NU Starts Key Stretch Against Red Raiders

By NU Athletic Communications
Aleks Maric moved into the NU career top 10 for scoring after posting 16 points at Kansas State. He now has 1,419 points in his career.
Aleks Maric moved into the NU career top 10 for scoring after posting 16 points at Kansas State. He now has 1,419 points in his career.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

|+| 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)

Satellite Radio: Nebraska broadcast on Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 119

Venue: Bob Devaney Sports Center (13,595)

 

|+| Huskers Return Home for Start of Key Stretch in Conference Play

Returning to Lincoln for its first two-game home stand in league action, the Nebraksa men's basketball team plays host to Texas Tech on Saturday, Feb. 9. The Huskers, who will play five home games in February including three of the next four contests overall, will tip off against the Red Raiders at 3:01 p.m. at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

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 Lincoln on KLKN Channel 8, in Omaha on KXVO Channel 15 and in North Platte on KIIT. Big 12 package games on ESPN Plus can also be seen regionally, with this weekend's NU contest being carried in more than 30 markets around the country including: 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; TW-WI in Milwaukee; KCWX in San Antonio/Austin; KOCB in Oklahoma City; COX-Northeast in Providence, R.I.; KWBF in Little Rock; KJRH in Tulsa; KSAS in Wichita; KWBM in Springfield, Mo.; WDKA in Paducah, Ky.; KFXA in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; KWTX in Waco, Texas; KBTX in Waco, Texas; KFDF in Ft. Smith, Ark.; KFXK in Tyler, Texas; KSNT in Topeka, Kan.; KMIZ in Columbia, Mo.; KJTV in Lubbock, Texas; KOSA in Odessa, Texas; and Spencer Utilities in Sioux City, Iowa.

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 Nebraska and Iowa that provide coverage of Nebraska athletic events. Veteran play-by-play man Kent Pavelka will call the action while former Husker Andy Markowski adds color commentary. The broadcast will be carried around the world live on the Internet on Huskers.com.

NU men's basketball games can typically also be heard on satellite radio. This weekend's Nebraska broadcast will be heard on Sirius Satellite Radio on channel 119.

Nebraska, which has played just three of its first seven conference games at home, returns to the Devaney Center this weekend, where the Huskers own an 11-2 overall record this season. Nebraska picked up its first home league victory – and second league win overall – last weekend vs. Iowa State, 64-56. NU had dropped its first two home contests to No. 3 Kansas and Baylor, which entered the national top 25 rankings two days after defeating the Huskers in Lincoln.

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, Nebraska is only one game behind sixth-place Oklahoma, which enters the weekend with a 3-4 mark in conference play. NU plays five of its last nine Big 12 games at home, including four of the next six.

For Nebraska to make a move in the standings, the Huskers have to get the offense untracked. NU has averaged just 59.6 points per game in conference play, as the Huskers have reached 70 points just once in the first seven league games. Despite struggling on offense, Nebraska has been in nearly every game in the final five minutes because of a stingy defense that leads the Big 12 in scoring (58.8 ppg) and is third in field-goal percentage defense (39.0).

Senior Aleks Maric has been a major factor in Nebraska's recent improvements in the past three games. The league co-player of the week, Maric has averaged 14.3 points and 13.7 rebounds over the past three contests while hitting 54 percent from the floor. Of his 41 rebounds in that span, 20 have come on the offensive end. Maric leads the league in conference-only games with 4.57 offensive rebounds per game.

Maric posted a team-high 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting at Kansas State on Wednesday. The scoring total did not help the Huskers to a win – NU lost by 15 despite being within five points three times in the last eight minutes – but it pushed Maric onto the Nebraska career top 10 scoring chart. The Sydney, Australia, native now has 1,419 career points, moving into 10th place ahead of Venson Hamilton, who had 1,416 points.

 

|+| 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 Missouri.

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 Missouri contest with just eight 3-pointers in the first 17 games of the season. He has now hit 8-of-16 from beyond the arc in the past five games.

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. Arizona State) and Cookie Miller (4 vs. Colorado).

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 Iowa State and 10 points at Kansas State.

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 Hawaii and Houston in the non-conference slate last year.

