Postgame Notes and Quotes - Rutgers

By NU Athletic Communications

Postgame Notes
*-Nebraska improves to 10-4 in Big Ten play, marking its second double-figure win total since joining the conference (2013-14).
*-Nebraska now stands at 19-8 overall, matching the program’s highest win total in 10 years (NU also won 19 games in 2010-11 and 2013-14).
*-The Huskers improved to 13-1 at home this season. That marks NU’s highest total since going 15-1 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in the 2013-14 season. NU still has three remaining home games.
*-The Huskers have won five straight Big Ten games and seven of their last eight. NU last won five straight conference games in 2013-14, when it finished the Big Ten season with an 8-1 record down the stretch.
*-Nebraska has won its last three Big Ten home games by double-digits including today’s 12-point win over Rutgers. The last time Nebraska won three straight conference home games by double-digits was 1997-98 in the Big 12 (Colorado, Oklahoma and Iowa State).
*-Nebraska had eight blocked shots today to increase its season total to 152. It now ranks seventh in school history and is the most since the 1998-99 team blocked 158 shots.
*-James Palmer led the Huskers with 15 points and has been in double figures in 25 of 27 games this season.
*-Isaiah Roby posted his second double-double of the season and his career with 10 points and 11 rebounds. He is now tied for the team lead in double-doubles.
*-Duby Okeke recorded his seventh multi-block game of the season and his first since blocking three shots against Northwestern on Jan. 2. Okeke finished with a season-high four blocks.
*-Nebraska improved to 8-1 when holding opponents to under 40 percent shooting.

Nebraska Head Coach Tim Miles

On the outside noise preparing this week:
"Practice was really slow yesterday to start with. We always do the same drill where we guard their actions and we play a game, "defensive points" we call it. Defense lost it, and we haven't lost defensive points in a long time. So, we played it again which doubled the amount of effort we were going to put out, or energy. Then, we played pretty good after that. By the end, I looked at Kenya (Hunter) and Michael (Lewis) and I said 'this looks like a team, right?' So, I felt a lot better after practice but until the midway point I was worried. You spend a lot of emotional energy on a week like that and that's what I told the guys. Stay off social media for the night, you can't read everything that's out there so just relax and get ready for an afternoon game. I didn't ask them to follow up on that, but they looked fine to me and played well the first half."

On Rutgers:
"Steve [Pikiell] does an excellent job and they're so physical it's going to be tough to deal with. You look at what's at stake, and you've got fourth place in the Big Ten and undefeated at home in the league and a chance to play your way into the NCAA tournament. There's a lot at stake. So, we need their focus and they understand what their goals are and they want to accomplish them."

On the team's resilience:
"The first half I was worried because we had given up a lead (from 16 to 5). The second half, I thought we played well with the lead and earned the lead. I was pleased with the second half. I was pleased with the team and their demeanor, but I also reminded them we haven't beat Maryland yet at home. They're (Maryland) a good team, they played well today and we're going to have to be at our best for that team on Tuesday."

On Duby Okeke:
"I'm really proud of Duby. It would be easy to sulk and pout and he hasn't. He's still talking in meetings, he's still talking game plan, his reps are down. We were talking and I said 'there's still times we're going to need you,' just because you haven't been in the rotation in a couple times, you're going to be reincarnated. Tonight, think the first shot he blocked it looked like it was going to be a layup and everybody cheered. When they were chanting his name when he came off, that was a pretty cool moment and well deserved."

On the defensive effort:
"We've played that hard at times and defense has to be our calling card. We just don't score enough and we're not at ease enough especially from the two-point area, touch and go from three, too. So, we have to be great defensively."

Senior Center Duby Okeke

On his contribution to Saturday's win:
“I had other good games where I came in for a few minutes and gave a spark. For it’s just like being the older guy, just have a mature approach. If I’m not in the game, try and give energy on the bench and if I get in the game, l do. You just have to take the good with the bad.”

Junior Guard James Palmer Jr. 

On Duby Okeke's play:
“Were always happy for Duby when he gets in the game. We know he’s going to come in and rebound, and block shots and defend so it’s nothing new to us.”

Sophomore Forward Isaiah Roby 

On staying focused:
“The coaches did a good job of keeping us focused. We had a lot of stuff to think about off the court too, but I mean once we get on the court it’s all basketball. They did a good job of that.”

On improving on offense:
“Just being more aggressive. Just trying to move harder, cut harder, not be so timid out there. My teammates have been finding me really well. That’s just a product of that.”

Rutgers Head Coach Steve Pikiell

Opening Statement:
“Great environment tonight. Nebraska is playing good basketball. We certainly played better than that on the road here. We’ve been great at home. Tip of the hat, Coach [Miles] is doing a really good job. They got a lot of guys, they got a lot of answers, they got a lot of matchup problems, and we certainly didn’t play well enough today to make enough layups today to hang around.”

On Rutgers’ ability to fight back while down by a large deficit:
“We just kept fighting. Offensive rebounds - obviously we’re a good offensive rebounding team. We missed a lot of layups tonight. You got to make layups, especially on the road, but I thought we just kept fighting. We’re a pretty good defensive team, so eventually our defense kind of catches up, and with the second shots. We finally got two of our players that haven’t played in a while back, and you could see they were a little rusty but it was good to have them back. We kind of clawed back into it, but you’ve got to do more than that to win the game on the road in this league.

On if he sees elements of an NCAA tournament team in Nebraska:
“Oh, absolutely. I’ve watched all their tapes coming in. They’re on a good roll right now. They have good veteran guys. They have matchup problems. They can go big at times, they can go small. They can do a lot of different things, and Coach [Miles] is doing a real good job coaching them up. But they have a lot of answers, and they’ve got a veteran guard, Watson, I think he’s terrific. Against us the first time, he kind of won the game at the end. So they have some of those characteristics, which you need. You need your veteran guards to be good down the stretch. They have a few go-to players, they shoot the ball well enough and they’ve got great length.”

On how Eugene Omoruyi and Mike Williams returning from injury benefitted Rutgers:
“They had one day at a practice, both those guys. Huge, though. Eugene and Mike are tough. They are tough, they bring this toughness and they bring this fiber. Mike’s a senior and we don’t have a lot of veterans on this team so to have him back, and Eugene fights. It means a lot. It gives you some more options off the bench; we didn’t have a lot of options without those two. They played multiple positions so I can kind of move them around. They mean a lot to us, now we got to get them back in shape and get them back to playing the way they were before they were injured.”

On if he was pleased with his team’s offensive rebounds:
“We missed a lot of shots, so we’re a pretty good offensive rebound team when we’re focused and Eugene gives us a lot of that, too. Having him back – that really hurt us in the last few games. So that’s a good number but it also means you missed a lot of shots, so you take it either way.”


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