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Toney McCray and the Huskers take on No. 22 Michigan Wednesday evening.
Courtesy: NU Media Relations
          Release: 02/07/2012
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Huskers Host No. 22 Michigan Wednesday

Game 23: Michigan
Game Date: Feb. 8, 2012
Tipoff Time: 7:36 p.m. (central)
Venue:  Devaney Center
Capacity: 13,595

Nebraska Cornhuskers
2011-12 Record: 11-11 (3-8 Big Ten)
Head coach: Doc Sadler
                Record at Nebraska: 100-82 (6th year)
                Record at Division I: 148-100 (8th year)
                Career Record: 268-139 (14th year)

Michigan Wolverines
2011-12 Record: 17-7 (7-4 Big Ten)
Head Coach: John Beilein
                Record at Michigan.: 84-73 (5th year)
                Career Record: 635-392 (34th year)

Huskers on TV/Radio/Internet

Television: Big Ten Network
(Ch. 610 on DirecTV; Chs. 439, 9500 on DISH; Chs. 24 and 333-SH, 1333-HD on Time Warner Cable; Chs. 80 SD, 1080-HD on Cox Cable)
                Play-by-play: Eric Collins
                Expert Analysis: Shon Morris
Live Video: BTN2Go App and BTN2Go.com
Radio: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network
(including KLIN 1400 AM in Lincoln; KFAB 1110  AM in Omaha; KRVN 880 AM in Lexington)
                Play-by-play: Kent Pavelka
                Expert Analysis: Matt Davison

Internet Radio/Stats: Free on Huskers.com
Satellite Radio: XM 190, Sirius 92

Huskers Host No. 22 Michigan Wednesday
The Nebraska men's basketball team looks to snap a two-game losing streak, as the Huskers play host to No. 22 Michigan Wednesday evening at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

Tipoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. and the game will be televised nationally on the Big Ten Network with Eric Collins and Shon Morris on the call.  The game will also be available on BTN.com and the BTN2Go App on select mobile devices.

The Nebraska-Michigan game will also be carried across Nebraska on the 30-station IMG Husker Sports Radio Network with Kent Pavelka and Matt Davison calling all of the action. The game can also be heard on the Internet at Huskers.com and season audio packages are also available for purchase on the Huskers' App for your iPhone or iPod Touch.

Tickets are available for Wednesday's matchup with the Wolverines for as little as $10 by visiting Huskers.com or calling 800-8-BIGRED. In addition, fans with tickets to Wednesday's game can also use those tickets for general admission seating for Thursday's Husker women's basketball game against the Wolverines.

Wednesday night's game is also Red Cross Night, as Husker student-athletes and volunteers will be collecting donations for the Cornhusker Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Wednesday's game between the Huskers and Wolverines is the first matchup on the basketball court since December 28, 1992, and Michigan's first visit to Lincoln since the Huskers toppled No. 1 Michigan, 74-73, on Dec. 12, 1964.

Nebraska (11-11, 3-8 Big Ten) comes off a disappointing 69-61 loss to Minnesota on Sunday afternoon. The Huskers shot just 30 percent in the second half as the Gophers used a 9-0 run midway through the second stanza to regain the lead for good. Bo Spencer led three Huskers in double figures with 18 points and five assists, while Toney McCray and Brandon Richardson added 15 and 10 points, respectively, in the losing effort.

Michigan (17-7, 7-4 Big Ten) also looks to bounce back following a 64-54 loss to Michigan State on Sunday. In that game, the Wolverines shot just 40 percent, as Zack Novak's 14 points led three Michigan players in double figures.

Husker Tip Off

8 - Sunday's game against Minnesota was the eighth time this season that junior Brandon Ubel has had at least four offensive rebounds in a game.   Ubel, who leads the Big Ten in offensive rebounding at 2.7 per game, has 60 offensive rebounds on the season and only All-Big 12 performer Aleks Maric has had more in Doc Sadler's six seasons at Nebraska.

No.

Off. Reb.

Name

Year

1.

131

Aleks Maric

2007-08

2.

75

Aleks Maric

2006-07

3.

60

Brandon Ubel

2011-12

Last Time Out
 Bo Spencer's 18 led three Huskers in double figures, but a second half scoring drought doomed Nebraska in a 69-61 loss to Minnesota.

