Huskers Host Oregon Wednesday
2011-12 Record: 3-0, 0-0 Big Ten
Head coach: Doc Sadler
Record at Nebraska: 92-71 (6th year)
Record at Division I: 140-89 (8th year)
Career Record: 260-128 (14th year)
2011-12 Record: 2-1, 0-0 Pac 12
Head coach: Dana Altman
Record at Oregon: 23-17 (2nd year)
Career Record: 433-262 (23rd year)
Huskers on TV/Radio/Internet
Television: Big Ten Network
(Ch. 610 on DirecTV; Chs. 439, 9500 on DISH; Chs. 24 and 333-SH, 1333-HD on Time Warner Cable; Chs. 80 SD, 1080-HD on Cox Cable)
Broadcasters: Tom Hart and Keno Davis
Radio: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network
(including KLIN 1400 AM in Lincoln; KFAB 1110 AM in Omaha; KRVN 880 AM in Lexington)
Play-by-play: Kent Pavelka
Color: Matt Davison
Internet Radio/Stats: Free on Huskers.com
Satellite Radio: Sirius Ch. 92
Huskers Host Oregon Wednesday
The Nebraska basketball team looks to improve to 4-0 for only the second time in the last six years, as Nebraska plays host to Oregon this Wednesday, Nov. 23. Tickets for Wednesday's game with the Ducks are available for as little as $10 by visiting Huskers.com or calling the Nebraska Ticket Office at 800-8-BIGRED.
Tipoff from the Devaney Center is slated for 8:06 p.m. (central) and the game will be carried nationally on the Big Ten Network with Tom Hart and Keno Davis calling the action. It is also available on BTN2Go on iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches for DirecTV and Dish Network customers and selected cable providers.
Wednesday's game will also be carried across Nebraska on the 30-station IMG Husker Sports Radio Network with Kent Pavelka and Matt Davison on the call. The game can also be heard on Huskers.com and season audio packages are also available for purchase on the Huskers' App for your iPhone or iPod Touch.
Wednesday's game against the Ducks is also Toys for Tots Night, as fans are encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys to the game, and cash donations for the cause will also be accepted. The Marines will be stationed near entrances throughout the Devaney Center to accept donations that will brighten the holiday season for needy children.
Nebraska comes off its best performance of the season, an 83-63 win over Rhode Island Sunday afternoon. In that game, the Huskers shot 57 percent from the floor and had 24 assists on 32 baskets, matching the highest assist total in Doc Sadler's six seasons. Senior guard Bo Spencer scored a team-high 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting to pace three Huskers in double figures, as nine Huskers broke into the scoring column and led by as many as 30 in the second half. Nebraska's defense was also strong, holding a Rhode Island team which was averaging 90 points per game to a season-low 63 points, including 20 in the first half, on 37 percent shooting.
Oregon, the second Pac-12 team Nebraska has faced in the last two weeks, is 2-1 on the season following an 86-61 win over Southeast Missouri State on Sunday. The Ducks, coached by former Creighton Head Coach Dana Altman, have won their last two games following a season-opening loss to then No. 7 Vanderbilt on Nov. 11. Oregon, which won 23 games and the CBI title in 2010-11, are led by junior forward E.J. Singler, who averages 12.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. The Ducks were picked to finish fifth in the Pac-12 in the preseason poll.
Last Time Out
Bo Spencer's 23 points led three Huskers in double figures, as the Nebraska men's basketball team improved to 3-0 on the season with an impressive 83-63 win over Rhode Island at the Devaney Center.
Spencer hit 8-of-13 shots from the floor, dished out four assists and had three steals, as the Huskers built a 15-point lead in the first 10 minutes of the game and cruised to a 20-point win.
Caleb Walker had a career-high 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the floor, including a trio of 3-pointers, while Dylan Talley came off the bench for 14 points and five rebounds, as nine Huskers broke into the scoring column in Nebraska's highest output of the year. Senior Brandon Richardson dished out a career-high eight assists and matched his personal best with four steals as the Huskers converted 18 URI turnovers into 27 points.
Nebraska (3-0) shot 57.1 percent from the floor, including 10-of-23 from 3-point range while holding URI (0-3) to a season-low 37.7 percent shooting. The Rams, who averaged 90 points per game in its first two contests, had just 20 at the break, as Nebraska led by as many as 24 points in the opening stanza en route to a 40-20 margin.
Nebraska came out blistering, hitting its first seven shots from the floor to build an early 16-7 lead, as Walker and Spencer combined to score 14 of the Huskers' first 16 points URI pulled to within 16-9, but 3-pointers from Toney McCray and Dylan Talley sparked a 13-0 Husker run, as Nebraska built a 29-9 lead after three Spencer free throws with 8:10 left in the half. The Huskers eventually got the lead to as much as 24 after a Richardson 3-pointer with 3:08 left in the half, as Nebraska went 6-of-14 from long range in the opening half.
