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The Student News Site of Gretna East High School

The Wingspan

The Student News Site of Gretna East High School

The Wingspan

Time to show up, show out for Nebrasketball

Huskers need to make big run, prove strength in away games
Time+to+show+up%2C+show+out+for+Nebrasketball

Husker basketball has taken a big step from their previous seasons under head coach Fred Hoiberg, who has a record of 57-91 during his time with the Huskers and is now sitting with a record of 17-8 this season, with a little bit of work to do to get into the tournament, starting with their game today against Penn State.
Their most recent matchup against Michigan was a blowout win for the Huskers, the game ending 79 to 59. This game was a defensive statement from the Huskers, holding Michigan to 25 points in the first half while they shot 30 percent from the field.
Earlier in the season, the Huskers played two games they should have won against Northwestern and Illinois. Against Northwestern, the Huskers were flat-out bad. Northwestern had seven more rebounds and takeaways from the Huskers. This is a controllable aspect of the game that just comes down to hustle, and the Huskers didn’t want it that night. Illinois was a stellar night for Keisei Tominaga. He put up 31 in the loss, and it did seem there was some home-court bias from the referees, giving the Illini an advantage from the free-throw line. The referees were calling soft fouls all night, which is usually not the style of officiating for BIG Ten games.
Home games have been a huge factor for the Huskers postseason, racking up three quadrant one wins (which are wins at home against teams ranked 1-30, wins at a neutral venue against teams in the Top 50 and an away win against teams in the Top 75) over Wisconsin, Purdue and Michigan State. The Huskers have an advantage that it seems no one else has on their homecourt in the BIG Ten.
The Huskers shoot 40.2 percent from three at home. This, along with their 21st rank in three-point attempts at 9.7 per game, creates a formula to win big games unlike any other team in the NCAA.
Against ranked teams at Pinnacle Bank Arena, the Huskers are 2-1, with their only loss being to Creighton. Also, the only outlier to the formula, shooting a measly nine percent from beyond the arc. In the other two games against Purdue and Wisconsin, the Huskers shot a wildly high 47.1 percent, willing them to win.
Rienk Mast has been the Husker’s most consistent player all year with averages of 14 points per game, 8.2 rebounds and three assists, leading the team in all of these categories. Tominaga, however, could have been more consistent this season. Attempting five and a half threes per game and making two can be misleading, as he shot just one for seven and made zero threes on four attempts against Wisconsin. He did lead the team in points for most of the year but has barely been overtaken by Mast after the game vs Wisconsin.
That duo made big-time shots versus Purdue and Wisconsin. Tominaga made a dagger three against Purdue to ice the game, and Mast had 20 points against Wisconsin. They have been amazing assets for the Huskers and could be why they get their first-ever tournament win this year.
On the road, the Huskers have relied on these two players and it hasn’t worked out well for them. At just 1-7 in away games, the Huskers can only shoot the ball consistently when playing at home, as their three-point percentage goes down four points. Against Rutgers, the Huskers went on a nine-minute dry spell, not making a single field goal attempt in that span eventually cost them the game in overtime.
Nebraska could have used road wins against Minnesota, Iowa and Maryland, as those were downright bad beats and games that at least should have been competitive. Illinois on the road was a competitive game in which the Huskers played well, but they just couldn’t get the job done.
They shot well against Wisconsin on the road, but that was it. They got out rebounded and did not win the turnover battle having 12 to Wisconsin’s eight. The Huskers never led in the game and never had a chance giving up 36 points in the paint.
The team needs to get the job done in their coming schedule, as all four of their final away games are winnable and would be great resume boosters, possibly giving them quality wins over Northwestern and Indiana.
Another push they need to make is in the BIG Ten tournament. They haven’t won a tournament game in five years, and if they want to be a tournament lock they need to make a big run and prove that they can beat good opponents away from home.

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About the Contributor
Peyton Parker, Reporter
This is the first year junior Peyton Parker has been on a journalism staff. With an interest in photography and sports writing, it was fate for Peyton to become a reporter for Gretna East Media and The Wingspan. Aside from taking photos and writing stories, he enjoys baseball and playing Fortnite in his free time. His main goals in the program are to win State Awards for his hard work and work with others to build up the Wingspan. This year, Peyton looks forward to writing invigorating sports features, whimsical entertainment reviews, thought-provoking opinion pieces and everything in between. 
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