The Huskers and Gophers were tied at 39 with 12:27 left after Spencer hit a pair of free throws, but then went scoreless for nearly six minutes, as Minnesota used a 9-0 run to take the lead for good. Maverick Ahanmisi's 3-point play started the run, as the Gophers eventually extended their lead to 48-39 after Andre Hollins' 3-pointer off an offensive rebound.

The Huskers, who missed 14 of their first 16 shots from the field in the second half, were still in striking distance after the slow offensive start, as Toney McCray's 3-pointer cut the lead to 48-42 with 6:39 left. NU was within 52-46 after a Spencer basket, but a Ralph Sampson III jumper and a basket by Ahanmisi pushed the lead back to 56-46 with 4:21 left.

Nebraska trailed 60-50 before a McCray free throw and an offensive putback after his second free throw missed put the Huskers within 60-53, but two baskets by Chip Armelin pushed the lead back to 11 and ended the Huskers' comeback bid. Armelin came off the bench to score a team-high 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting, as Minnesota shot 54 percent, including 67 percent after halftime.

In addition to Spencer's game-high 18 points, Toney McCray finished with 15 points, six rebounds and a career-high three blocked shots, while Brandon Richardson added 10 points and three steals in a losing effort.

Nebraska, which shot 59 percent in the first half, took a 33-32 lead into the half after a wild last 20 seconds of action. After an alley-oop dunk by Walker tied the score at 30, the Gophers regained the lead after Oto Osenieks' dunk, but Nebraska got the ball up the court quickly, and Walker was able to beat the halftime buzzer for a long 3-pointer to give NU a one-point lead.  Walker gave the Huskers a 35-32 lead with a layup on NU's first possession of the second half, finished with seven of his nine points in the 50-second span.

Early on, the teams traded the lead back and forth before the Huskers went on an 8-0 run, as McCray scored five straight points before a Dylan Talley 3-pointer extended Nebraska's lead to 19-11 with 9:53 left in the half.  The Gophers heated up from long range, as 3-pointers by Austin Hollins, Julian Welch and Chip Arnelin capped a 9-0 spurt to put Minnesota up 20-19. The Gophers eventually had their largest lead of the half at 30-26, but two Brandon Ubel free throws and the Walker dunk quickly knotted the score.

Scouting Michigan
Michigan comes into tonight's game with a 17-7 record and are tied for third in the Big Ten with a 7-4 record after falling at Michigan State, 64-54, on Sunday afternoon. In that game, Zack Novak's 14 points led three Wolverines in double figures, but Michigan was held to 39.6 percent shooting and was out-rebounded 40-16 by the Spartans, who avenged an earlier one-point loss in Ann Arbor in January.

John Beilein is in his fifth season at the helm of the Michigan program following stints at West Virginia, Richmond and Canisius. He took Michigan to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 12 years in the 2008-09 season and has the Wolverines ranked No. 22 in Monday's AP poll.

The Wolverines, who reached the third round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament, went 10-2 in non-conference action, including wins over Memphis and UCLA in the Maui Invitational. Michigan opened Big Ten play with a 4-1 record and climbed to as high as 13th in the national polls before falling at Iowa on Jan. 14. Since then, Michigan has alternated wins and losses over its last six contests.

Michigan comes into the game averaging 67 points per game and have six players averaging at least 7.5 points per outing. The Wolverines  are shooting at a 46 percent clip from the floor, including 35 percent from 3-point range.  Tim Hardaway Jr., leads the Michigan attack, as he paces the Wolverines in scoring at 14.7 points per game, while freshmen Trey Burke is second among all Big Ten freshmen in scoring (14.1 ppg) while also dishing out 4.9 assists per game. Zach Novak chips in 9.4 points per game while also shooting a team-high 43 percent from 3-point range. 

Nebraska-Michigan Series History
Tonight's meeting is the ninth between the Huskers and Wolverines, but the first between the two schools since the opening round of the 1993 Rainbow Classic. Michigan leads the all-time series, 6-2, in a series that dates back to 1949, although the Wolverines' win over the Huskers in the 1992 Rainbow Classic was later vacated.  Michigan has been ranked in the national polls in three of the previous eight matchups and is ranked No. 22 in this week's poll.  In the last matchup, Chris Webber had 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Jimmy King had 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting for Michigan, while Eric Piatkowski paced Nebraska with 20 points and seven rebounds.

