Huskers Start Tough Road Stretch at No. 2 Kansas
|+| Game Information
Game: Game 17
Game Date: Saturday, Jan. 26, 2008
Game Time: 12:47 p.m. CST
Release Date: Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008
Television: ESPN Plus (Fred White, play-by-play; Reid Gettys, color)
Radio: Husker Sports Network (Kent Pavelka, play-by-play; Matt Davison, color)
Internet: Huskers.com (live radio, stats)
Venue: Allen Fieldhouse (16,300)
After playing two of its first three league contests at home, the
The Huskers and Jayhawks will tip off at 12:47 p.m. this weekend in a contest that will be seen on ESPN Plus (Channel 8 KLKN in
Other stations around the country scheduled to carry the game as part of the Big 12 package include: YES Network in New York City; KTXA in Dallas-Ft. Worth; KNWS in Houston; Altitude in Denver; WRBU in St. Louis; KMCI in Kansas City; KOCB in Oklahoma City; KNVA in Austin; KWBF in Little Rock; KJRH in Tulsa; KSAS in Wichita; WOI in Des Moines; KWBM in Springfield, Mo.; WDKA in Paducah, Ky.; KFXA in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; KWTX in Waco, Texas; KFDF in Ft. Smith, Ark.; KFXK in Tyler, Texas; KQEG in LaCrosse, Wis.; KSNT in Topeka; KMIZ in Columbia, Mo.; KFJX in Joplin, Mo.; KJTV in Lubbock, Texas; KXLT in Rochester, Minn.; KIDZ in Abilene, Texas; and Spencer Utilities and Cable One in Sioux City, Iowa.
The contest between
NU men's basketball games can typically also be heard on satellite radio. This weekend, however, only the Jayhawks' broadcast will be heard Saturday on Sirius Satellite Radio on channel 114.
Despite being the only Big 12 team without a win, the Huskers have continued to play hard and are still making strides in second-year coach Doc Sadler's system.
While the defense has been strong all year, Sadler has been looking for ways to get the offense jump-started in conference play. Last weekend, the Huskers received a boost with the play of junior college transfer Steve Harley, who posted a career-high 15 points against the Bears.
Miller has been at his best away from
|+| Holding at 80
Much of Nebraska's success this season has come as a result of a pesky defense that ranked fourth nationally in scoring defense entering the week (56.3 ppg) and a field-goal percentage defense that was sixth nationally (36.9 percent).
The Huskers' mark of 22 straight games without allowing a team to score 80 points is the second-longest active streak in the Big 12.
Last year, the Jayhawks recorded the second-largest margin of victory over the Huskers in history with a 92-39 win at Allen Fieldhouse. That was the last time NU has allowed a team to score 80 or more points. This season, only four teams in the first 16 contests have scored at least 70 points on the Huskers, including an opponent season-high 79 by
|+| Undefeated Foes
The Huskers will have their hands full when they face
This weekend's contest will mark the fourth time in the Big 12 era and second meeting this year that
The last time NU faced an undefeated conference squad on the road, the Huskers also traveled to
|+| Leader of the Pack
Preseason all-conference center Aleks Maric is the unquestioned leader of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and is one of the top centers in the nation. The senior from
More honors await in 2008 as he has again been one of the top players in the Big 12 Conference. Maric and freshman Michael Beasley of Kansas State are the only players in the Big 12 Conference ranked among the league's top six in scoring (Maric, 6th; 16.6 ppg), rebounding (4th; 8.2 rpg) and field-goal percentage (3rd; 57.7) entering this weekend's action.
Along with his powerful offensive game, Maric has improved defensively as well. He leads the league in blocked shots (2.0 bpg) and is on pace for a career high in steals. He ranks second on the squad with 19 steals and needs eight more to set a new personal season high.
