The Tigers took on the Huskers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the Pinnacle Bank arena Wednesday night.
The Huskers shut down the Tigers offense for six minutes and thirty seconds as they took an 11-10 lead. Doane scored a basket retaking the lead, but that would be the Tiger’s last time ahead.
In an interview with Head Coach Ian McKeithen, he said some of the challenges they expect to see Wednesday night was facing the different caliber athletes of a Division one program. “You’re usually facing a lot longer, taller, stronger kids”, Mckeithen Said.
From looking at the Husker’s roster McKeithen said he didn’t think the team would have too much trouble against them, and he expected them to play “small ball” under their new coach Fred Hoiberg.
Coach McKeithen also expected a large crowd at the game. The environment was electric with more than 15,000 in attendance.
Senior Garran Pauli said he has never played in Pinnacle Bank Arena and it was dream come true and a whole new experience to play in that environment. Their locker room was loaded with Gatorade and snacks.
Pauli said it was fun to play against a talent level like the Huskers.
“It was fun in the sense that you never get to play against those kinds of guys or experience that side of things. It was a new way of dealing with the game”, Pauli said.
This season, Pauli, thinks the team struggles with finding their identity with so many new players and freshmen on the team. However, Pauli says the team is beginning to come together and are starting to play at a level they are happy with.
“The past couple of games we have rushed and let the game take control of us, but I believe we were able to excel in such a large environment and slow down and play our game”, Pauli said.
Junior Chukwudi Onwumere agreed with Pauli and saw the game as a good learning experience for the team.
“It’s a new system for all of us because we have never played in a system like this, and defensively we are learning to be aggressive and focusing on the details”, Onwumere said.
Onwumere says some other takeaways from the game were to be more aggressive, not have mental lapses, and keeping the team’s energy up.
“In an environment like that it’s easy to lose focus, you can let the crowd get to you and get nervous, you can miss a shot and let it get to you, but we were focused on being detail-oriented,” said Onwumere.
The Tigers next game will be against Waldorf on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Haddix Center.