Story by NU Athletic Communications
*-Nebraska improves to 4-0 for the first time since the 2018-19 season.*-Juwan Gary led Nebraska with 19 points, matching his collegiate career high. He also had 19 points against Houston (12/11/21) and at Florida (1/5/22) when he was at Alabama. Gary’s previous high at Nebraska was 18 at Minnesota (1/7/22), his final full game before his season-ending shoulder injury.
*-Gary becomes the fourth different Husker to lead NU in scoring this year.
*-With Gary and Keisei Tominaga (16 points) tonight, NU has had eight players reach double figures in the first four contests.*-Rienk Mast reached double figures with 14 points and tied his career high with five assists. He had five assists three previous times at Bradley). His five assists are the most for any Husker in 2023-24. As a team, NU tied its season high with 19 assists.
*-Brice Williams posted season bests in points (17), rebounds (nine) and assists (four), as his four assists tied a career high.*-Nebraska shot a season-high 55 percent, including 65.5 percent in the second half. It is the first time NU shot 50 percent or better this season.*-Nebraska held Stony Brook to 37.9 percent shooting, the fourth straight opponent under 40 percent.*-Nebraska out-rebounded Stony Brook, 45-28, and had three straight games with at least 10 more rebounds than its opponent.
Nebraska Coach Fred Hoiberg
On having Juwan Gary back
“It’s great to have Juwan Gary back on the floor. He just brings so much. He has every intangible you can bring to a team when he goes on the floor. You saw I think how much he has been working on his shot. Even the two (3-point attempts) that he missed were right there. It was good to see him make those couple. It really helped us extend the lead. But he did what he always does. Extra possessions, rebounding all well. Defended at a high level. He can play multiple positions. He can play one through five. Just showed his versatility on that end of the floor. It’s great to have him back. Got a full roster pretty much right now with the exception of a couple guys right now. Juwan back on the court makes a big difference for our team.”
On Juwan Gary’s energy spreading throughout the team
“It really does. When you have a group of guys out there like we have with Josiah (Allick), Rienk (Mast) with Juwan (Gary) with Jamarques (Lawrence) with Sam (Hoiberg). There is a lot of guys that go out there with a ton of energy. Keisei (Tominaga). C.J. (Wilcher). It’s a fun team to coach because they bring it every day. It’s not just these 40 minutes between the lines on game night. These guys bring it in practice every day. For Juwan to go out there in his first opportunity this year and really not skip a beat and not really having a lot of rust it was great to see. He had a good little flash there that got us a couple baskets against the zone which slowed us down a little bit, but I really liked our offense in the second half. First half I thought he executed well. Took some good open shots but I really liked our pace in the half court in the second half. Love Brice’s (Williams) aggressiveness. It was good to see him really get it going. I think he had 16 of 17 in the second half and also led us in rebounding tonight. So that was a great sign. To see Brice get off like that and then Jamarques I think was terrific all night as well. It really set the table for our guys. It was good to see a lot of guys contribute and have good nights for us.”
On when the switch flipped in the second half
“I thought we were trading baskets, obviously, in the first seven minutes or so, and I think I called a timeout with about 12 minutes left and we went on a nice little run. I think we got it up to 14 or 15, then they cut it back to seven. They hit some tough shots, I give them credit for continuing to play. They had some bombs out there, contested ones. We just kept going, especially after that timeout. I think they were 4-for-13 after that timeout at the 12-minute mark (until the under-4 media timeout). I think our guys continued to play well offensively. I thought we shared it really well in the second half. Our second halves for whatever reason, offensively, haven’t been very good up to this point, but it was fun to see that movement. We had some really good reads, curled the big when they were chasing. Reink hit Brice for the dunk, and it’s something we can build off on the offensive end. I thought we were much better tonight overall.”
“The last three teams we’ve played, we’ve outrebounded them by 20, 13 and 17. If we can continue to rebound at a high clip like that we’re going to have the chance to win a lot of games. It was Josiah, Rienk and Juwan out there for a stretch, and then you throw Brice out there with that group, you got a great size across the board and four guys who can go out and help get extra possessions. Josiah’s energy, even though he didn’t make a shot tonight, obviously Jo still has a big impact on the game.”
Nebraska Guard Brice Williams
On what’s holding them back from putting two halves together
“We haven’t really been all healthy this year, Keisei (Tominaga), Juwan (Gary), Reink (Mast), Josiah (Allick), so with all of these new pieces we’re learning something new. We’re learning how to execute in a new facet. It’s early, so this is where you have those little miscues, and then, when we get into the conference, that’s when it’ll start clicking, and you’ll start seeing us at our full form.”
On Juwan Gary’s impact
“Juwan’s just all-around aggressive. He’s a big force out there. He’s going to be relentless on the glass. His energy is really contagious, and I didn’t really know that, but I learn more and more in practice and every game, but his energy out there really lifted us up. He showed us what we were missing when he was out.”
On hitting two threes early in the second half after NU went 3-of-17 from 3-point range in the first half
“It was big. I hadn’t really been seeing the ball go through, which is fine. I’m fine facilitating and letting my team succeed, but it was really big for my confidence at that point in the game. In the second half, we came out and jumped on them.”
Stony Brook Coach Geno Ford
On defending Nebraska from behind the arc in the first half
“It was the same thing that we were trying to focus on in the second half, and we didn’t do it very well there. You always get a little lucky when somebody shoots 3-for-17 from three, you’re going to miss some open ones, and I thought they did miss some open ones. They run good stuff, obviously he’s (Fred Hoiberg) a great coach. He’s got an offensive background, and he’s still the best player in the gym. You got to give them credit where it’s due. I thought we did a good job in the first half defensively, but on offense, we were horrible. Now it’s just been the theme of our year, and we’ve done this three times now. Then we came out in the second half, and we kind of solved the offensive issues, but defensively we can’t stop anybody. Our team has got to get better at that and got to learn from these games and they’ve got guys that I thought their size bothered us. They drove us to six feet and just jumped over us and made little bank shots. There was a clear difference in size and strength and athleticism when they were driving the ball, and I know they’re a good Big Ten team and that’s probably what it’s supposed to do, but it didn’t look good to me I can tell you that.”
On what Jared Frey did well
“Luckily we were able to get him to stay aggressive. He started 1-for-7, but we just need him to stay aggressive and shoot. He’s an elite shooter. He had some really good looks in the first half that he missed. Then he made some really hard shots in the second half. He’s a freshman. He’s going to get better and better. He’s a good kid. He works hard, and we need him to continue to improve because it’s a long year, and we’re going to need him when we get to conference play.”
On how the team handled the Power 5 environment
“The student section was great. They were behind the bench, and they were into the game and yelling and all kinds of stuff, and that’s great. But that’s what it is supposed to be, right? This is clearly a community where they live and die with football, spring football, football recruiting, basketball, and volleyball too, so it’s a great sports community, but the crowd was great.”
On expectations for the upcoming season
“We feel like we’ve got a better team than what we had last year, and we like our group a lot. We are a little guard heavy, so we take a lot of perimeter jumpers. We aren’t really blessed with a lot of slashers so we’ve got to make threes. I think we’ll get better offensively in terms of rhythm, and understanding and timing, but right now, it’s hard for me to think about anything other than our defense.”