NU Starts Key Stretch Against Red Raiders
|+| Game Information
Game: Game 21
Game Date: Saturday, Feb. 9, 2008
Game Time: 3:01 p.m. CST
Release Date: Friday, Feb. 8, 2008
Television: ESPN Plus (Fred White, play-by-play; Stacey King, color)
Radio: Husker Sports Network (Kent Pavelka, play-by-play; Matt Davison, color)
Internet: Huskers.com (live radio, stats)
|+| Huskers Return Home for Start of Key Stretch in Conference Play
The Cornhuskers will be playing their second straight Saturday home game televised on ESPN Plus with Fred White calling the action and Stacey King adding color commentary. The game will be seen in
The contest between the Huskers and Red Raiders can be heard live on the radio on the Husker Sports Network, consisting of 30 stations around
NU men's basketball games can typically also be heard on satellite radio. This weekend's
The Huskers, who have already suffered two league losses by a combined six points, hope to use their recent momentum to propel them back into the race for an upper-division finish in the Big 12 standings. Despite holding a 2-5 record in the Big 12,
Senior Aleks Maric has been a major factor in
Maric posted a team-high 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting at
|+| Henry Picks Up Pace
Sophomore guard Sek Henry has always had a solid offensive game according to Coach Doc Sadler, so it is no surprise that it has been on the defensive end where Henry has made his most improvements. Henry has struggled to find a balance between offense and defense, but started to show signs of finding a comfortable middle ground in a road victory against
Henry kept the Huskers afloat in the first half, scoring 12 points in the opening frame on a career-high four 3-pointers. He entered the
Henry, who finished the contest with MU with 14 points, became the fourth Husker with at least four treys in a game this season. He joined Jay-R Strowbridge (4 vs. Presbyterian), Ryan Anderson (4 vs.
The 14 points were one off his season high of 15 against North Carolina Central. It was his sixth career double-figure scoring game, and first career double-figure scoring game in Big 12 Conference play. It was his highest scoring effort in 21 career Big 12 contests. His previous high was nine in his first career league game last year.
After the strong mid-week contest, Henry followed with 11 points and five rebounds against
It is the first time in his career that Henry has scored double-figures in three straight games. He had scored double figures in back-to-back games only once before his current stretch, against
|+| Balham Coming Up Big
Sophomore forward Chris Balham has been a solid backup for the Huskers this season, especially since the start of conference play. The 6-8, 225-pounder has provided quality minutes in place of and beside all-conference center Aleks Maric over the past six games.
During league play, Balham has averaged 11.4 minutes per game while hitting 5-of-9 shots from the floor and 5-of-8 at the free throw line. He is averaging 2.1 points and 2.7 rebounds per game in Big 12 action. Balham is third on the team in offensive rebounds in league action.
Balham was 2-for-2 from the floor with an offensive board in NU's win at
On the season, Balham has made the most of his time in the lineup, averaging 2.8 points and 1.8 rebounds per game in 8.1 minutes per game. He has hit an impressive 73.1 percent (19-of-26) from the floor and 68.2 percent (15-of-22) from the charity stripe.
|+| 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 seven in scoring (Maric, 7th; 15.4 ppg), rebounding (3rd; 9.1 rpg) and field-goal percentage (3rd; 55.6) entering this weekend's action.
Along with his powerful offensive game, Maric has improved defensively as well. He leads the league in blocked shots (1.85 bpg) and is on pace for a career high in steals. He ranks fourth on the squad with 23 steals and needs four more to set a new personal season high.
Maric is the active career leader in the Big 12 for rebounds (861), double-doubles (29) and double-figure rebound games (32). 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. Aleks Maric (2005-pres.) 1,419
|+| 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 11 double-doubles last season and, after posting five this season, now has 29 in his career, a total that ranks 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
Big 12 Career Double-Doubles
Rank Player, School (Years) Double-Doubles
10. Aleks Maric (2005-present) 29
|+| 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) – he now has six career games 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.
