Nebraska is off to a 2-1 start after losing 17 consecutive games to conclude Fred Hoiberg's first season as head coach last year, and a stronger defense that is providing more scoring opportunities is one reason for the improvement.
The Cornhuskers are coming off a successful debut in the Golden Window Classic at Lincoln, Neb., capped with a 79-57 win Saturday over North Dakota State, an NCAA Tournament-caliber team the last two seasons.
Nebraska will host South Dakota (0-2) on Tuesday night. The Coyotes, who compete with North Dakota State in the Summit League, lost two games last week in the Little Apple Classic at Manhattan, Kan., against Colorado and Drake.
Nebraska held North Dakota State to 29 percent shooting from the field and 25 percent on 3-pointers. The defense forced 17 turnovers.
Entering Monday, Teddy Allen ranked third nationally with 4.3 steals per game. He had five against North Dakota State.
Allen finished with 22 points and seven rebounds on 9-of-17 shooting.
"I think we're doing a great job with our hands, our aggressiveness," said Hoiberg, whose team bounced back from a 69-66 loss to Nevada on Thursday. "We're creating turnovers and deflections. I thought we really guarded (North Dakota State) down the stretch, those last 10 minutes were phenomenal, and that's when we stretched it open."
Trey McGowens, a Pitt transfer, went scoreless against the Wolf Pack on 0-for-5 shooting, bounced back with 19 points and five rebounds against NDSU.
"We really locked in on the defensive end, and we understand that offense is going to come," McGowens said. "We have scorers. Defense is going to keep us in ball games, offense is going to win it for us."
South Dakota is coming off woeful shooting performances against Colorado and Drake, making only 14.7 percent of its 3-pointers (5 of 34). The Coyotes shot 35.1 percent overall (39 of 111).
Stanley Umude leads South Dakota with 17 points a game but he is shooting 27.8 percent from the field and 9.1 percent from beyond the arc.
"We just have to play together and keep doing the same things over and over again," said Umude, a senior who has played 77 games in his career with 51 starts. "Through games, we're obviously going to build chemistry. Everyone is very competitive, and that's a big thing."
--Field Level Media