Photo by Pat Radigan
Story by Becca Mann
Nebraska falls victim to Red Storm’s pace, balance
Trouble with ball control and poor shooting from inside the arc were just two of the many issues Nebraska fought on the way to its 79-56 loss against St. John’s.
Thursday night’s performance was described by coach Tim Miles as “beyond disappointing, as the Huskers fell to 2-1. A Red Storm team picked to finish sixth in the Big East picked apart a disjointed Nebraska squad at Carnesecca Arena in NU’s first road game of the season.
Problems for Nebraska started early on and quickly spiraled out of control. The night started with a 5-2 NU lead, before a Red Storm 9-0 run over the next four and a half minutes set the pace for the rest of the game.
Junior guard James Palmer Jr. led Nebraska’s offensive efforts as the only Husker to tally double digits. Palmer shot 4-of-10 from the floor to finish with 13 points, grabbed five rebounds and committed four fouls, including a technical.
On the other end of the court, St. Johns’ put four in double figures, including redshirt sophomore Justin Simon. Simon finished with the fewest points of the St. John’s players in double figures, yet still matched Palmer’s efforts with 13 points, and racked up 12 rebounds in his 29 minutes of play.
Leading the team was sophomore guard Shamorie Ponds with 22 points and five assists. Bashir Ahmed hit a pair of 3-pointers to add 15 for St. Johns, and Marcus LoVett scored 14.
Nebraska’s poor shooting allowed St. Johns to take a 13-point lead into the half. The Huskers shot just 8-of-27, and committed 11 turnovers, three of which resulted in a basket for the Red Storm on the other end.
Miles said midweek that a fast-paced and chaotic style of play from St. Johns was something his team would have to overcome to find success. Not only was Nebraska not able to control the pace of play, it looked sloppy in its attempts.
Failure to guard the ball hurt the Nebraska team that went on to commit 16 turnovers, and was out rebounded 50-39. Simon led the St. Johns defensive efforts with his double-double, followed by redshirt junior Tariq Owens’ nine rebounds and the seven snatched by Ponds.
Owens, last year’s Big East leader in blocks, accounted for six of the team’s 10 blocks and made his presence known thanks to his 6’11” frame.
Even with a changing defensive scheme, the Huskers were unable to find footing, allowing St. Johns to tally 30-of-69 shots on the night and score 44 in the paint. To pour salt in the wound, four of St. John’s final seven possessions ended in dunks.
“We didn’t rise to the occasion tonight and that’s disappointing,” Miles said about the performance. “It’s early in the year, we’ve got a lot of improvement ahead of us and I look forward to getting to it as soon as we can.”
The opportunity to show off improvements will come sooner rather than later, when Nebraska returns home to host North Dakota at 1 p.m. on Sunday.