Nebraska has won both all-time meetings in Lincoln, a 73-60 win in 1956 and 74-73 on Fred Hare's buzzer beater over the No. 1 ranked Wolverines at the NU Coliseum on Dec. 12, 1964. That win is one of three wins over No. 1 ranked teams in Nebraska's history.

Huskers Look to Generate Offense
For the 2011-12 Huskers, the key to success has been at the offensive end. Nebraska enters Wednesday's game with a 10-4 record when scoring at least 60 points, but is just 1-7 when not reaching that threshold.

While Nebraska has averaged 62.2 points per game in Big Ten play, four of its first 11 games were against Wisconsin (1st) and Ohio State (6th), two teams which are among the best in the nation in scoring defense. In Nebraska's three Big Ten wins, the Huskers have scored 70 or more points in all three, but have been held under 65 points in seven of their last  eight losses.

Huskers Battling Health Issues
The Huskers have battled health issues during Big Ten play, as Nebraska was without Dylan Talley (thigh) and Jorge Brian Diaz (feet) for a five-game stretch, including NU's first three conference games, before both returned against Illinois on Jan. 7. The Huskers went 3-4 with Talley and Diaz back in the lineup, as two of the losses being decided on the road (at Illinois and at Wisconsin) in the final 30 seconds. Diaz missed the Minnesota game on Sunday with a recurrence of the injury and is out for an indefinite period of time.

The absence of Diaz on the inside has not only shorted the Huskers' rotation, but also took away a vital part of Nebraska's attack. NU averaged 65 points per game and shooting nearly 45 percent with Diaz in the lineup, while averaging 54.7 points on 38 percent in the six contests Diaz missed with injuries.

In addition to missing Diaz, the Huskers have also been without backup center Andre Almeida, as he has not played this season because of a knee injury suffered in the 2011 Big 12 Tournament.

Games

PPG

FG Pct.

RPG

Reb, Diff.

With Diaz

65.0

.447

33.2

+2.0

Without Diaz

54.7

.383

26.8

-5.4

Husker Quick Hits
•-Brandon Richardson is averaging 13.3 points per game on 63 percent shooting, 3.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.3 steals in the Huskers' last three contests after averaging 4.8 points per game in Nebraska's previous four contests.

  • -Bo Spencer has been more active in getting to the free throw line in recent weeks, averaging 7.0 attempts in Nebraska's last seven games after getting to the line just four times in Nebraska's first four conference games. Spencer has taken advantage of the opportunities, as he leads the Big Ten in free throw percentage (89.7) in league play.
  • -Toney McCray averaged 15.5 points per game in two games last week after averaging 7.8 points on 32 percent shooting over Nebraska's last four contests.
  • -The Huskers went 12-of-13 from the free throw line in Sunday's loss at Minnesota, which was Nebraska's best free throw shooting effort (10 attempt minimum) of the season and the best since going 10-for-10 at Baylor in the 2009 Big 12 Tournament opener. The Huskers' one miss from the line was by Toney McCray, which he got the offensive rebound and a basket on the play.
  • -Nebraska held five of its last six opponents to under 40 percent shooting before Minnesota shot 54 percent in Sunday's loss. NU is 2-5 when opponents shot over 50 percent.

Huskers Look to Get on Defensive
For the Huskers to bounce back on Wednesday against Michigan, Nebraska has to turn in a strong defensive effort. The Huskers have allowed 69 or more points in each of the last five contests, including a season-high 84 at Northwestern on Thursday night. Prior to that stretch, the Huskers had allowed only three teams to crack the 70-point barrier in the first 17 games, including once in the first seven Big Ten contests.

Huskers Against Ranked Teams
The Huskers will be looking to improve to 2-4 against ranked teams this season, as they take on the No. 22 Wolverines on Wednesday. Nebraska is now 59-219 all-time against ranked teams, including 9-24 against ranked teams in Doc Sadler's six seasons at Nebraska. The Huskers have won at least one game against a ranked team in five of his six campaigns and last year's win over No. 3 was Sadler's first victory over a top-10 team.

Earlier this season, Nebraska opened Big Ten play with three straight ranked opponents (No. 11 Wisconsin, No. 16 Michigan State and No. 6 Ohio State),  the first time the Huskers have faced three straight ranked foes since a school-record five-game stretch during the 2009-10 season (Feb. 2-17) and the first time Nebraska has ever opened conference play against three straight ranked opponents.