The Huskers took the suspense out of the second half, using an 8-0 run to build a 55-27 lead after Talley's 3-point play with 13:41 remaining. URI made one last run, pulling to within 65-46 with 7:57 left, but Walker and Spencer led NU on an 8-2 spurt to quickly push the margin to 25 and put the game out of reach.
Orion Outerbridge led Rhode Island with 24 points and 10 rebounds, while Nebraska held Jamal Wilson, who was averaging 31 points per game, to 14 points and six turnovers.
Oregon comes to Lincoln with a 2-1 record and a two-game win streak following an 86-61 win over Southeast Missouri State Sunday afternoon. Dana Altman is in his second season at Oregon following 16 seasons at Creighton where he went 327-176 and led the Bluejays to 13 straight postseason appearances.
The Ducks, who were picked fifth in the Pac-12 following a 21-win season in 2010-11, welcome back a pair of starters from last season's CBI title team. Oregon opened the season with a 14-point loss at Vanderbilt before rebounding with wins over Eastern Washington and Southeast Missouri State. Junior foward E.J. Singler is the Ducks' top returning player as he averaged 11.7 points per game last year and comes into Wednesday's game pacing Oregon in both scoring (12.3 ppg) and rebounding (5.3 rpg), while guard Garrett Sim joins him in double figures with 12.0 points per game. The Ducks go nine-deep with seven players averaging between 6.0 and 12.3 points per game.
Nebraska leads the all-time series between the two schools, 7-4, but have not met since an 88-79 Husker win at the Qwest Center in Omaha on Dec. 15, 2007.
In that game, Ryan Anderson scored seven of his 21 points in overime, as the Huskers outscored the Ducks, 14-5 in the extra period. Anderson also grabbed nine rebounds and was 8-for-8 from the charity stripe in the win, while Aleks Maric added 23 points and seven boards. Tajuan Porter led all scorers with 29 points for Oregon, including 7-of-15 from 3-point range, as he hit a 3-pointer with nine seconds left to tie the game, but missed the free throw on a potential four-point play. Wednesday's game will be the first in Lincoln since Dec. 1, 1986.
Nebraska owns a 118-120 all-time record against Pac-12 teams, as Colorado and Utah joined the conference last July. The Huskers have won four straight matchups with Pac-12 foes dating back to the start of the 2009-10 season and are 6-3 against the league in Doc Sadler's six seasons at Nebraska.
Wednesday's matchup marks the sixth straight season the Huskers have faced at least one Pac-10 team (Oregon, 2006-07 and 2007-08; Arizona State, 2007-08 and 2008-09; Oregon State, 2008-09 and 2009-10 and USC, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12). This is Nebraska's second Pac-12 opponent of the year, as the Huskers downed USC, 64-61 in double overtime Nov. 14. Both the USC and Oregon series are starts of home-and-home series, as the Huskers will host USC and travel to Oregon next season.
Spencer Provides Impact
While Nebraska returns four starters from a team that won 19 games last season, the loss of point guard Lance Jeter was a significant one. An All-Big 12 performer, Jeter led the Huskers in both scoring and assists in 2010-11.
Luckily for the Huskers, they already had a veteran point guard on the roster, as senior Bo Spencer sat out last season after transferring from LSU. He has been solid early on, averaging a team-high 17 points along with 4.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game in NU's first three contests.
Spencer, who was held to six points in the opener, as responded with 22 and 23 points, respectively, in Nebraska's last two games. At USC, he had 22 points, including the tying basket in overtime and the go-ahead bucket in double overtime, and also tied a personal best with seven rebounds. Against Rhode Island, he keyed Nebraska's strong first half, scoring 12 of his team-high 23 points in the first half and also added four assists and three steals against the Rams while shooting 8-of-13 from the floor.
Before coming to Nebraska, he started two seasons for the Tigers, averaging 14.5 points, 2.7 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game in 2009-10. Spencer showed the ability to get to the basket, putting up 11 games of at least 28 points, including a 28-point effort against Western Kentucky and back-to-back 25-point contests against Kentucky and Tennessee. In his LSU career, he reached double figures in 45 of 93 career contests, including 21 games as a junior. Spencer was the starting point guard on LSU's Southeastern Conference championship squad in 2008-09, as the Tigers reached the second round before falling to eventual champion North Carolina.
Walker is Huskers' Wingman
While Bo Spencer has been the Huskers' leading scorer, senior Caleb Walker's shooting has been a major boon for the Huskers in the early going. The 6-foot-4 wing player from Hutchinson, Kan., is one of four Huskers averaging double figures with 12.3 points per game, but has done it in an efficient manner.
Walker has taken just 16 shots in three games, is shooting an amazing 81.3 percent from the floor, including 7-of-9 from 3-point range. Walker comes into Wednesday's game ranked second in the Big Ten in both field goal shooting and 3-point shooting and is seventh in 3-pointers per game (2.3).