 

|+| 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 Missouri. It was the second straight year Nebraska won in Columbia with Balham's help. Last year, Balham came off the bench for two minutes, scoring three points at the free throw line and recording two huge offensive rebounds to help NU to the road win.

At Kansas, he played a career-high 20 minutes, scoring a career-high-tying six points while pulling down a career-best eight rebounds.

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 Sydney, Australia, led Nebraska to 17 wins last season under first-year coach Doc Sadler while earning second-team all-conference honors. This year, Maric has helped NU to a 13-7 record, including a victory over then-No. 16 Oregon.

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 Nebraska in career rebounds and is 10th in scoring, as Maric passed Venson Hamilton (1,416 points) with 16 points at Kansas State.

 

Nebraska Career Scoring Chart

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 Nebraska history. He is currently 10th in double-doubles Big 12 Conference history.

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 Western Kentucky. He then went 11 games without a double-double until posting 13 points and 13 rebounds at Missouri. During his 11-game stretch without a double-double he had nine rebounds and double-figure points five times.

Big 12 Career Double-Doubles

Rank     Player, School (Years)                                       Double-Doubles

1.         Chris Mihm, Texas (1998-00)                              47

2.         Venson Hamilton, Nebraska (1997-99)                 46

3.         Drew Gooden, Kansas (1999-02)             44

4.         Raef LaFrentz, Kansas (1996-98)                        40

5.         Wayne Simien, Kansas (2001-05)                       38

6.         Stephane Pelle, Colorado (1999-03)                     37

            Nick Collison, Kansas (1999-03)                          37

8.         Arthur Johnson, Missouri (2001-04)                      36

9.         Eduardo Najera, Oklahoma (1997-00)                   30

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 Missouri at home last year, bettering his previous mark of 17 at KSU as a sophomore.

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.

 

Nebraska Career Rebound Leaders (since 1952)

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 Devaney Center (eight points; season high is 19 on the road).

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 Rutgers. The Huskers' previous 10-assist game was 2002-03 when Jake Muhleisen had 10 against nationally ranked Minnesota at home.

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 Richardson had 22 (15 vs. Rutgers; 7 vs. Oregon) last year.

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 Colorado.

The list of Huskers with at least 10 assists in a game during the Big 12 era includes:

 

10         Cookie Miller (Alcorn State)        2007-08

15         Charles Richardson Jr. (at Rutgers)         2006-07

10         Jake Muhleisen (Minnesota)        2002-03

10         Cookie Belcher (Pittsburgh)        1999-2000

 

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 Nebraska freshman top-10 steals list with five thefts against Alcorn State on Dec. 29. He had at least one steal in each of his first 14 career games until seeing the streak snapped against Colorado on the road.

Miller now ranks fourth in NU freshman history with a team-leading 40 steals this season. The Nebraska freshman and career records are also owned by a Husker named Cookie, as Cookie Belcher had 87 steals as a freshman in 1997 and finished with 353 steals in his career.

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 Omaha. Miller, who had recorded 11 points in his first three games combined, posted a game-high 19 points against the Blue Jays. After scoring eight in the first half, Miller came out on fire in the second period when he scored another 11 points to help NU outscore Creighton 42-27 after the intermission in a come-from-behind attempt that fell short. Miller hit 7-of-13 attempts from the floor against the Blue Jays.

In his first Big 12 Conference road game against Colorado, Miller again stepped up to pace the offense as he posted a game-high 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting while hitting four 3-pointers. Miller's third double-figure scoring game also came on the road as he had 14 points to go with eight assists at Kansas State.

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 Devaney Center, including nailing six shots from beyond the arc. At home, Miller has averaged 4.1 points per game on 36.1 percent shooting (22-of-61) including connecting on just 4-of-25 3-point attempts (16.0 percent) at home. Miller owns 60 assists against 21 turnovers at home, while posting just 22 assists against 20 miscues on opponents' courts.

 

|+| 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, Nebraska has forced 339 turnovers while recording 177 steals. Twelve Huskers have posted at least one steal in a game this year, including five players averaging at least one steal per game.

