As Harvey Sees It: Nebraska/Penn State

Tai Webster (Stewart Photography)

Nebraska improved to 15-10 on the season and 7-6 in Big Ten play, as "bubble talk" heats up across the country.

POSITIVES:


1.) The Nebraska crowd… Coming into the contest head coach Tim Miles said he needed a better effort from the Nebraska crowd. In the Huskers' most recent home contest, he said the crowd would have been graded out at a B minus.

The 15,797 fans took that to heart on Thursday night, letting their presence be known before tipoff.

"Husker Power" chants filled the arena during Penn State's starting lineup announcement. It was so loud, I for could not hear who was starting for the Nittany Lions.

"I thought the crowd was good, unfortunately there were so many whistles, I think it was hard for them to get into it," said Miles. "Then the lead got so big. If they had been over in Omaha, they would have likely been in the hallway."

2.) Tai Webster As the true freshman tries to get more comfortable in his role as the Huskers' starting point guard, tonight can be considered a stepping stone for the New Zealand product.

Webster only attempted one-shot from the field, but managed to score 10 points, five rebounds, and three assists, in the Huskers win.

The freshman's best play came in the first half, when he pulled down a rebound and west coast-to-coast after a beautiful pass fake. It put the Huskers up 19-11 at the time.

"It felt really good," said Webster. "I just got back to not thinking about the game too much and letting them come to me. I let the points come and found open players to make shots when I needed them. It was a really good time out there.

"Benny Parker has been an inspiration. He brings so much energy and spark to the team every single day in practice. He pushes me to the limit every time. He guides me in practice. I want to go at him as hard as he's going at me. It's good."

Webster's previous conference high was nine against Ohio State on Jan. 28.

3.) Keeping the composure… In a game that featured 51 total fouls, Nebraska did a great job at keeping their emotions in check the entire contest – something Penn State struggled to do with three technical fouls and a player ejection.

NEGATIVES:


1.) Walter Pitchford's injury… It sounds like the Nebraska forward will be okay, but his immediate return is not known. Pitchford took a hit to his knee when a Penn State player was diving on the floor for a loose ball. The sophomore immediately went to the ground and didn't get up for at least a minute. He would eventually be helped to the locker room by teammates.

The early report is Pitchford will be fine, after it was determined he had no structural damage according to Miles in his radio post game.

While he won't miss the rest of the year, there is a chance we don't see him against Purdue on Sunday. Knowing him, it's a small chance.

"I don't know, I really don't know," said Miles. "I don't talk to our hurt guys (media laughter)."

2.) The boards… Nebraska gave up 16 offensive boards to Penn State – against a better team in the conference and that would have likely been the difference in a win.

3.) Offense MIA … Late in the first half, the Huskers went on a cold-streak, going five minutes without a bucket. Fortunately, the Huskers had a sizable lead and knocked down some free throws, but it's a trend that's happened too many times this season. Against a better team, it's likely it would have snake bitten Nebraska.

BONUS EXTRA POINT


David Rivers' emergence into the starting lineup continued to pay dividends on Thursday night. The junior scored six points and pulled down six rebounds in 29 minutes on the floor. His presence has made the Huskers bigger inside and allowed sophomore Shavon Shields to move back to his small forward spot – his natural position.

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