Maric is the active career leader in the Big 12 for rebounds (811), double-doubles (25) and double-figure rebound games (29). No other active player in the league has even 20 double-doubles or double-figure rebounding games. He ranks second all-time at
No. Name (Years) Career Points
1. Dave Hoppen (1983-86) 2,167
2. Eric Piatkowski (1991-94) 1,934
3. Jerry Fort (1973-76) 1,882
4. Andre Smith (1978-81) 1,717
5. Jaron Boone (1993-96) 1,609
6. Erick Strickland (1993-96) 1,586
7. Tyronn Lue (1996-98) 1,577
8. Cookie Belcher (1997-2001) 1,552
9. Rich King (1988-91) 1,475
10. Venson Hamilton (1996-99) 1,416
11. Aleks Maric (2005-pres.) 1,376
|+| Chairman of the Boards
Senior center Aleks Maric is the top returning rebounder in the Big 12 Conference after posting 8.7 rebounds per contest last season, including 9.4 boards per game against league foes. The active career leader in the Big 12 Conference, Maric set his career high with 19 rebounds against
With 252 rebounds last season, Maric moved into ninth place on the Husker rebounds chart. This season, Maric has already had a game with 16 rebounds (against Alabama A&M) his fifth career game with at least 15 rebounds and with eight rebounds against Maryland Eastern Shore, he took over sole possession of second place on the Husker career chart.
|+| Doubling Down Low
Center Aleks Maric established himself as a dual threat in the post from his first career game when he recorded 12 points and 14 rebounds in the season opener against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in 2004. Maric went on to record three double-doubles as a freshman and had 10 as a sophomore. Each of the marks in his first two years tied the NU class record.
Maric added 10 double-doubles last season and now has 25 in his career, a total that is tied for second in
Maric added his first double-double of the 2007-08 campaign with a workmanlike 21 points and 16 rebounds against Alabama A&M and posted 17 points and 13 rebounds at
|+| Huskers vs. Ranked Teams
Nebraska has defeated a ranked team for eight straight years since 2000-01, including holding a 1-1 mark against ranked squads in 2007-08 (def. No. 16 Oregon; lost to No. 3 KU). In fact,
The Huskers are 5-6 in their last 11 games against ranked opponents since defeating No. 4 Oklahoma State in
The win against OSU in 2005 was the Huskers' first against a top-five team since the 1994 Big Eight Tournament, when the Huskers knocked off No. 3 Missouri. The last time NU had defeated a top-five team at home was 1993, when the Huskers beat No. 3 Kansas.
Overall, the Huskers own a 52-195 all-time record against ranked teams, including a 19-103 mark against teams ranked in the top 10 and an 11-59 mark against top-five squads. The Huskers are 16-50 against ranked teams in the Big 12 era, including 2-23 against top-10 teams and 1-14 against top-five squads.
|+| Dishing It
Freshman point guard Cookie Miller had a tremendous impact on the outcome of Nebraska's first game back from a three-day break for Christmas, as he posted eight points, 10 assists and five steals in the Huskers' 77-53 win over Alcorn State. Miller just missed his first career double-double while recording a personal high scoring effort in the
Miller's double-figure assists marked the 25th time overall and he became the ninth Husker since 1984-85 to record at least 10 assists in a game. He is the first freshman in that time to record double figure assists, making him the first Husker freshman in the Big 12 era to post at least 10 assists in a game.
Miller is only the second Husker in the past five years to record 10 assists in a game joining Charles Richardson Jr. who had 15 in a road game last year at
Miller nearly made it two straight games with double-figure assists as he had nine assists against Maryland Eastern Shore in the non-conference finale. His 19 assists in two games were the most since
Overall, Miller has had 24 assists against five turnovers in the past four games. In conference play, Miller has had just four turnovers in 97 minutes (team-high 32.3 mpg in league play), including only one turnover in 32 minutes against No. 3 Kansas and one miscue in 34 minutes in his first Big 12 road game against
The list of Huskers with at least 10 assists in a game during the Big 12 era includes:
10 Cookie Miller (
15 Charles Richardson Jr. (at
10 Jake Muhleisen (
10 Cookie Belcher (
Miller's steady hand as a ball-distributor has helped the freshman lead the team with 63 assists (3.9 apg) against just 30 turnovers. He now needs just two assists to move into the NU freshman top 10.
|+| Road Warrior
Diminutive guard Cookie Miller has shown early in his career that he can play with the big boys, especially in hostile environments.
