The 2023-2024 NCAA college basketball season is officially underway, and the Nebraska Cornhuskers have started strong, starting 2-0. Nebraska took on the Lindenwood Lions on Monday, winning 82-54. In the week’s final game, the Huskers took on and defeated the Florida A&M Rattlers 81-54.
With that in mind, here is a review of Nebraska basketball’s first week of the 2023-24 season and some takeaways.
Takeaways from Week One of the 2023-24 Nebraska Basketball Season
Let’s start with the first game of the season. As previously mentioned, the Huskers opened up with the Lions from the Ohio Valley Conference. Lindenwood kept it close through the first few minutes in the first half before back-to-back threes by the Huskers started a 36-11 run in 13 minutes. Nebraska would go up 51-24 in the half and even had a 36-point lead with less than eight minutes to go. The Huskers finished off the Lions, winning 84-52 to start Head Coach Fred Hoiberg’s fifth season in Lincoln.
Sophomore guard Sam Hoiberg led Nebraska with 15 points, shooting 5/7 from the field and 2/4 from three. Senior forward Josiah Allick, a grad transfer from New Mexico and Lincoln led the Huskers in rebounds, grabbing eight on the night. Senior guard Jarron “Boogie” Coleman led the team in assists with four.
Nebraska started the season on the right, playing well as a cohesive team, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The Huskers combined seven total blocks on the game and forced 12 Lion turnovers. They also held Lindenwood to a lowly 32.4% (22-68) from the field, including 18.8% (3-16) from beyond the arc. At the same time, Nebraska shot 48.2% (27-56) from the field, including 36.7% (11-30) from three.
After defeating the Lions, Nebraska took on the Rattlers from the SWAC on Thursday. Florida A&M spent their first week of the season in Nebraska, playing the No. 8 Creighton Blue Jays, which the Rattlers lost 105-54 on Tuesday.
This game was highlighted by senior forward Rienk Mast, who earned his first double-double as a Husker. Mast, from the Netherlands and a transfer from Bradley, scored 20 points while grabbing 16 rebounds, leading the team in both categories. The last time the Huskers had a player get at least 20 points and 15 rebounds in a game was on Feb. 13, 2008, when Aleks Maric had 32 points and 16 rebounds against Missouri. Nebraska overcame 18 turnovers and took advantage of their free throw attempts, shooting 69.4% (25/36) from there, winning 81 to 54.
Thoughts from Both Games
With the performance in the first two games of the season, the Nebraska faithful has to be happy with the outcomes. Under Hoiberg, the Huskers haven’t started the season 3-0 and will look to do next week.
Against Lindenwood, momentum played a significant role, especially with the 36-11 run over 13 minutes. A major contributor to that run was the ability to hit from past the arc. At the half, Nebraska shot 9-19 from three. They, however, struggled to hit any more threes, only going 2/11 in the second half.
In the game against Florida A&M, Nebraska had to work harder on every possession because the Rattlers were physical on both sides. Luckily, the Huskers played well on the defensive side of the ball and forced Florida A&M to take low-percentage shots. The Rattlers struggled out of the gate to get offensive production, dropping 41-25 at the half.
Like in the game against the Lions, Nebraska started the second half strong, going up by nearly 30 points with 12 minutes to go. The Huskers have done well coming out of halftime and should be something to watch for the rest of the non-conference schedule before starting conference play next month.
Next, Nebraska gets to host the Cornhusker Classic, starting against the Rider Broncos (1-1) on Monday at 7 p.m. on BTN. Then Wednesday, the Huskers take on the Stony Brook Seawolves (1-1) for their second game in the classic at 7 p.m. Finally, Nebraska’s week ends in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where they take on the Oregon State Beavers (2-0) in the Sanford Pentagon at 3 p.m. on Peacock.
Against the Broncos, the Huskers can start 3-0 for the first time in the Hoiberg era at Nebraska.
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