It may have been an exhibition, but the Fred Hoiberg era at Nebraska started big with a 91-63 win over Doane.
The game did not start big for the Huskers though, as Doane raced out to a 10-2 advantage, scoring on the first five possessions. That would be all the momentum the Tigers could muster until the end of the half.
Nebraska then went on a 37-7 run to take control of the game.
What was very un-Hoiberg-esque was the 3-point shooting. While at Iowa State, Hoiberg’s teams led the Big 12 in 3-pointers four out his five years. Nebraska started the game 0-for-8 from deep while Doane was 0-for-10 at the time. Dachon Burke Jr. would get the first long ball to go with just over 6 minutes remaining in the first half.
Burke said the team came out a little slow, and for him personally there were nerves in the first few minutes.
“It was like wow; I haven’t played basketball in a year and a half,” said Burke. “You can’t compare it to PBA, so it felt good to get out there and play.”
Doane did go into the break on a 9-6 run, hitting a trio of 3s in the final 2 minutes. Nebraska lead 43-24 at the half.
The second half started with a much cleaner shooting performance where Burke scored 8 points in the first three possessions as Nebraska raced out to an 11-4 run. That momentum would carry the Huskers through a second half of 55-percent shooting and a lot of minutes being spread around.
13 Huskers saw time in the ball game, including all four freshman that graduated Nebraska high schools. Akol Arop(Creighton Prep) scored 5 points and added 2 rebounds, Jace Piatkowski(Elkhorn South) saw 6 minutes of action, Charlie Easley(Pius X) scored 6 points and added a rebound, steal, and an assist, and Bret Porter(Millard North) contributed 2 assists and a steal.
The Ohio Player of the Year freshman Samari Curtis scored 12 points while grabbing 5 rebounds
The Huskers shot 36 of 68 for the game, including 8 for 28 from deep. Free throws were a damper for Big Red, as they only made 11 out of 24.
Cam Mack looked every bit the part of a big time distributor in his Pinnacle Bank Arena debut. Mack had 8 assists to go with 5 points and 7 rebounds in just 23 minutes of work. Burke led the Huskers in scoring with 15 points on 6 of 9 shooting. 11 players scored with 5 reaching double figures.
Hoiberg was happy overall with how the first game in front of a crowd went for his squad.
“For the first time out in front of the fans, I was pleased for the most part with our approach to this game,” said Hoiberg after the game. “I thought early on we had some jitters. We dug ourselves into an 8-0 hole, then 10-2. Then we calmed down. We got our hands on balls, we rebounded it and that got our transition game going. If we can build off that defensively, to see what we can do and create opportunities on the offensive end is very important for this team.”
Nebraska begins the regular season Tuesday, November 5 at home against UC-Riverside at 8 pm.