Miller proved how explosive his offensive game can be when he took over for the Huskers in the second half against Creighton in
In his first Big 12 Conference road game against
In three road games this season, Miller is the team's top scorer at 14.3 points per game. Center Aleks Maric is the only other double-figure scorer as he has posted 13.3 points with 10.0 rebounds in three road contests.
Miller has hit 15-of-29 field-goal attempts (51.7 percent) away from the
|+| Stealing the Show
Freshman Cookie Miller has quickly made a name for himself on the defensive end of the floor as he moved onto the
Miller now ranks seventh in NU freshman history with a team-leading 30 steals this season. The
NU Freshman Top 10 Steals
No. Name (Year) Steals
1. Cookie Belcher (1997) 87
2. Tyronn Lue (1996) 50
3. Erick Strickland (1993) 47
4. Joe McCray (2005) 32
Clifford Scales (1988) 32
6. Cookie Miller (2008) 30
7. Jake Muhleisen (2002) 28
8. Jaron Boone (1993) 26
9. Ryan Anderson (2007) 25
10. Beau Reid (1988) 24
|+| Among the Best Rookies
As a newcomer to the league, freshman point guard Cookie Miller will be tested repeatedly during the Big 12 Conference season. If he can continue his success from the non-league play, Miller will likely be in the mix when the media votes on the Big 12 All-Freshman Team.
Through Thursday, Jan. 24, Miller ranked third in the Big 12 Conference in assist:turnover ratio (2:1-to-1), seventh in assists per game (3.94) and eighth in steals per game (1.88). He is the only freshman ranked in the top 10 in steals and assist:turnover ratio, and the only freshman in the top seven in assists.
|+| Getting Defensive
The most recent show-stopper came against North Carolina Central on Dec. 22 when
North Carolina Central finished with 28 points, just two off the Big 12 and building record of 26 points by Bethune-Cookman in 2003. NCCU's nine field goals in the game also tied the Big 12 Conference opponent low.
It was the second straight game at the
Overall, the Huskers have held just five teams to less than 40 points in
The last time
|+| Taking Care of Business
Coach Doc Sadler stresses the importance of ball security and being smart with every pass. The Huskers have done a solid job of listening to Sadler's direction while taking care of the ball this season as they have averaged just 13.2 miscues per game (211 turnovers in 16 games) to rank in the top 50 nationally entering the week.
In league action, NU posted just 12 turnovers against the strong defensive pressure of the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks and had nine turnovers on the road against
NU's season high for turnovers came on the road against
|+| Under Pressure
In the Huskers' last contest, NU forced 21 turnovers against Baylor, the most against a conference opponent since forcing 26 against Texas Tech in 1999.
|+| Piling Up the Points
The Huskers had one of their most productive offensive games against
The five-game streak scoring at least 70 points was the second-longest under second-year head coach Doc Sadler. Last year, NU had a seven-game streak, all in non-conference action.
|+| Single Digits Rarity?
In what is typically an uncommon sight, the Huskers held
While it may not be common, it was the second time this year and the second time in three home games the Huskers held every player on the opposing team to nine or fewer points.
Against North Carolina Central, the Huskers nearly made it three games without allowing a double-figure scorer as NCCU posted just 28 points in the contest, the second-fewest points NU has allowed since 1947. But Bryan Ayala's last basket gave him 11 points on the night to lead the Eagles. Only three other players scored for NCCU, one with seven points, one with six and one with four.
|+| Maric Chart Watch
With eight rebounds against Maryland Eastern Shore, senior center Aleks Maric improved his career total to 789 boards to rank second all-time on the
Maric, who currently has 811 career boards after picking up nine against Baylor, is also on pace to soon move into the career top 10 for scoring at Nebraska. Entering Saturday's game against
Entering the season, Maric already ranked in the NU career top 10 for blocked shots, and currently he sits in seventh place with 120 after passing former teammate Wes Wilkinson (112).