He comes off the best offensive game of his career against Rhode Island, scoring a career-high 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the floor. Walker was also 3-of-4 from 3-point range, the second game this year where he has hit at least a trio of 3-pointers. Against South Dakota, he paced Nebraska with 16 points on 5-of-5 shooting and seven rebounds in 24 minutes. Walker went 3-for-3 from 3-point range, as he set career highs in points and three-pointers in the season opener.
Walker, who played both football and basketball as a freshman in junior college, is one of Nebraska's most athletic players and led Nebraska in rebounding last year. So far this season, he is averaging 5.0 rebounds per game to rank third on the team.
Diaz Becoming Consistent Inside Force
Junior center Jorge Brian Diaz looks to continue his steady improvement this season and comes into Wednesday's game averaging 10.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. Diaz is second in the Big Ten in blocked shots and is one of four Huskers in double figures. Diaz now has 87 career blocked shots, moving into ninth on Nebraska's career list and second among active Big Ten players.
Diaz was solid against Rhode Island, scoring nine points and grabbing five rebounds in the Huskers' 20-point win and has scored at least nine points in each of Nebraska's three games this season. He enjoyed his best effort at USC when he nearly recorded a double double with 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots in a career-high 43 minutes. He also played a major role in holding USC's Dewayne Dedmon to four points on 1-of-6 shooting. Against South Dakota, he finished with 11 points and a career-high five blocked shots, which equaled the highest single-game blocked shot total in last six years.
Throughout his career, Diaz has been a scoring threat, as the 6-foot-11 junior is only the third Husker returnee to average in double figures under Sadler, joining Aleks Maric and Ryan Anderson in 2007-08. Diaz reached double figures 17 times last year, with the Huskers posting a 14-3 mark in those games. Diaz is also 343 points away from 1,000 for his career and could become just the 15th Husker to reach the 1,000-point plateau in three seasons. He is as healthy as he has been at Nebraska as he was fitted for special orthotics over the summer in hopes of alleviating the discomfort in his feet over the last year.
Talley Provides Instant Offense
When Doc Sadler talked about the addition of Dylan Talley, the thing he constantly mentioned was his ability to score. Talley has lived up to the billing in Nebraska's first three games, coming off the bench to average 10.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in just 19.7 minutes of action. He is sixth in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio with 3.0-to-1 after three contests.
The 6-foot-5 guard had 15 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, five rebounds and two assists in 18 minutes of action against Rhode Island on Sunday. Talley enjoyed a strong Husker debut against South Dakota, coming off the bench with 10 points, nine rebounds and five assists and had seven points and four rebounds at USC.
Talley's adjustment may have been helped by the Division I experience he had when playing at Binghamton (N.Y.) University in 2009-10. That season, he was the America East Rookie of the Year and averaged 11.8 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Last year, he was an honorable-mention All-American at Blinn College, ranking sixth in the NJCAA in scoring at 23.0 points per game while also chipping in 5.9 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.
Richardson Shows Improved Shooting Touch
For senior Brandon Richardson, one of his primary focuses in the offseason was to improve his shooting touch and the senior's hard work is paying dividends early in the season.
He comes into Wednesday's game averaging 9.0 points per game on 50 percent shooting. More impressively, is his 7-of-11 from 3-point range after shooting 25 percent from beyond the arc as a junior. The 6-foot senior came up big in his return home to Los Angeles, totaling 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point range in the Huskers' overtime win. He matched his career best with four 3-pointers and dished out a pair of assists, including the game-tying basket in double overtime.
Against Rhode Island, Richarsdon keyed a Husker defense which held Jamal Wilson to 14 points after averaging 31 points in the Rams first two games and set career highs in both assists (eight) and steals (four) in 25 minutes. Richardson had six assists in the first half, in helping Nebraska build a 20-point lead.
The other strength Richardson has is the ability to convert from the free throw line, as he ranks third in school history with an 82.5 career percentage from the charity stripe and is one of only four players in program history to shoot over 80 percent for a career.
Last year, he was second in Big 12 action in league play, hitting 87.8 of his free throws, including a stretch of 25 consecutive from the line. Throughout his career, he has been his best in late-game situations, going 68-of-73 from the foul line in the final five minutes of games, a remarkable 93.2 percentage.
Working Overtime on the Road
Nebraska's win at USC on Nov. 14 was a long time coming, as it was the program's first overtime road win since an 87-82 win at Colorado on Feb. 17, 2001. Prior to the USC win, the Huskers had won just one overtime road game in that span. The win at USC, which featured comebacks in the final minutes of both regulation and overime, was the second time since 1995 that Nebraska won its road opener.
Tough Opening Stretch for Huskers
Nebraska's first five games before its inaugural Big Ten/ACC Challenge will provide a stern test for the Huskers. NU's first five opponents (South Dakota, USC, Rhode Island, Oregon and South Dakota State) all won at least 18 games a year ago while three of the squads reached postseason play. With games against Oregon and USC in its first four games, it is the earliest Nebraska has played two BCS-level foes since the 1999-2000 season.