Comeback Kids
Nebraska has showed the knack for a comeback in 2011-12, rallying from three double-digit deficits. On Dec. 10 at TCU, Nebraska rallied from a 10-point first-half deficit in posting a 69-57 victory. On Jan. 18, the Huskers were down by 13 early in the second half to No. 11 Indiana and trailed by 11 with six minutes remaining before coming back with an 18-6 spurt to pull out the 71-70 win.  The last time out, the Huskers overcame an 11-point first-half deficit to down Iowa, 79-73.

  • Nebraska now has eight double-figure comebacks under Doc Sadler, including a 20-point comeback against USC in 2010-11 - matching the largest comeback in school history.
  • The Jan. 18 win over Indiana was the first double-digit comeback against a ranked team since overcoming an 11-point deficit to fourth-ranked Oklahoma State on Feb. 22, 2005.

Taking Advantage at the Stripe
One area where the Huskers have been proficient is at the free throw line, where Nebraska's 75.7 percent rate leads the Big Ten and ranks 14th nationally in the latest NCAA rankings released Friday.

It is on track to be one of the best seasons in school history, as only two Husker teams have shot over 75 percent since 1948, led by the 1967-68 team which was third nationally when they hit a school-record 76.5 percent from the line.  Prior to this season, NU's best season under Doc Sadler was 71.3 percent during the 2006-07 campaign.

Here are some quick facts on Nebraska's prowess from the line this season:

  • Nebraska has shot 70 percent or better from the line in 17 of 22 contests and 80 percent or better eight times. The Huskers have shot under 70 percent in consecutive games once this season.
  • Three Huskers are shooting over 80 percent from the line this season, Bo Spencer (87.9 percent), Dylan Talley (85.7 percent) and Brandon Ubel (81.6). Spencer is on pace to be Nebraska's best free throw shooter since Cary Cochran led the nation at 92.2 percent in 2001-02.
  • The Huskers have been at their best in the clutch, hitting 77 percent (81-of-105) from the line in the last five minutes of games this season.

One thing Sadler has stressed is getting to the free throw line more often, as Nebraska has averaged 20.0 attempts in its 11 wins, but just 12.9 attempts in its 11 losses, including twice against Wisconsin on Jan. 15, and nine times against Northwestern on Thursday night.

Spencer Makes the Point for the Huskers
The focal point of Nebraska's offensive attack has been senior point guard Bo Spencer. The 6-foot-2 guard has made the most of his only season at Nebraska after transferring from LSU. He leads the Huskers in scoring at 15.3 points per game, while also adding 3.6 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game while ranking second in the Big Ten in free throw percentage (87.9).

Spencer has been an iron man for the Huskers, averaging 33.7 minutes per game which is the highest total by a Husker since Charles Richardson in 2006-07 (36.3 minutes per game) and the second most by a Husker in the last decade.

Spencer's 15.5 ppg is on pace to be the highest scoring average by a Husker guard in a decade.  He has reached double figures a team-high 18 times, including six 20-point performances, which is the most by a Husker since the 2007-08 season. His latest 20-point effort came at Northwestern on Thursday night, as he scored 20 of his 24 points in the second half, as Nebraska trimmed a 15-point halftime deficit to one. He also had 23 points.  It was his second 20-point night in Big Ten play, as he also had 23 points in a win over No. 11 Indiana on Jan. 18.

Spencer got off to a slow start in Big Ten play, averaging 10.0 points per game while shooting 26 percent in NU's first three games, but is averaging 16.8 ppg on 44 percent shooting over the Huskers' last eight contests. He is coming off an 18-point effort against Minnesota on Sunday.

He enjoyed his best offensive game of the year at Creighton on Dec. 4, pouring in 29 points on 10-of-16 shooting and adding five rebounds in the highest scoring effort by a Husker since 2007-08.

Spencer led Nebraska to a road win at TCU on Dec. 10, hitting 7-of-12 shots, including four 3-pointers, in NU's 69-57 victory. At USC on Nov. 14, he had 22 points, including the tying basket in overtime and the go-ahead bucket in double overtime, and also tied a personal best with seven rebounds. Against Rhode Island on Nov. 20, he had 23 points while shooting 8-of-13 from the floor, four assists and three steals. Against South Dakota State on Nov. 26, Spencer had a then-career-high eight assists along with 18 points and six rebounds as he out-played Nate Wolters.  He enjoyed a strong night against Central Michigan on Dec. 20, when he dished out a career-high nine assists and tied for team-high honors with 15 points.

