When asked earlier in the week what he liked about Oregon and what the Ducks did well, Nebraska head coach Tim Miles jokingly answered: "I don't like anything about Oregon."
After watching what happened to his team in a 60-38 drubbing by the Ducks in Eugene, Ore., on Saturday, that might not be as much of a joke anymore.
Never able to establish any sort of offensive consistency from the opening tip, the Huskers scored their lowest point total since scoring just 34 last season against Michigan State. Nebraska (6-3) committed 16 turnovers and shot 30 percent (15-of-49) from the field, while Oregon - which came in averaging 79 points per contest - closed the game with a 19-8 run to improve to 9-1 on the year.
"On a positive note, I thought our kids played solid defense," Miles said during his post-game interview on the Husker Sports Network radio show. "I thought they really competed and did some solid things defensively. We just can't turn the ball over 25-30 percent of our possessions when we have trouble scoring the way it is. Then we've got to make our easy shots just to stay competitive. We just didn't do a very good job of that tonight."
It wasn't very pretty on either side of the floor in the first half, as both teams struggled to get into any type of rhythm and struggled with turnovers. Oregon was able to make the most of its chances early on primarily because it got countless looks within three feet of the basket, as 18 of its first 20 points came in the paint.
With the help of five NU turnovers in the first seven minutes and back-to-back dunks by center Tony Woods, the Ducks jumped out by as much as 13 at 24-11 on a jumper by freshman Dominic Artis. That basket, which came with 6:33 still on the clock, would be Oregon's last field goal of the half.
Unfortunately for the Huskers they were unable to capitalize on the Ducks' slow start, as they couldn't stay out of their own way much of the half with 11 turnovers and nine team fouls.
Senior guards Ray Gallegos and Dylan Talley both led Nebraska with seven points each, but outside of four points by freshman guard Shavon Shields, no other Husker scored a point in the first half.
The ugliness would only continue for Nebraska on into the second half, as it didn't score its first points until a full four minutes in and allowed Oregon to bump its lead up to 16 right out of the gates.
"I thought we had pretty good looks," Miles said. "We started the second half 1-for-9, we missed a tip-in, we missed a lay-up, we missed a post move, we missed two wide-open shots. And I'm just like, you've got to make some of those. I just need to go back and see, because we're not getting fouled either, and that's a bad mix. You can't miss open shots and not get fouled. Something's got to give."
The Huskers were able to cut the deficit to 11 with nine minutes to play on a 3-pointer from senior point guard Mike Peltz, his first of the season and just his second field goal on the year. That, however, would be as close as they would get, as the Ducks seemingly had two answers for every NU basket from there on.
Talley led Nebraska with 11 points and five rebounds, while Gallegos followed up with nine points but was a dismal 1-of-8 from 3-point range.
Woods had 14 points and E.J. Singler added 13 for the Ducks, while Arsalan Kazemi owned the paint all day with 10 points and 17 rebounds. Oregon out-rebounded NU 41-25, including an 11-5 edge on the offensive glass, and out-scored it 40-12 in the paint.
"First of all, you look at the points in the paint - 40-12," Miles said. "We just can't allow them to be on the attack like that. We talked about when they get going and they start driving it, they're really difficult to beat."
The Huskers will once again try and regroup and bounce back on Tuesday when they return home to take on Jacksonville State at 8 p.m. CT.
"I think we'll figure it out," Miles said. "I hope we do. We're going to go back and go to work on it right away, I can promise you that."
Around the rim
***Sophomore guard David Rivers landed awkwardly on his ankle going up for a rebound in the first half, and he did not return the rest of the game.
"He got his ankle turned, and I'm not sure what his prognosis is," Miles said. "(The trainers) just told me going into halftime he would not play in the second half."
***Senior center Andre Almeida and senior forward Brandon Ubel were essentially non-factors for Nebraska all day. Ubel had just five points on 1-of-6 shooting while Almeida got into early foul trouble and finished with no points and just one rebound.
"Andre, I thought he started off the game pretty strong, and then he let a few fouls maybe get to him," Miles said. "Then we were better without him. We were moving the ball, and we were just better without him. So when he got his fourth foul, we just kind of stayed with the group that was there."
***With a 3 by Singler midway through the second half, Oregon was able to keep alive its streak of having made a 3-pointer in every game its played since the 3-point line was adapted by the NCAA in 1987.