The Nebraska men opened their season with an 84-52 win over Lindenwood on Monday night. The Huskers (1-0) held the Lions (0-1) to just 32.4% from the field and 3-of-16 shooting from behind the arc.
Sam Hoiberg had a team-leading 15 points, tying his career high (Maryland on Jan. 28). Brice Williams, C.J. Wilcher and Rienk Mast scored 13 apiece while Josiah Allick had 11.
Here are three takeaways from the game.
That may or may not be the nickname for the Huskers starting post players, but it sure does feel like a successful season hinges on not only the health but the solid play of the two transfer big men.
Allick came home to Lincoln after stops at Kansas City and New Mexico while Mast is a transfer from Bradley. The duo combined to score 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting and hauled in 14 total rebounds.
The most important stat was their ability to shoot from distance. It’s a small sample size but if your post players can shoot 50% from the 3-point range that certainly will open the floor for teammates like a Keisei Tominaga when he returns from his ankle injury.
Defensively, the pair did what I thought was a terrific job of defending the rim without fouling and using verticality.
“I thought they did a great job early establishing the paint, playing some high-low when the ball hit the paint,” Coach Fred Hoiberg said of the pair. “We got great looks. I thought we rushed a couple other than that, but it starts with those two guys. Even the first couple possessions, Jo going over the ball, getting offensive rebounds, kicking them out.”
Whenever Sam Hoiberg hits the floor good things seem to happen. Not only did he tie his career high in points (15), he did it while shooting 5-of-7 from the field including 2-of-4 from 3-point range.
His energy off the bench seems to be contagious.
“He had a couple of really good ones. I thought Sam was terrific,” Coach Hoiberg said of his son. “When he got in there, I thought he did a great job getting a couple of loose balls. When he started playing last year, when he got into the rotation, just his ability to get loose balls, to get on the floor and make the right play. He knows exactly what we want on the offensive end. I thought he had some good finishes and it was good to see him knock down a couple 3s tonight.”
Defensively, the Huskers did a great job if you look at the numbers. However, there were times where they weren’t first to the floor for a loose ball or didn’t close out efficiently enough or have the energy that will be needed in the meat of the Big Ten schedule.
Forcing 12 turnovers is great, holding a team to 32% from the field is great and 18% from 3-point range is even better, but there does seem to be areas for improvement.
It’s one game and it was a blowout at that. However, there were some sloppy possessions defensively and even more so times where you should expect the effort to be ramped up a few notches.