Tennessee State Postgame Notes / Quotes
-Derrick Walker Jr. continued his streak of impressive performances as his 16 points on a perfect 7-for-7 gave him a new career high. It was also the third straight game the junior finished with double-digit points. Walker is 19 of 20 from the floor in his last three games.
-Alonzo Verge Jr. recorded his second double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 assists. The 10 assists also gave Verge Jr. a new career high in assists, surpassing their previous high of nine against Washington St. on February 27, 2021.
-CJ Wilcher tied his career high with 15 points off the bench. He also had 15 against Creighton.
-For a third straight game, Nebraska tied a season-high with four double-digit players (McGowens-18; Verge Jr.-18; Walker-16; Wilcher-15).
-Nebraska finished with 34 points in the paint, giving them over 30 points in the paint for every game so far this season.
-The Huskers recorded 18 assists, marking the Big Red’s third straight game with 18 assists.
-Tennessee State 13 3-pointers was a tough opponent this season.
Nebraska Coach Fred Hoiberg
On defensive rotations from the start
“I thought the first half was as easy as not staying in front of the ball and when they got into the paint it forced us to turn and obviously got us really hot and didn’t need a lot of place. Really challenged them at half time to take a stand and stay in front of the ball. We changed our pick and roll cover and really tried to get those bullet handlers to go to their right hand wherever they are on the floor. I think it took away a few options for them. They hit hard. A lot of it was because they were confident, but overall we found a way to win a game where things weren’t going our way. It is definitely something that we can build on.
On how they balance the selection of shots
“When you look at our percentage, I think we were 23 for 28 inside the arc and it’s two games in a row with really great efficiency inside the line. CJ took us a bit further in the second half. It’s great to see him reverse a few shots. I had to give it a quick hit. He got tired there during that minute and then he helped us finish the game there at the end. We had good gait. I thought Bryce had two wide open and he was going to knock them over. It’s great to see him step up and take down those pressure free throws as a real freshman and CJ finally knocked down those two big guys. I thought Alonzo had played his best game. He did a phenomenal job on offense and going into the paint, picking and choosing when to shoot. His game was exactly where we needed it tonight.
On CJ Wilcher’s play and the team’s overall play
“He really was a rock for us there. He’s obviously one of our best shooters and he’s very confident. The one he hit in the left corner was a huge blow. I think Alonzo found him over there in that left corner. We have to find him and Keisei and get him a little bit more forward. I thought most of the time we were playing good games. We had a few good looks for Lat and like I said Bryce had two wide open. The balance is better. At first I thought we’d settled down way too much, but I think we made a conscious effort to put this thing in the paint tonight and that was largely Alonzo’s game.
Freshman Bryce McGowens
On focus on the free throw line
“Just a lot of practice. I block everything around me. It really is.
On the defensive changes made in the second half
“Really just talking. In the first half, we weren’t talking, communicating or playing the ball the way we should. In the second half, we came out more intense and we talked a lot more.
In the third game in five days
“We insist on recovery every day. We recover after the match day and night. All of our guys do a great job coming back and taking care of our bodies. “
Senior Guard Alonzo Verge Jr.
On the game against Tennessee State
“Yeah, I thought it was pretty good. My mind was free and I used the momentum from the last game. It’s just by playing relaxed that I play the best. When I’m relaxed and having fun. This was the case today. “
About Derrick Walker
“Derrick is a big part, just like the coach said, he’s our lifeblood. Behind the scenes, no one knows what he’s doing. He’s the best leader I’ve had in a team. He communicates on and off the pitch and it’s fabulous. If he’s feeling a certain way, he’s going to tell you and he can take the reviews off. Since I’ve been here we’ve had a connection.
Tennessee State Head Coach Brian “Penny” Collins
In case of loss to Nebraska
“It’s always difficult for your team to lose the game. Losing games is never fun, but I was very happy with our efforts tonight. I thought we competed for 85% of the game at a high level. we just didn’t close it as well as I thought. Credit to Nebraska. I think this is one of the most talented teams in the country and coach Hoiberg does an incredible job with this team. Alonzo Verge is one of the best goalies in the country and he just separated us offensively to finish the game. I just have to give Nebraska some credit.
On impact of a three-point shot during the match
“It touched us a lot. When you shoot, you play better on defense. When the shots weren’t going, our level of intensity and attention to detail on the defensive end wasn’t there. It was the case in the first half, we made 10 lines in the first half. Sometimes it’s a gift and a curse, but those same shots didn’t fall in the second half. You have to give Nebraska credit because they did a great job of challenging. We had some great open looks and they just didn’t fall in love with us and that’s how the ball bounces sometimes.
On Dedric Boyd’s performance off the bench
“That’s what he is. We call it the microwave. He’s a goalscorer and he has a goalscoring mentality. We expect him to come off the bench and cook like that a lot, so we’re going to continue to keep him involved in this rotation and Dedric is going to be a key part of that throughout the year.