First thoughts after Nebraska’s win over Dayton in the quarter-finals of the Wooden Legacy Classic.
By PAUL GOTHAM
Glynn Watson Jr. led four in double figures with 20 points as the Nebraska Cornhuskers outlasted the Dayton Flyers 80-78 to advance in the Wooden Legacy Classic. The Cornhuskers led by as many as 14 in the first half and still held on to a double-digit lead at 63-53 with 6:35 remaining in the game. Nebraska outscored Dayton 40-24 in the paint.
For the second time in as many games, UD made a frantic comeback in the game’s closing moments only to come up short. Last Saturday, the Flyers rallied from 20 down with 8:20 left on the clock to get within two before falling to then No.17 Saint Mary’s, 61-57. Against Nebraska, Scoochie Smith capped a 7-0 spurt in the game’s final minute to give UD its only lead of the game at 78-77 with 15 ticks remaining on the clock.
Sophomore Xeyrius Williams netted a career-high 15 on five of nine shooting including three of five behind the arc. The 6-foot-8 forward scored 11 of his points in the second half as UD gained traction. His offensive rebound and kick out with 5:53 to go led to a Charles Cooke triple. Williams delivered a three on the next possession to pull UD within five at 67-62. He finished with nine rebounds, two steals and a block. It was Williams who had an opportunity to tie the late in the Saint Mary’s contest.
Defense in Spots
There’s no hiding from the fact that Nebraska shot 29 of 51 from the floor. Not beating too many teams letting them hit 56.9 percent from the floor (crazy to think the Flyers were one stop from doing that). But it is hard to deny what the defense can do in spots. Last Saturday, UD forced Saint Mary’s to take timeouts on three different occasions when the Gaels couldn’t inbound the ball. The Flyers forced one five count against Nebraska and created two more turnovers on inbound passes. UD also forced one shot clock violation. On another possession midway through the second half, UD dictated a late rushed shot which led to a team rebound when the ball kicked out of bounds.
Dayton shot 38.1 percent (24 of 63) from the floor and had the lead in the final minute. Think about that for a bit. After hitting just eight of 33 shots in the first half, the Flyers went 16 of 30 in the second stanza. UD outscored Nebraska behind the arc (30-18) and from the free throw line (20-16). This team is not even close to playing to its potential and still had a chance to win this game. Then consider the impact Kendall Pollard will have upon his return from injury.
Breaking Down the Numbers
UD’s bench outscored Nebraska 21-15. The Flyers converted 15 Nebraska turnovers into a 16-11 advantage in points off those miscues.
Sam Miller hit all three of his three-point attempts and finished with 11 points. Smith chipped in 13.
UD will play the loser of the Portland – No. 14 UCLA matchup.