Nebraska Basketball: View from the Cheap Seats – Illinois Edition


The view from the Cheap Seats for the Nebraska Basketball team saw a better effort, but still not enough for a victory. The University of Illinois beat the Huskers 69-57 in Champaign to help their cause for an NCAA tournament bid while Nebraska solidified their position in the bottom four of the conference and thus ensuring a game on the dreaded day one of the Big 10 tournament.

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We know what NU faces coming in the future, but what stood out to me during the game Wednesday night? Here’s my view from the Cheap Seats:

– The road has been extremely tough on the Nebraska Basketball team. NU finished 1-11 in road games in regular season contests. This includes the Huskers dropping all nine conference road games. For comparisons sake, last season Nebraska won three of their nine road games which wasn’t great, but coupled with 15 home wins proved to be enough for the Huskers to make the NCAA tournament. Can NU find a way to win on the road in 2015/2016? Here’s hoping.

Mar 4, 2015; Champaign, IL, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers forward Terran Petteway (5) shoots defended by Illinois Fighting Illini guard Malcolm Hill (21) at State Farm Center. Illinois beat Nebraska 69 to 57. Mandatory Credit: Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

– With Walter Pitchford at home ailing with a hip injury he got during practice, Coach Miles had to get creative with his lineup. This saw the return of both David Rivers and Leslee Smith to the starting lineup each playing well over 30 minutes. Smith played well, but you could tell at times he was still battling pain from his nagging injuries. The forward from the British Virgin Islands finished with 8 points and 9 rebounds.

– Another tough shooting night for Terran Petteway during this second half of the season. He went 5/15 from the floor, but just 1/9 from three point land. This brought his three point shooting totals to 63/204 for 30.9% on the season. From last season Petteway has hit 15 more threes, but has attempted 57 more. If you want one reason for the downfall you can look at that pretty closely. That’s a lot of empty possessions from a guy who is counted on to be the top contributor. I have a feeling No. 5 will be returning to Lincoln for his senior season. Ideally he’ll become more consistent with another offseason of training.

– The Huskers‘ leading scorer was Shavon Shields with 14. He actually hit two threes, which is a big deal considering how cold he’s been from beyond the arc for most of the season. The academic all-American

NU had no answer for Illinois’s Rayvonte Rice. The senior scored a game high 23 points including 12 off of four made three pointers. He is a fantastic player, whom along with fellow senior Nnanna Egwu controlled the game and performed as star players should. Kudos to those two seniors for getting a win on their senior night.

Mar 4, 2015; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini guard Rayvonte Rice (24) brings the ball up the court against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

– I’ve been critical of the energy and effort of the team for quite some time, but I don’t think that was an issue this game. I commend the energy out of halftime to go on a 11-0 run to take the lead, the Huskers just didn’t have an answer for the aforementioned Rice late in the game. At the 12:01 mark of the second half Petteway for NU hit a jumper to give the Huskers their last lead at 40-39. 30 seconds later Rice hit a 3 to give Illinois the lead that he’d help keep with 11 other points after that.

– Senior Night against Maryland happens Sunday. Be on the lookout for Caveman’s preview this weekend and GO BIG RED!!