Flustered Nebraska anxious to flush loss to W. Illinois

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Nebraska attempts to apply lessons learned from an opening-night defeat when it plays host to Sam Houston on Friday night in Lincoln, Neb.

The Cornhuskers (0-1) were upset 75-74 by visiting Western Illinois on Tuesday night. Nebraska was outrebounded 57-37 overall and managed just seven offensive rebounds compared to the Leathernecks’ 23.

“We got to grow from it, we got to get better from it and find a way to get some type of physicality out there,” third-year Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We’re just getting manhandled on the glass right now, obviously.”

Alonzo Verge Jr. (26 points, 13 rebounds) and Bryce McGowens (25) led Nebraska’s attack against Western Illinois.

Verge, a senior, posted his first career double-double. McGowens’ point total was the most ever by a Huskers freshman in his debut.

Nebraska sank 23 of 31 free throws against Western Illinois but missed 4 of 6 in the final 55 seconds.

“We’re still in November, we’ve got to learn from every game, especially heading into the Big Ten play,” said Nebraska’s Derrick Walker, who had 4 points and 8 rebounds in the opener. “If you want to get into the [NCAA Tournament], you have to learn from every game, win or lose.”

Jason Hooten is in his 12th year as Sam Houston head coach. The Western Athletic Conference’s Bearkats, with six returning players, were scheduled to start the season Wednesday night against LeTourneau.

Demarkus Lampley (14.4 ppg., 3.8 rpg.) and Savion Flagg (8.8 ppg. 4.5 rpg.), a graduate student from Texas A&M, were expected to lead Sam Houston.

“This team reminds me a lot of our (Southland Conference) championship team in 2019 where we had some weapons,” Hooten said. “We had a great team. We moved the ball well and shared it. I think this team will be a lot like that team.”

Nebraska leads the series 3-1. Sam Houston won the previous meeting, 74-70 on Dec. 15, 2001.

–Field Level Media

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