Nebraska posted a season-high-tying 14 steals against North Carolina Central, equaling the mark set against Alabama A&M. The 14 steals are the second-most by a Husker squad under Sadler, trailing only the 15 against North Texas last year. The 14 steals against NCCU made it three consecutive games with double-figure steals.

 Nebraska also had at least 10 steals in four straight games against Baylor, at Kansas, at Missouri and against Iowa State. It was the first time since 1999 the Huskres had double-figure steals in four straight games.

Overall this season, Nebraska has posted double-figure steals eight times. The Huskers have had at least nine steals in 12 games this year after posting at least nine steals in just four games in 2006-07.

 

|+| Getting Defensive

Nebraska has shown the ability to put on a strong defensive performance at times this season.

The biggest show-stopper came against North Carolina Central on Dec. 22 when Nebraska set the then-Big 12 Conference record by allowing just eight points in a half (first). NCCU posted only two 3-point field goals – also tying the then-NCAA and Big 12 record low for field goals in a half – and two free throws before intermission. The Big 12 and NCAA records held for only a couple weeks as Kansas State limited Savannah State to four second-half points and one field goal in the period on Jan. 7 to set the new NCAA records.

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 Devaney Center that Nebraska completely dominated the defensive end. Against Savannah State on Dec. 11, the Huskers allowed just 37 points while holding SSU to just 26.4 percent shooting from the field. The Tigers had just 12 points at the half, tying the previous Big 12 record low for a period, as Nebraska allowed just 20 total points in the first period of the two consecutive games at the Devaney Center.

 

|+| 40-pointers

Nebraska's impressive defensive performances against Savannah State and North Carolina Central marked the first time in the 31-year history of the Devaney Center that NU held consecutive opponents in the building to less than 40 points. NCCU's 28 points was the second-lowest total in building history and the second-fewest points allowed in a game by Nebraska since 1947. SSU's 37 points were the sixth-lowest in building history.

Overall, the Huskers have held just five teams to less than 40 points in Devaney Center history, including two this season.

The last time Nebraska held consecutive teams to less than 40 points at home was the first two games of the 1949-50 campaign. That season marked the last time Nebraska won a league title, as it tied for first place in the Big Seven Conference that year. 

 

|+| 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.

Nebraska had a season-low seven turnovers against then-No. 16 Oregon, including going the final 9:27 of regulation and all of overtime without a turnover. The Huskers also posted just seven turnovers in the non-conference finale against Maryland Eastern Shore.

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 Colorado. Through seven Big 12 games, NU is averaging just 13.0 turnovers per game in conference action.

NU's season high for turnovers came on the road against Western Kentucky when the Huskers had 23 miscues. Nebraska also had 21 turnovers in its road opener at Creighton, including 17 in the first half.

 

|+| Under Pressure

Nebraska's defensive pressure has forced teams into an average of 17.0 turnovers per game (339 through 20 games) this season. NU has forced at least 20 turnovers in a contest six times this season, including a season-high 26 against North Carolina Central.

In the Huskers' last home game, NU forced 20 turnovers against Iowa State. It was the second straight conference home game that NU forced at least 20 turnovers, as Baylor had 21 on Jan. 19, the most by a conference opponent since NU forced 26 against Texas Tech in 1999.

 

|+| Getting in Gear

Nebraska struggled at times early in the season to get the offense in full gear, but cranked it up a notch over the last five games of the non-conference season. During that span, the Huskers averaged 80.8 points per game on 52.0 percent shooting in five straight victories.

The Huskers had one of their most productive offensive games against Savannah State despite playing 14 players (everyone on the roster except five redshirts). All but two players scored in the contest with three earning career highs and one gaining a season high. Eleven Huskers scored at least five points apiece with junior forward Shang Ping leading the way with a game-high 11 points.

Nebraska started the game on a 26-2 run and hit 60.0 percent from the floor in the opening half before finishing the game hitting half of its attempts (27-of-54). The 82 points were just one off the then-season high and tied for the third-highest scoring game in the coach Doc Sadler era.

Nebraska came back to add 88 points in an overtime win over then-No. 16 Oregon and posted 71 points in a 43-point victory against North Carolina Central. Nebraska topped the 70-point mark for the fourth straight game with 77 points against Alcorn State and rounded out the non-conference slate with 86 points against Maryland Eastern Shore.