No. Player (seasons) Rebounds
1. Venson Hamilton (1996-99) 1,080
2. Aleks Maric (2005-present) 861
3. Leroy Chalk (1969-71) 782
4. Dave Hoppen (1983-86) 773
5. Rich King (1988-91) 761
6. Andre Smith (1978-81) 753
7. Chuck Jura (1970-72) 740
8. Carl McPipe (1976-79) 723
9. John Turek (2002-05) 682
10. Rex Ekwall (1955-57) 679
|+| 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 43 assists against 16 turnovers in the past eight games. In conference play, Miller has had just 15 turnovers in 225 minutes (team-high 32.1 mpg) in league play, including only one turnover in 32 minutes against No. 3 Kansas at home 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 82 assists (4.1 apg) against just 41 turnovers.
NU Freshman Top 10 – Assists
No. Name (Year) Assists
1. Tyronn Lue (1996) 144
2. Jake Muhleisen (2002) 105
3. Jaron Boone (1993) 87
4. Cookie Miller (2008) 82
5. Brian Carr (1984) 78
6. Marcus Walker (2006) 74
7. Cookie Belcher (1997) 68
Eric Piatkowski (1991) 68
9. Charles Richardson Jr. (2004) 66
Erick Strickland (1993) 66
|+| 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 fourth in NU freshman history with a team-leading 40 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. Cookie Miller (2008) 40
5. Joe McCray (2005) 32
Clifford Scales (1988) 32
7. Jake Muhleisen (2002) 28
8. Jaron Boone (1993) 26
9. Ryan Anderson (2007) 25
10. Beau Reid (1988) 24
|+| 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 six road games this season, Miller is tied for the team scoring lead at 11.5 points per game. Center Aleks Maric is the only other double-figure scorer as he has also posted 11.5 points with 11.2 rebounds in five six contests.
Miller has hit 22-of-54 field-goal attempts (40.7 percent) away from the
|+| 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 Friday, Feb. 8, Miller ranked sixth in the Big 12 Conference in assist:turnover ratio (2.00-to-1), fifth in assists per game (4.10) and fifth in steals per game (2.00). He is the only freshman ranked in the top 10 in steals and assist:turnover ratio, and the only freshman in the top eight in assists.
|+| 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.
Sadler's penchant for a disruptive defense has been widely embraced by the players and fans alike. Through 20 games this season,
Overall this season,
|+| Getting Defensive
The biggest 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 13.4 miscues per game (268 turnovers in 20 games) to rank in the top 65 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 home game, NU forced 20 turnovers against
|+| Getting in Gear
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. NU also turned the trick against
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 861 career boards after picking up at least 13 boards in each of his last three games, also moved into the career top 10 for scoring at
Entering the season, Maric already ranked in the NU career top 10 for blocked shots, and currently he sits in seventh place with 125 after passing former teammate Wes Wilkinson (112).
Maric is already in the Nebraska top five for free throws made (390, third) and attempted (598, second), and will reach the top 10 for field goals and games started this season.
|+| 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 39.5-percent clip from beyond the arc this season, knocking down 17-of-43 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 43.3 percent (42-of-97).
With 97 attempts in his career, Strowbridge now qualifies for the
Rank Player (seasons) 3FG 3PA Pct.
1. Jay-R Strowbridge (2007-pres.) 41 95 .4329
2. Brian Conklin (2001-04) 176 407 .4324
4. Ryan Anderson (2007-pres.) 79 192 .412
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. Ray Richardson (1989-90) 105 278 .378
10. Paul Velander (2006-pres.) 49 131 .374
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,
|+| Meet the
Texas Tech has a 'new' coach on the sideline as Pat Knight took over for his father, Bob, on Monday, but the Red Raiders should take little notice and show few changes. Pat Knight saw his Tech squad fall Wednesday in his first contest as head coach, dropping an 80-74 contest at Baylor. TTU is 1-7 away from
The Red Raiders have a familiar face on the court in senior Martin Zeno, who is averaging a team-best 16.0 points per game while shooting 47.2 percent from the floor. Zeno can penetrate to the basket and has more than double any other teammate's free throw attempts as he has hit 116-of-153 from the charity stripe this season.
Along with Zeno, guards John Roberson (12.5 ppg) and Alan Voskuil (12.0 ppg) have averaged double figures this season. Roberson leads the team with 71 assists while Voskuil is the Red Raiders' top 3-point threat by hitting 42 of the teams' 103 treys this season. Roberson is second with 37 3-pointers while no other Red Raider has more than nine. Voskuil also leads the team with 34 steals and ties Roberson for the squad lead at the charity stripe by hitting 80.3 percent.
