Rapid reaction: Three thoughts from Nebraska’s 93-84 loss at Iowa

January 7, 2019

Nebraska dropped a 93-84 decision to Iowa in a Big Ten men’s basketball game Sunday in Iowa City.

Three quick thoughts:

1. Nebraska falls to 11-4 overall and 1-3 in the conference. Although the Huskers lost their second straight game, their veteran roster leads me to believe they’ll avoid prolonged losing skids this season. Tim Miles seems to have a level-headed crew of guys, although even he’ll tell you they can be a bit casual. That again seemed to be the case in this loss, particularly down the stretch. Where was the urgency? Iowa’s Isaiah Moss scored on a put-back to make it 80-73 because nobody in red put a body on him. Sharp-shooter Jordan Bohannon swished a three-pointer to make it 83-75 with 1:58 remaining because nobody in red put a hand in his face.

Husker players expressed anger in the wake of last week’s 74-72 loss at Maryland. If you thought that anger would materialize Sunday in the form of urgency, you thought wrong.

2. Nebraska has been a decent three-point shooting team this season, but was only 4-for-23 on this day (17.4 percent). Egad. Meanwhile, Iowa (12-3, 1-3 Big Ten) was 10-for-22 from distance (45.5 percent). Bohannon was 5-for-8 from deep and was 10-for-10 from the free-throw line while finishing with a game-high 25 points. The Hawkeyes outrebounded the Huskers 40-31 -- no surprise because rebounding is NU’s most glaring weakness. Its issues in that regard help explain why at one point Iowa had a 21-4 advantage in fast-break points. Nebraska ultimately closed that gap to 29-16, but it was too little, too late.

3. This was the first time since 1992 that a ranked Nebraska team was playing a ranked opponent, and just the ninth such game in program history. That stat in many ways illustrates the Husker program’s high level of mediocrity over the years. In short, loyal Husker hoops fans have put up with a lot of boring seasons. But those fans expect more from the 2018-19 team. Much more. Certainly much more than they’ve seen in NU’s three conference road losses. Miles’ crew blew a 10-point lead with 8:43 left at Minnesota. NU led by eight with 15:30 remaining at Maryland. Sunday, the Huskers didn’t get a chance to blow a second-half lead because they didn’t play well enough to earn one.

Nebraska on Sunday was just ... generally mediocre. The Huskers are better than they’ve shown in the last two games, particularly against Iowa. That’s what Miles will wrestle with in his mind in coming days as a home game Thursday night against Penn State approaches. The Huskers have won 19 straight in Pinnacle Bank Arena. Another big crowd will be on hand, and it’ll want to see the home team play to its potential.

That shouldn’t be too much to ask.

[ PHOTOS: The Huskers suffer another setback on the road in loss to Iowa ]

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