Before coming to Nebraska, he started two seasons at LSU, averaging 14.5 points, 2.7 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game in 2009-10. Spencer showed the ability to get to the basket, putting up 11 games of at least 20 points, including a season-high 28-point effort against Western Kentucky and back-to-back 25-point contests against Kentucky and Tennessee. 

In his three-year LSU career, he reached double figures in 45 of 93 career contests, including 21 times as a junior. Spencer was the starting point guard on LSU's Southeastern Conference championship squad in 2008-09, as the Tigers reached the second round before falling to eventual champion North Carolina.

Big Ten Leaders - 20-Point Games (Career)

No.

Player, School

Career

2011-12

1

John Shurna, Northwestern

38

11

2.

Brandon Wood, Michigan State*

25

1

3.

Bo Spencer, Nebraska*

20

6

4.

William Buford, Ohio State

19

6

5.

Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin

18

1

*-includes previous school

McCray Makes Most of Starting Role
Fifth-year senior Toney McCray has overcome a pair of injuries to play some of the best basketball of his career in 2011-12. The 6-foot-6 senior was hampered by surgery on his feet over the summer and a toe injury in October, but has rebounded to enjoy a breakout senior year. He is setting career bests in scoring (10.5 ppg), rebounding (5.0 rpg) and field goal percentage (47 pct.), while also shooting 38 percent from 3-point range. McCray is second on the team in both scoring and rebounding and among the league leaders in both categories.

He originally moved into the lineup when Jorge Brian Diaz missed five games earlier in the season with an injury, and has started ever since. He tops the Huskers in rebounding (6.2 rpg) and is second in scoring (12.4 ppg) since moving into the starting lineup. McCray, who was in a mini scoring slump in recent games, has bounced back in Nebraska's last three games, as he had all eight of his points in the final 10 minutes at Iowa on Jan. 26, before adding 16 points, including three 3-pointers, in Thursday's loss to Northwestern. He followed up with a 15-point, six-rebound effort at Minnesota on Sunday.

McCray moved into the lineup in mid-December and then promptly put together seven straight games in double figures - the longest stretch of his career - before being held to seven points at Wisconsin on Jan. 15. Prior to this season, his longest stretch of games in double figures was four games (Feb. 26-March 9, 2011). The stretch began with a 20-point, seven-rebound effort against Alcorn State on Dec. 17, and had 16 points and nine rebounds against No. 11 Wisconsin on Dec. 27. McCray led NU with 13 points and five rebounds at No. 6 Ohio State and totaled 12 points and six rebounds at Illinois on Jan. 7. He had 13 points and five rebounds in the win over Penn State on Jan. 11, and was one of four Huskers in double figures with 11 points, including two 3-pointers in Nebraska's 18-6 surge in the last six minutes, in the win over No. 11 Indiana on Jan. 18.

During non-conference play, McCray had three straight games where he tied or set season highs, including 15 points and five rebounds at No. 22 Creighton on Dec. 4. He also had 12 points in Nebraska's games against South Dakota and Wake Forest and 16 points against No. 16 Michigan State on Dec. 31.

McCray, who ranks ninth on Nebraska's career 3-point percentage list at 39 percent over his career,  may have made his biggest contributions from the foul line in the double overtime win at USC on Nov. 14. A career 61 percent shooter from the line entering his senior year, McCray hit four clutch free throws at USC - two in the final minute of regulation and a pair with 2.8 seconds remaining in overtime - for his only points of the night in NU's 65-61 double overtime win. McCray is up to 66 percent from the foul line this season, the best percentage of his career.

Richardson is Huskers' Glue Guy
While senior guard Brandon Richardson doesn't lead the Huskers in any offensive category, his versatility is his greatest asset. The fifth-year senior averages 7.4 points, 2.9 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game, while he leads Nebraska and ranks third in the Big Ten in steals (2.0 per game).

Richardson enters this week's action in third place among active Big Ten players in career steals, and he is threatening to become the first Husker since Cookie Belcher in 2000-01 to average more than two steals per game. Belcher, who holds three of the top four totals in school history, still ranks fourth in NCAA history with 353 steals in his career.