As a team, the Red Raiders have averaged 69.5 points per game while shooting 46.6 percent. TTU has hit a solid 39 percent from 3-point range but is averaging just 4.9 made 3-pointers per game this season, a league low.
|+| 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.
|+| Huskers Fall At
The Nebraska Cornhuskers fell behind by 18 points and cut the deficit to just five late in the second half, but could not overcome a 35-point effort from national player of the year candidate Michael Beasley as the Huskers fell 74-59 to No. 20/24 Kansas State at Bramlage Coliseum on Wednesday night.
Nebraska, which had trailed 51-36 when KSU's Bill Walker laid in a basket at the 17:01 mark, used a 14-4 run to close with five, 55-50, on Sek Henry's 3-pointer at the 11:24 mark of the second half. NU didn't score again for more than three minutes before Henry again pulled the Huskers back within five, 57-52, with a drive into the lane for his 10th point of the game. He was one of four Huskers to record double figures, the third straight game NU had at four double-figure scorers.
Beasley and freshman Bill Walker combined for 10 straight points to put the Wildcats ahead by 15 with 2:47 to play and
NU opened the game with a 4-0 run on an Ade Dagunduro drive to the basket and a Maric putback before
Following a pair of Cookie Miller free throws, the Huskers clamped down on defense and rattled off seven points to pull within one, 14-13, at the 11:50 mark on Henry's 3-pointer. KSU responded with an 11-2 run with three 3-pointers, including two by freshman guard Jacob Pullen. After pulling ahead,
Beasley scored 11 of the team's 13 points over the final six minutes of the half, finishing the period with 23 points. The fourth-leading scorer in the nation and the top rebounder in the country, Beasley's total was more than the rest of his team combined and nearly matched the Huskers, as KSU led 45-30 at the break. The 45 points were two off the opponent season high for a period, as Creighton had 47 points in the opening frame in
Postgame notes vs.
• Senior center Aleks Maric posted his third straight double-double and fifth of the year with 16 points and 15 rebounds. The 15 boards were his conference high. He has had at least 13 rebounds in each of the past three games.
•Freshman guard Cookie Miller posted his third double-figure scoring game of the year with 14 points. All three of his double-figure games have come on the road (also at Creighton and at
•Miller posted eight assists, his second-highest total of the season and his highest in conference play. With the eight assists, he now has 82 on the year, passing Brian Carr for fourth on the NU freshman list. Carr is the NU career leader with 682 assists.
•Miller also added two steals, his fourth straight game with at least two steals. He now has a team-high 40 steals on the season, becoming just the fourth freshman in NU history with at least 40 steals.
•Ade Dagunduro had his best scoring night in conference play, posting 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting while adding five rebounds.
•Sek Henry added 10 points off the bench, his third straight double-figure scoring game (all off the bench). Henry had never scored double figures in Big 12 Conference action before the current three-game surge.
|+| Holding at 80
NU had gone 22 games without allowing a team to reach the 80-point plateau until
Much of Nebraska's success this season has come as a result of a pesky defense that ranked 10th nationally in scoring defense entering the week (currently 58.8 ppg) and a field-goal percentage defense that was 19th nationally (currently 39.0 percent).
|+| 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,
|+| 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 24 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; 5:42 and 7:19 vs. Iowa State; 5:25 at Kansas State).
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
|+| 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
|+| 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 Feb. 4, the Huskers ranked 10th in scoring defense and 19th 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.
Sadler has said the main reason for redshirting the newcomers was to build the overall program, giving Nebraska a chance to compete for a high finish in the league once players have consistently been in the program for four and/or five years. If they were to play this year, Sadler has said its is likely two of the newcomers would be in NU's top seven rotation.
Also redshirting this season is true freshman walk-on Mike Diacos, a native of
|+| Aussie Honors
After a solid junior campaign that saw him average 18.5 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, center Aleks Maric was 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 was 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 15.4 points per game while Singletary has gained 18.1 points per contest for the Virginia Cavaliers. Lofton, a first-team preseason All-American, is averaging 14.5 points per contests for the Volunteers.
|+| 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
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 started the first 16 games this season before coming off the bench at
Overall, Sadler has played a total of six players this season who had never worn a
|+| 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 30 victories as