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 Savannah State without a double-figure scorer on Dec. 11. Only two players scored more than five points on the night with Anthony Jones leading the way with eight points.

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 Arizona State on Dec. 2, when three players each scored eight points to lead the team in a 62-47 loss to Nebraska.

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 Nebraska career rebounding chart. The Sydney, Australia, native took sole possession of the runner-up spot, passing Leroy Chalk who had 782 in his career. Maric will trail only Nebraska record-holder Venson Hamilton, who posted an amazing 1,080 rebounds in his career.

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 Nebraska. Entering Wednesday's game at Kansas State, Maric had 1,403 career points to rank 11th all-time in Husker history. Maric scored 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting to move into the Nebraska career top 10, passing 1999 Big 12 Player of the Year Venson Hamilton who had 1,415 career points.

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 Nebraska career record where he moved into first place all-time just ahead of Brian Conklin, who knocked down 43.2 percent (176-of-407) in his career. Strowbridge's career mark is also ahead of NU's career 3-point leader Cary Cochran, who hit 268-of-630 attempts from long range.

 

Nebraska Career 3-point Pct. (min. 90 attempts)

Rank     Player (seasons)                                    3FG      3PA      Pct.

1.         Jay-R Strowbridge (2007-pres.)                41         95         .4329

2.         Brian Conklin (2001-04)                          176       407       .4324

3.         Cary Cochran (1999-2002)                      268       630       .425

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

 

  |+| Anderson Builds Solid Resume

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 Seattle native is continuing to build a strong resume as one of the Huskers' top all-around players. A starter in every game this year, Anderson has averaged 8.8 points per game this year to rank third on the squad. Anderson owns the team lead with 31 3-pointers and has been on the floor more than anyone, averaging a team-high 27.9 minutes per contest.

Anderson posted his most complete game against then-No. 16 Oregon, when he poured in 21 points on 5-of-9 shooting and added nine rebounds and four steals as the Huskers knocked off the nationally ranked Ducks. Two weeks earlier, Anderson knocked down four 3-pointers on his way to 14 points with seven rebounds and two steals against Arizona State, helping the Huskers go 2-0 against the Pac-10 this season.

Anderson has been forced to become one of Nebraska's best rebounders, and has done a terrific job despite standing just 6-4. He has averaged 5.7 boards per game to rank second on the squad and 15th overall in the Big 12 conference. He posted his first career double-double – and third career double-figure rebounding game – with 11 points and 10 rebounds in a road win against Missouri this season.

Anderson put up some of his best games against the top competition last year as he averaged a team-best 15.8 points over four games in 2006-07 against ranked teams while hitting 55.0 percent from the floor.

In his career, Anderson has faced eight ranked teams and averaged 12.8 points per contest (102 total points).

 Last year, Anderson was second on the team with 10.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, while ranking among the top 10 freshmen all-time at Nebraska in points scored, field goals, rebounds, 3-pointers and steals.

Anderson was second on the squad with 48 3-pointers in 2006-07, the second-highest total by a freshman in Nebraska history. He tied the NU single-game 3-point percentage record with a 5-for-5 effort from beyond the arc at Rutgers and equalled NU freshman record with seven treys against Hawaii.

 

|+| Meet the Texas Tech Red Raiders

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 Lubbock this season, including 0-4 in conference play away from home.

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, Nebraska posted an 11-2 record on the court and was nearly as impressive off it. During the first semester in the classroom, the Huskers combined for a 3.016 team grade-point average. Seventeen players earned at least a 2.5 individual GPA, including 11 Huskers with better than a 3.0. Among the newcomers, six earned at least a 3.0 in their first full semester at Nebraska.

“I think this says a lot about the players as individuals and competitors,” said Nebraska head coach Doc Sadler. “To build this program, we’ve talked about how we need players who not only have talent, but who also have character. I think the effort that they’ve given to produce this kind of success in the classroom shows the type of character we have on this team.”