Maric is already in the Nebraska top five for free throws made (383, third) and attempted (588, third), and will reach the top 10 for field goals and games started this season.
|+| Hot Shooting Huskers
After a strong start to the season, it's obvious why Coach Doc Sadler was optimistic about his team's shooting ability. The Huskers have hit 47.3 percent overall from the floor this season to rank fourth in the Big 12 Conference.
Center Aleks Maric has been at the front of the offensive charge during his years at
In his career, Maric has hit 52.8 percent (495-of-938) from the field.
|+| Meet the
The Kansas Jayhawks moved up to No. 2 in the national polls this week and kept pace with Memphis as the only undefeated teams in the country as KU won an 83-59 contest against Iowa State on Wednesday in Lawrence. All five starters scored in double figures, led by forward Darnell Jackson's 21-point, 11-rebound effort.
Rush and Arthur were both preseason all-conference picks and were named to the Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy watch lists along with Nebraska center Aleks Maric.
KU is among the national leaders by averaging 83.3 points per game while hitting an impressive 51.5 percent from the floor. The Jayhawks have also hit 38.9 percent from 3-point range and own a +7.0 rebounding advantage (39.0 to 32.0) while leading the nation in scoring margin (+24.3).
|+| Huskers Find Success in Classroom as Well as On Court
After opening a new season with the beginning of Big 12 Conference action, the Nebraska men’s basketball team also started a new season’ in the classroom when second semester classes began at UNL on Monday, Jan. 14. The Huskers hope to be as successful as last semester in both areas.
As a team,
“I think this says a lot about the players as individuals and competitors,” said
Junior guard Paul Velander, a secondary education/natural science major, has helped pace the Huskers’ strong academic efforts. Last spring, Velander was the 24th Husker named to the all-academic squad since the formation of the Big 12 Conference, a total that ranks second in the league.
Sadler has had a tradition of helping players find success in the classroom. As head coach at UTEP, Sadler saw 10 Miners earn at least a 3.0 grade-point average during the first semester in 2005-06, his final year at the school. As head coach at Arkansas-Fort Smith, Sadler had a 95-percent graduation rate during his five-year tenure.
|+| Strong Streaks
The Huskers' six straight wins to end the non-conference slate is the second-longest win streak by a
Following an 86-50 win over Maryland Eastern Shore, Nebraska's 11-2 record heading into conference play was also its best mark to open a season in the Big 12 era. The previous best occurred in 2003-04 when NU began the season with a 10-2 mark through 12 games, but failed to record a win in its 13th contest.
The Huskers also had a 12-game home-court winning streak that came to an end with the first conference game against No. 3 Kansas.
|+| Non-Conference Success
The Huskers posted 11 victories in regular-season non-conference play, equalling the program's best mark in the Big 12 era. Nebraska also recorded 11 non-conference victories before league play last year, the first season under Coach Doc Sadler.
Before last year,
|+| Going 80
Overall, NU had six 80-point games last year. The Huskers are now 10-0 when scoring at least 80 points under second-year coach Doc Sadler.
Eight of the 10 highest scoring games under Sadler have come at the
|+| Scoring Droughts
Among its best defensive starts to a game,
That strong start is becoming a similar trend as the Huskers also ran out to a 26-2 lead to start the contest with
Holding opponents to long stretches between field goals is nothing new to Husker fans. Nebraska has held an opponent without a field goal for at least five minutes 21 times this year (5:38 vs. Presbyterian; 5:05 and 5:28 vs. Alabama A&M; 5:28 vs. Alabama A&M; 7:59 vs. Norfolk State; 12:48 and 6:51 vs. Arizona State; 5:02 and 5:33 vs. Rutgers; 6:07, 7:46 and 5:05 vs. Savannah State; 5:00, 10:07, 10:05 and 6:58 vs. North Carolina Central; 5:04 and 5:24 vs. Alcorn State; 5:09 and 6:05 vs. Maryland Eastern Shore; 5:48 vs. Baylor).
