But tonight, we were aggressive (opening possession Sam McLaurin back-down dunk for the win), and we got after it on defense, and we fought through some screens, and we got our hands on some passes, and we pushed right back every time Nebraska made a run. Sure, it's just Nebraska, but a 20 point road win in the Big Ten is still a good way to kill this slide.
"We were really active on the glass, especially in the first half," Groce said. "I thought our rebounding, our effort overall, our communication and our execution was better. Richardson was terrific at both ends of the floor.
"D.J. also had to chase (Nebraska guard) Ray Gallegos all night and he didn't let him get anything easy (Gallegos was 2-for-8 and scored 5 points).
"I thought it was as good a performance as we've had all year because it was both ends of the floor and it couldn't happen to a better guy."
Anything that boosts these guys confidence is welcome. A decisive win on the road is a good sign. That said, the rubber meets the road over the next 5 games. No one's gonna care if we're 3-8 a few weeks from now.
It sure would have been nice to see more of Shaw on the court. Especially in the second half, and I'm not talking about the bench clearing at the end. I think his confidence is up and he needs to work it now to build it up even more.
I don't know why everybody is stopping at the next 5 games. I'm seeing the next 7 as back breakers.
The fact is, all games are important. I would hate to see a let down against any team because they might not be one of the blue-bloods of the league. As we have seen, most any team can beat any other on a given night. We just need to go out with intensity and put ourselves in a position to win. We have proven that we can beat just about anyone if we do so.
I developed a theory about this team early on, which I still think holds true:
We have 4 pretty good guards on this team (Paul, Richardson, Bertrand, Abrams)
If only 1 is playing well, we are average, at best. If we have 2 playing well we are competitive/tough to beat. If we have 3 playing well we are very tough to beat. I haven't seen a game yet where I would say all 4 were "on".
Call me crazy, but every single one of those games is winnable if we get 2 or more good performances out of our 4 guards. Even last night, Richardson was the only one to hit a 3 (other than a garbage 3 by Shaw, he was the only one on the whole team).
Anything we get from Griffey, Sam or Egwu is a bonus, but we live and die with our guard play. Our skid was due to a combination of extremely poor shooting on our part coupled with extremely good shooting on our opponent's part. The law of averages says we turn it around. I think there are two wins in there. I would be thrilled with 3. Go Illini!
Joseph Bertrand (seven points, eight rebounds) set a career high with five steals, and Nnanna Egwu (eight points) grabbed 10 boards. Tyler Griffey, who one Nebraska fan accused of being vicious, grabbed six, and Sam McLaurin, who opened the game with an explosive two-handed dunk while backing down a defender, tied a season high with seven points.
Maybe it was a one-time occurrence, but DJ's shooting elbow is tucked in nicely underneath his shooting hand in the N-G photo in this thread, unlike the previous several weeks, when it was sticking out like a chicken wing. Wonder if the staff worked with him on his form in the days before the UNL game.
I developed a theory about this team early on, which I still think holds true:If only 1 is playing well, we are average, at best. If we have 2 playing well we are competitive/tough to beat. If we have 3 playing well we are very tough to beat. I haven't seen a game yet where I would say all 4 were "on".
A lot of pressure on the guards with no inside threat Hope your right!
finally, some early games for a change! these late games are tough on an early riser, but I would watch them if they started at midnight! GO
Exactly what i was thinking. I've been watching the first half at night and then go to bed and watch the second half in the morning before work. I don't like doing this but it makes work a hell of lot better.