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 Kansas State

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 Nebraska never seriously threatened again. Beasley finished with 35 points on an impressive 15-of-21 shooting form the floor and the national leader in rebounding added 13 boards. Beasley's 30-point performance was the first 30-point game against Nebraska since Jarrius Jackson scored 41 against NU in Lincoln in 2006.

Walker had 17 points and nine boards for the Wildcats while the Huskers were led by 16 points and 15 rebounds from Aleks Maric, who moved into 10th place on the Nebraska career scoring chart. He now has 1,419 career points.

NU opened the game with a 4-0 run on an Ade Dagunduro drive to the basket and a Maric putback before Kansas State reeled off 12 straight points, including 10 points in a 1:21 span by Beasley. The leading contender for Big 12 Player of the Year, Beasley showed versatility by hitting jumpers in the paint and a pair of 3-pointers in the run.

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, Kanas State added to its lead, using an 8-0 run to surge ahead 35-21 on a conventional three-point play by Beasley at the 5:41 mark.

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 Omaha. Dagunduro led the Huskers with nine points while Maric had eight points and five rebounds.

Nebraska fell behind by 18 just before half time and trailed by 17 in the second half before battling back behind Maric, Dagunduro and Miller. NU pulled within 10 at 51-41 on Dagunduro's layup in transition. He missed the ensuing free throw as he was fouled, but KSU missed on its next three trips down before Ryan Anderson drilled his first 3-pointer to cut the deficit to seven at 51-44. Nebraska again closed to within five points three times before missed opportunities on the offensive end let the Wildcats slip away with the win.

 

Postgame notes vs. Kansas State

• 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.

Nebraska allowed KSU to hit 6-of-14 from 3-point range in the first half, but forced the Wildcats into an 0-for-10 second half from downtown.

•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 Colorado).

•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

Nebraska has allowed just two teams (three occasions) to top the 80-point plateau in the Coach Doc Sadler era. Only Kansas (84 points) has topped the mark this season while Kansas (92) and Hawaii (81) reached the plateau last year. All three of the contests have been on the road and were Husker losses.

NU had gone 22 games without allowing a team to reach the 80-point plateau until Kansas scored 84 points against the Huskers in Lawrence.

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

Nebraska has seen several impressive streaks come and go this season.

The Huskers' six straight wins to end the non-conference slate is the second-longest win streak by a Nebraska squad during the Big 12 era, matching the mark set by the 1996-97 and 2001-02 Nebraska squads. Only the 1997-98 squad has recorded seven straight wins, putting together six to end the regular season and one in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament.

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, Nebraska had recorded double-figure wins in non-conference play just twice since the league was formed in the 1996-97 season. The last time NU had more than 11 wins in the regular season against non-league teams was the final year of the Big Eight Conference in 1995-96, when Nebraska posted 12 victories including seven in early season tournaments.

 

 

|+| Scoring Droughts

Nebraska has dominated games this season by holding opponents to lengthy scoring droughts.

Among its best defensive starts to a game, Nebraska held North Carolina Central without a point for the first 5:00 of the game and allowed only one field goal in the opening 15:07 of the contest. NCCU went 10:07 between its first and second basket of the game as Nebraska ran to a 25-4 lead to open the 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 Savannah State. NU allowed just six points in the first 18:22 of the game as SSU went 6:07 without scoring a point to open the contest and then after its first field goal, did not score another point for another 7:46.

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 Arizona State. Nebraska allowed just one basket – and only four points total – over the final 11:26 of the opening period. After a 3-pointer at the 8:36 mark, ASU had just four more shots in the half and missed all of them while committing eight turnovers in the stretch. The Sun Devils then recorded one basket in the first 11:03 of the second period. That made it 12:48 between baskets (8:36 in first half to 15:48 in second half) and a stretch of 19:39 with only one made field goal and 14 total points (one 3-pointer and 11 free throws).

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 Houston between baskets in the second half.

 

|+| Going 80

Nebraska topped the 80-point plateau in consecutive games against Oregon and Savannah State, and four times total this season. Nebraska reached at least 80 points in back-to-back contests only one time last year, when NU posted three straight games over 80 points to end the non-conference season.