In what was expected to be its toughest non-conference matchup of season at the Devaney Center, Nebraska put on a defensive clinic against
The performance against ASU (12:48 between field goals) was the second-longest opponent scoring drought in the coach Doc Sadler era. Last year, the Huskers recorded 20 stretches of at least 5:00 off the clock without allowing a field goal, including a season-high 14:28 for
|+| Shutting It Down
Over consecutive games, the Huskers held Alabama A&M to just 27.6 percent shooting from the floor while allowing
NU also held
|+| Slowing the Scoring
Through the NCAA reporting period on Jan. 22, the Huskers ranked fourth in scoring defense and sixth nationally in field-goal percentage defense.
The most high-profile team
|+| Redshirt Decisions Made
Coach Doc Sadler announced on Saturday, Nov. 17, that two newcomers had made the decision to redshirt this season to better acclimate to Division I play. Sadler said that sophomore transfer Alex Chapman and freshman Brandon Richardson will redshirt this season.
After taking a while longer to decide, Sadler said on Dec. 2 that freshmen Alonzo Edwards and Toney McCray, who have dressed for every game this season, also decided to redshirt, giving NU a solid core for the future.
Also redshirting this season is true freshman walk-on Mike Diacos, a native of
|+| Huskers Pick Up Hardware
A pair of Huskers were honored by the Big 12 Conference on Monday, Dec. 17, as senior center Aleks Maric was named the league’s player of the week and junior guard Ade Dagunduro was selected as the rookie of the week. The honors marked the first time in school history
Maric picked up his second career nod as player of the week and his third overall honor. He was also selected player of the week on Nov. 20, 2006 and was the league’s rookie of the week on Feb. 28, 2005. He is one of only three Huskers to earn the Big 12 Player-of-the-Week accolade, and he became the third Husker to earn the honor twice. Venson Hamilton also picked up the award twice in his senior season in 1999 (in back-to-back weeks) while Tyronn Lue added two awards as a junior, his last season at Nebraska before making an early entry into the NBA Draft.
Maric is the first Husker ever to be named the conference’s player and rookie of the week in his career, and tied Kimani Ffriend for the most individual weekly honors by a Husker with three. Ffriend was the rookie of the three times as a junior in 1999.
Dagunduro is the seventh Husker to earn the newcomer-of-the-week honor and first since Marcus Walker was selected in December, 2005. Only two Husker newcomers have earned multiple awards, with Joe McCray being selected twice in 2004-05 and Ffriend.
Maric and Dagunduro earned the honors after helping the Huskers to pound
The duo then helped
Maric averaged a team-high 16.5 points to go along with 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game for the week. His top effort came against the Ducks, as he posted his third 20-point game of the season with a team-best 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Maric recorded 17 points after halftime. He shot 63.2 percent (12-of-19) on the week, plus 75.0 percent (9-of-12) from the free throw line.
Dagunduro registered 12.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game in the two victories. The junior had 15 points and seven rebounds versus
In addition to Maric and Dagunduro’s individual awards, the
Voters in the Associated Press poll also took notice, as
Prior to Sadler's first season with Nebraska in 2006-07, the last time NU received votes in the AP poll was Jan. 16, 2006, when Nebraska was 32nd with 18 points after defeating then-No. 12
|+| Huskers Continue Strong Non-Conference Run
The Huskers have won 24 straight non-conference, regular-season games as the home team dating to a 73-72 loss to UAB in the 2005-06 campaign (including the
|+| Under Pressure
Since his introductory press conference, Coach Doc Sadler has said that he wants to get to the point where his team can pressure the opponent for 94 feet. With an upgrade in athleticism, speed and talent, that philosophy has already come into play more often this year.
If the non-conference season is any indication, Sadler's penchant for a disruptive defense will be widely embraced by the players and fans alike. Through 16 games,
The 14 steals against NCCU made it three consecutive games with double-figure steals. The last time NU had at least 10 steals in three straight games was the last game of 2003-04 (at
Overall this season,
Despite returning eight letterwinners from a year ago, the Huskers knew there would be a completely different look to the squad this season. Among the 19 players on the roster, eight are scholarship newcomers. There are also two walk-ons who redshirted last year in the program and one new invited walk-on.
