore David Rivers brought an energy that Nebraska fans hadn’t really seen from him all season.
Aggressive with his jump shot and crashing the boards, Rivers didn’t put up high numbers, rather doing the things that don’t show up on the stat sheet.
“David Rivers did not play well in the first half, and I thought he was the player of the game in the second half,” said Miles.
“I was just trying to make plays. The first half for me was really slow and sitting on the bench I was so excited for the team and I was wishing I could be out there making plays,” said Rivers after the game. “In the second half coach gave me the opportunity and I tried to make it the best I could and make plays.”
ALMEIDA SPARKS HUSKERS
Coming off of an injury, Nebraska senior center Andre Almeida has struggled to crack the rotation the last few contests. But after being inserted midway through the first half on Saturday night, Nebraska found the spark that they needed.
“He was the savior,” said Miles. “ It was looking bleak early in the game. I thought he came in and it was like a light switch for our entire team, and the whole entire momentum changed.”
After losing his starting spot a few weeks ago, Nebraska freshman Benny Parker has struggled to play more than a few minutes a game. But after a steal and lay up, and another fast break score - bringing the Devaney Center to a roar - Miles knew that his loan true point guard deserved another shot.
“Kid like Benny Parker played really well,” said Miles. “I gave him a chance in the second half and he did some nice things.”
RAY GALLEGOS MAKES AN IMPRESSION
Nebraska junior guard Ray Gallegos did not light up the scoreboard on Saturday night, but his aggressive style and never say when attitude caught the attention of Ohio State head coach Thad Matta after the game. Matta stopped Gallegos at half court after the game.
“I asked him where he’s from ,” said Matta. “I said we had a kid coming in next year that I hope is going to be kind of like him, I think he is a terrific player.”
The Huskers will have an entire week off before they take on the Penn State Nittany Lions, Saturday night in Lincoln.
*** Josh Harvey contributed to this report ***