Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Nebraska vs. Illinois Postgame Notes

By NU Athletic Communications

*-D.J. Richardson's 30 points were a season high against Nebraska (previous high was 27) and the most by a Husker opponent since Tim Frazier of Penn State scored 30 on Jan. 11, 2012.
*-Nebraska was held to 31 percent shooting and has been held under 40 percent shooting in all 10 losses.
*-Nebraska had just two players in double figures and falls to 2-8 when less than three player reach double figures.
*-Kye Kurkowski and Max Ritchie saw their first action of the season tonight. Ritchie had two free throws and a rebound in three minutes, while Kurkowski had two reounds in three. Trevor Menke also scored the first point of his career tonight.
*-Illinois became the fourth team to score 70 points against Nebraska in 20 games and the first since Ohio State had 70 on Jan. 2

Illinois Head Coach John Groce quotes
Opening Statement
"Obviously, anytime you can get a road win in this league you take it and run before they change the score. I thought our guys effort level was off the charts on the defensive end and maybe as consistent as we have been with our effort defensively in a couple weeks from start to finish. I think it clearly started there, different plays throughout the game like loose balls or trying to dive for the ball at the end of the game. I thought the defensive end was where it needed to start, we needed to be better on that end, and I thought today that is what spear headed us into everything else and it all fell in line."

On D.J. Richardson's performance
"I thought D.J. was unbelievable tonight. Obviously it's one thing to get 30 points and then on the other end you are guarding a really good offensive player (Ray Gallegos). He was 1-7 from the field, and I think he is a terrific shooter on film. He has a quick release, and he is a double-figure scorer so it is not very often in my career that I have seen a guy or coached a guy that gets 30 while expending so much energy on the defensive end. I have said from some time now that Richardson's value is incredible to our team." 

On the stretch where Tim Miles got a technical and D.J. Richardson hit a three
"Well we got one, and they got one. I just thought our defense every time the game got close, and we did make a couple plays on offense for sure, but I thought our defense kept getting ratcheted up when we needed it to. You are never going to be perfect, but I thought we were dialed in on defense tonight."

Nebraska Head Coach Tim Miles
On how much rebounding was an issue
"I've coached a lot of games at a lot of different levels, and I don't think that I've ever been this disappointed or embarrassed in one area of the game. You have to credit Illinois. They came out and they hadn't been making threes, so they had to find another area to score. They hit the offensive glass and gave themselves some chances and did a really good job. We just had to have more readiness and personal pride in those things. It seemed like tonight we allowed too many things on one end of the floor to hurt us on the next. We'd miss a block, give up a rebound and turn it over. It would be the same kid making the same mistakes in a row. That tells you a lot about our mentality and where we were. We weren't where we needed to be."

On why the team has been struggling at home
"I don't know. I don't know, but we have certainly played better on the road. When we are in their environment, we seem to be more focused and energetic and those sorts of things. I think we need to look at that with this group because it appears to me there is a stark contrast of how we are playing."

 On why Shavon Shields struggled tonight
"I think it was being a freshman. Just that now you've played pretty good and a hopped up opponent is going to come after you, and I don't think he responded very well. But he'll learn from it."

 On if he earned the technical
"All I said was 'call the travel.' You know? I had a lot of good ideas for the refs. They should've listened."

On what he saw from his team that showed they didn't have any pride
It changed for a while in the second half. It really did. But I didn't take much for us if you are chopping down a tree. We were that tree that was just hanging for one more chop. A couple things didn't go our way late, and we fell over. You could just see how quick they were to the ball and how sloppy we were with our ball handling. We had five assists and 14 turnovers. Three guys had assists and seven guys had turnovers. Almost everyone that played had a turnover that had any meaningful minutes. You look at rebounding (at halftime); they had more offensive rebounds than we had total rebounds. That's embarrassing."

Nebraska Forward Brandon Ubel
On whether or not their biggest problem was rebounding
"Coach said it; they were a little more ready than we were. They hit us first instead of us hitting them first. The aggressor always wins, especially inside the paint. We just have to come ready to play."

On if the home and on the road thing has the team confused
"It's definitely weird. Traditionally we have always been better at home than on the road, but we need to look at what each of us are individually doing. We need to do this the night before and the day before, and really figure out how best we can get ready."

On playing as well as home as opposed to the road.
 "We need to mentally be ready. We got down early, and then fought back. We came out in the second half and they got on a run again. We have to come out ready. We can't turn it on, turn it off. We need to be locked in the day before, the night before and the morning of. Everything needs to a little more focused and intense."

 On why Shavon Shields struggled
"I don't really know why he struggled. It looked like he was a little hesitant. I don't know why. That is just what it looked like to me. We got down early, and I think a few guys tried to press it a little bit. I think that might have been a little issue. Shavon is going to be O.K. He is a good player with a high I.Q. He will be fine. Freshmen are going to have bad games; everybody does."


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