Nebraska will attempt to leave Florida with two victories as it starts play in the consolation round of the AdvoCare Invitational in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Friday night against winless Marist. The Cornhuskers shot 25 percent in the first half and dug too deep a hole before losing 68-59 against undefeated Central Florida on Thursday in the first round as 7-6 Tacko Fall blocked four Nebraska shots and affected others.
“We couldn’t get to the line and we couldn’t get to the rim, and obviously that’s (Central Florida’s) MO,” Cornhuskers coach Tim Miles told reporters. “Tacko does an excellent job of being an air traffic control guy and just seeing everything in front of him and seeing when to go.” Miami (Fla.) transfer James Palmer Jr. recorded 22 points to lead the way for the Cornhuskers on Thursday, and paces the team in scoring (14.6) in the early going, but the rest of the squad was 13-of-48 from the field. Nebraska, which lost its other game to St. John’s 79-56, must improve on its 39.3 field goal percentage to navigate through the losers’ bracket and Marist will not be a pushover. The Red Foxes hung with West Virginia all the way to the wire before succumbing 84-78 in the first round Thursday.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3
ABOUT NEBRASKA (3-2): Junior forward Isaac Copeland (11.8 points, 7.0 rebounds per game) followed up his 30-point outing with eight against UCF on 3-of-10 shooting while junior guard Glynn Watson Jr. (13.0 points) was 5-for-17 to score 11. The Cornhuskers received only five points from their bench - all from senior guard Anton Gill - on 1-of-10 shooting with one assist and two turnovers. Sophomore forward Isaiah Roby, who was averaging 10.3 points coming into the tournament, did not score Thursday while grabbing three rebounds and committing four fouls.
ABOUT MARIST (0-4): The Red Foxes trailed by 15 with less than 10 minutes to go Thursday before putting together a major run that tied the game at 67 with 5½ minutes left, but West Virginia drained three 3-pointers in the next two-plus minutes. Junior guard David Knudsen registered a team-high 19 points, including five makes from behind the arc, to raise his scoring average to 14.3 - second on the team. Guard Brian Parker tops the team in scoring (18.3) after posting 14 on Thursday while fellow juniors Ryan Funk (10.5 points) and Isaiah Lamb (10.3) also average in double figures.
1. Nebraska has blocked at least five shots in all five games and average 6.6 per contest, tied for third in the Big Ten.
2. Marist sophomore F Aleksandar Dozic from Montenegro leads the team in rebounding (6.3) and assists (3.5).
3. The Cornhuskers averaged 31.5 free-throw attempts in the first four games of the season before going 11-for-13 on Thursday.
PREDICTION: Nebraska 72, Marist 61