Two newcomers junior Ade Dagunduro and freshman Cookie Miller have been fixtures in the Huskers' starting lineup this season. Dagunduro has started every game this season while Miller has been in the lineup for the opening tip in all but one contest. Junior college transfer Steve Harley also started three contests for the Huskers, making him the third newcomer to join the starting five.
Overall, Sadler has played a total of six players this season who had never worn a
|+| All-American Aussie?
After a solid junior campaign that saw him average 18.5 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, center Aleks Maric is the top returning scorer and rebounder in the Big 12 Conference and will contend for All-America honors this winter.
A second-team all-league selection following last season, Maric was named an Athlon Sports magazine third-team preseason All-American this fall and was a member of the preseason All-Big 12 team selected by the coaches. If he picks up All-America honors, Maric would become just the ninth Husker ever to earn postseason All-America honors and the first since Carl McPipe in 1978.
In addition to the preseason honors, Maric is among 50 players named to the initial watch lists for two prestigious player-of-the-year honors, the Wooden Award and the Naismith Trophy.
|+| Returning to Form
After averaging better than 18 points and nine rebounds a game as a junior, center Aleks Maric was one of the top returning players in the country entering the 2007-08 campaign.
Between players from BCS conferences, Maric was third among returning scorers from last year, trailing only Chris Lofton of
This season, Maric is averaging a team-best 16.6 points per game while Singletary has gained 18.0 points per contest for the Virginia Cavaliers. Lofton, a first-team preseason All-American, is averaging just 13.4 points per contests for the Volunteers.
Entering last season with only a handful of players with Division I experience meant that some newcomers would have to step up. The first to answer Coach Doc Sadler's call was Ryan Anderson, who despite standing just 6-4, played the majority of the season at the 4 spot and created offensive mismatches against opponents on a nightly basis.
As one of five returning scholarship players, the
In his career,
|+| Strowbridge on the Mark
Sophomore guard Jay-R Strowbridge received great praise from Coach Doc Sadler during the preseason as one of the most improved players on the team. While injury has set him back twice this season, including the week before the start of conference play, Strowbridge has again proven to be one of the Huskers' top 3-point shooters.
After setting a blistering pace as a rookie last season, Strowbridge has hit at a 41.0 percent clip from beyond the arc this season, knocking down 16-of-39 3-point attempts. While it is behind last year's average that ranks third in single-season history and first in the NU freshman record book (47.3 percent, 25-of-54), Strowbridge still owns a career mark of 44.1 percent (41-of-93).
With 93 attempts in his career, Strowbridge now qualifies for the
Rank Player (seasons) 3FG 3PA Pct.
1. Jay-R Strowbridge (2007-pres.) 41 93 .441
2. Brian Conklin (2001-04) 176 407 .432
4. Ryan Anderson (2007-pres.) 73 174 .420
5. Clifford Scales (1988-91) 45 110 .409
6. Henry T. Buchanan (1987-88) 67 165 .406
7. Chris Cresswell (1990-92) 103 261 .395
8. Marcus Perry (2006-07) 98 249 .394
9. Paul Velander (2006-pres.) 48 124 .387
10. Ray Richardson (1989-90) 105 278 .378
|+| One for the Record Book
Already among the best centers all-time at
Entering Saturday's contest with
|+| Newcomers Earn Praise
While they still have a lot to prove on the floor, the newest group of Huskers were welcomed to
Individually, several new Huskers joined the program after all-star caliber careers in junior college and high school. Guard Steve Harley, a transfer from South Plains (
|+| Making History
Coach Doc Sadler is quickly making a name for himself at
This year, Sadler became one of only two coaches in program history to win at least three straight games to open the season in each of his first two years on the Husker bench. He joined E.O. 'Jumbo' Stiehm who opened 1911-12 and 1912-13 with five victories each year.
This is the third consecutive season
Sadler already owns 28 victories as