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 Devaney Center. The only times Nebraska has topped the 80-point plateau away from Lincoln was in an 82-67 victory over Miami on a neutral court last year and the 88-79 overtime win over then-No. 16 Oregon in Lincoln this year, which is Nebraska's highest-scoring game under Sadler.

 

 |+| Shutting It Down

Nebraska ranks third in the Big 12 Conference as it has held opponents to 39.0 percent shooting from the field through 20 games, including limiting four opponents to less than 28 percent. The Huskers set a season-low by allowing North Carolina Central to hit just 19.6 percent from the field, a Devaney Center opponent record.

Over consecutive games, the Huskers held Alabama A&M to just 27.6 percent shooting from the floor while allowing Norfolk State to connect on only 26.8 percent of its shots. The last time Nebraska held back-to-back opponents to less than 28 percent shooting was in 2003 when Tennessee hit 27.9 percent followed by Bethune-Cookman hitting 21.2 percent, the previous building low until NCCU broke the record. Bethune-Cookman scored just 26 points in that contest, also a building and Big 12 Conference record opponent low.

NU also held Savannah State to just 26.4 percent shooting this season. Nebraska has now held opponents to less than 30 percent shooting 19 times during the Big 12 era.

 

|+| Slowing the Scoring

Nebraska has been solid on defense this season and has allowed a Big 12-low 58.8 points per game on 39.0 percent shooting over 20 contests. NU has held six opponents to 50 or fewer points this year, after holding just two opponents to under 50 points – including a Division II school – all of last season.

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 Nebraska has held under 50 points this season was Arizona State. The Pac-10 opponent recorded just 21 points in the first period and 26 in the second. In fact, NU turned up the defensive pressure enough that the Sun Devils had just 31 points with 6:40 to play in the contest.

Nebraska opened the year on a strong note as it held its first three opponents to 52 or fewer points, the first time it accomplished the feat to open the season since 1946-47. The last time NU held three straight opponents to 52 or fewer points at any point in a season was 1981-82.

 

|+| 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 Ventura, Calif.

 

|+| 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 Tennessee (20.8 ppg) and Sean Singletary of Virginia (19.0 ppg). Maric was also sixth among returning BCS conference players in field-goal percentage and seventh in rebounding average.

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

Nebraska improved its all-time mark under second-year Coach Doc Sadler to 9-1 in the month of November when it defeated IPFW. The Huskers then continued the strong surge into December, where they now own an all-time record of 10-4 under Sadler. Nebraska is just 6-0 at home in the month of December under Sadler as last season the Huskers played 6-of-7 December contests away from Lincoln. 

Overall, Nebraska is 19-0 in home non-conference games under Sadler since he took over the program last season. The Huskers are 4-5 against non-league teams away from Lincoln, including 0-4 in true road games.

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 Oregon game in Omaha). Nebraska is 86-13 in non-league tilts at the Devaney Center since the formation of the Big 12 Conference in 1996-97.

Nebraska is 380-120 in the 32-year history of the Devaney Center, including 26 seasons of at least 10 wins.

 

|+| New Faces Gain Court Time

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 Kansas, while Miller has also been in the lineup for the opening tip in all but one contest. Junior college transfer Steve Harley also started seven contests for the Huskers, including the past four games, 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 Nebraska uniform before. Along with the trio that has earned starts, newcomer Shang Ping, a junior college product, and redshirts Cole Salomon and Andrew Wicklund have all come off the bench for the Huskers. Miller and Dagunduro have played in every contest and Harley has missed just one, with all three averaging better than 20 minutes per game. Salomon and Wicklund are walk-ons who made their first career appearances this season.

 

|+| Making History

Coach Doc Sadler is quickly making a name for himself at Nebraska. Last season, he was the third-winningest first-year coach in program history by helping the Huskers to 17 victories.

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 Nebraska opened with three wins in the first three games. The last time Nebraska won at least three contests to open a campaign in three straight seasons was 1977-78 to 1979-80.

Sadler already owns 30 victories as Nebraska's head coach and is 12th overall in victories at Nebraska (among 26 all-time NU head coaches). A quick look at Nebraska's head coaches and their win totals through their first two years in Lincoln puts Sadler in fifth place all-time.

 

 

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