Two Man Game
Let’s recap; Derrick Walker missed the first five games of the Huskers’ season with what is being called “healthcare reasons” In those first five games, two of them were against power six opponents the Huskers struggled some in the paint, both in keeping teams out of the paint and scoring in the paint. Coach Hoiberg had to get creative and play some guys out of their natural positions to create matchups. Prized recruit Blaise Keita is a big lumbering big man who has a ton of raw talent but as of now doesn’t have great feet and is not nearly as athletic as Walker is. Keita has had some big games for Nebraska this season and gets better every time out.
Walker coming back has changed the Nebraska offense and the defense both for the better. Hoiberg was successful at Iowa State when he athletic big man who could take the ball up the court, and shoot a high percentage from the floor. Walker plays “point center” at times and can be seen taking the ball up, and the offense is always running through him. It is a very rare occurrence that Walker does not get a touch on the offensive end.
Against Creighton, Nebraska utilized that philosophy and then some. Walker dominated the entire game and was getting the ball at the free throw line, putting the ball on the floor, and getting easy looks at the basket. It was so good he was able to score 22 points along with 8 rebounds. I have talked about the 2 man game so who was the second?
Point guard Sam Griesel has been happy to have his center back and his play has shown as well. Griesel has not turned the ball over nearly as much and has been masterful in the pick-and-roll game for Walker to get easy baskets. In the second half of the game against the Bluejays the duo, Griesel and Walker went into takeover mode and put the game out of reach. Every time Creighton thought about making a run there were Griesel and Walker there to get a clutch bucket or rebound and salt the game away.
The two-man game that Nebraska is utilizing between their point guard and their big man is very reminiscent of the old Iowa State days from Coach Hoiberg when his point guard Monte Morris would run a nice two-man game with Georges Niang. It won a lot of games then and it is showing that it can still win a lot of games now.
As a Nebraska fan, you would be hard-pressed to find another win that meant as much as this one did in the Hoiberg era. It seemed tonight for the first time in the existence of the rivalry Nebraska wanted this one more. It was refreshing to see this game mean that much to them, because honestly, it had not in the last decade or so. I will not put the cart before the horse because it is December 4th and conference play is about to start, but this was a satisfying win that is going to hold water at the end of the year. Hopefully, Nebraska can use it.