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November 22, 2008For whatever reason, his team wasn't ready to play. And that concerned Doc Sadler.
"I don't think there's any time that you can accept a team coming in and playing harder than you did," Sadler said following Nebraska's 67-53 victory against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday afternoon at the Devaney Sports Center. "There can't be a reason, can't be a legit reason."
The Cornhuskers might have taken winless Arkansas-Pine Bluff lightly, according to Sek Henry. "I think we just didn't take them serious. Maybe that was probably it. We should have taken them more seriously. We just came out sluggish. And that's our fault on that.
"We should have been more mentally focused."
Steve Harley, who led Nebraska scorers with a game-high 18 points, disagreed. "I don't think we underestimated them," he said. "We just weren't ready."
Harley did agree with Henry on one point.
At the start of the game, "we weren't focused," he said.
The Cornhuskers trailed by as many as eight points during the sluggish first half, before a 17-3 run gave them a 32-24 lead at the intermission. Henry, who scored 12 of his 14 points in the first 20 minutes, sparked the surge with aggressive defensive play.
Henry, who was credited with three steals in the first half, "really picked up the defensive pressure, got his hands on some basketballs," said Sadler. "That kind of helped."
Arkansas-Pine Bluff shot 52.4 percent from the field and had a 17-10 rebounding advantage during the first half. But the Golden Lions couldn't withstand Nebraska's pressure. They committed 15 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes and finished with 23 for the game.
"In the beginning, I felt that the offense wasn't really going right, so I just tried to be aggressive to try to get the offense going. Once it got going, I just tried to distribute the ball," Henry said.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff scored 18 of its 24 first-half points in transition, said Sadler, and "this basketball team can't allow that to happen. So I was disappointed in that."
He was at a loss to explain the early-game sluggishness. "We had a great shoot-around this morning," he said. "But we did not have the energy the first 20 minutes of the ballgame.
"One of the things that concerns me is, I think we had a lot of guys after the (morning) workout that went back and went to bed, maybe. We'll get that corrected as far as just allowing them to go back because we're going to play at lot of games at 1, 12 o'clock."
The next three games, all at home, are at night. Nebraska, now 3-0, plays St. Louis on Tuesday, Creighton on Saturday and Alabama State a week from Wednesday.
The loss dropped Arkansas-Pine Bluff to 0-4.