With three steals against Minnesota on Sunday, he has 135 steals in his career and is now three away from moving past Larry Florence (137, 1997-2000) into sole possession of eighth place on NU's career list.

Richardson has been active on the defensive end in Big Ten play, leading the league with 2.4 steals per game in Big Ten action, including a career-high seven steals at No. 6 Ohio State on Jan. 3. He helped key the upset of No. 11 Indiana with nine points and game highs in assists (five) and steals (three).

Richardson showed his offensive game at Iowa, totaling a career-high 25 points, including 6-of-7 from 3-point range, and added a season-high six rebounds and five assists. He has been a solid performer on the road in Big Ten play, averaging 11.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 steals per contest.  At Ohio State, he totaled 11 points and a career-high seven steals, the league's single-game high in 2011-12.

The 6-foot senior came up big in his return home to Los Angeles on Nov. 14, totaling 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point range in the Huskers' overtime win at USC. He matched his career best with four 3-pointers and dished out a pair of assists, including the game-tying basket in double overtime.  Against Rhode Island on Nov. 20, he keyed a Husker defense which held Jamal Wilson to 14 points after averaging 31 points in the Rams first two games and set then-career highs in both assists (eight) and steals (four).

Richardson had his best offensive game of the year in the non-conference finale against Central Michigan on Dec. 20, finishing with a season-high 15 points and three assists.

Throughout his career, Richardson has been clutch from the free throw line, as he ranks third in school history with an 82.1 career percentage from the charity stripe and is one of only four players in program history to shoot over 80 percent for a career.  This year, he is hitting a career-best 89.5 percent from the foul line. He has been aggressive at getting to the foul line in recent games, taking 34 free throw attempts in the last nine games after having 15 in the Huskers' first 10 games.

Last year, he was second in Big 12 action in league play, hitting 87.8 of his free throws, including a stretch of 25 consecutive made free throws.  Throughout his career, he has been his best in late-game situations, going 81-of-87 from the foul line in the final five minutes of games, a remarkable 93.1 percentage.

Richardson Earns Big Ten Honor
Brandon Richardson became the Huskers' first-ever Big Ten weekly award winner in basketball, as he was the Big Ten Co-Player of the Week on Jan. 30.  Richardson, who shared the honor with Michigan State's Draymond Green, became the first Husker since Aleks Maric in 2008 to be named conference player of the week.

Richardson had a career night at Iowa on Jan. 26, scoring 25 points on 9-of-10 shooting and adding six rebounds and five assists in the Huskers' 79-73 win in Iowa City. Richardson was 6-of-7 from 3-point range, as his six 3-pointers were the most by a Husker since the 2006-07 season, while his 25-point night easily surpassed his previous season (15 vs. Central Michigan) and career (20 at Texas Tech on Jan. 22, 2011) bests. Richardson set season highs in points, rebounds and 3-pointers in the Huskers' win. He also had six points in Nebraska's 12-2 second-half run to take control and earn the program's first win in Iowa City since 1941.

Talley is Huskers' Super Sub
When Doc Sadler talked about the addition of Dylan Talley, the thing he constantly mentioned was his ability to score. Talley has lived up to the billing, coming off the bench to average 9.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game in just 23.7 minutes of action.

Talley, who missed five games with a thigh injury, returned to action against Illinois Jan. 7, and has regained his early-season form, averaging 9.6 points per game in Nebraska's last seven contests.  He has been in double figures three times in that span, a 12-point, five-rebound effort against Penn State on Jan. 11, and his best effort of the year against No. 11 Indiana on Jan. 18. In that game, he had 10 points, including eight in the final 5:19, as Nebraska came back from 11 points down and also matched his career high with nine rebounds and added two blocks. Talley finished with 13 points in Thursday's loss to Northwestern, hitting 5-of-7 shots from the floor.

Talley, who is hitting 35 percent from 3-point range, is also proficient at the line where he is hitting at an 86 percent clip.  Talley is averaging 9.5 points per game off the bench, but went scoreless in his only start of the season against Creighton on Dec. 4.

Talley has shown the knack for the heroics, hitting a game-winning basket with 10.4 seconds remaining against Florida Gulf Coast on Dec. 7, as part of a 14-point effort. The 6-foot-5 guard reached double figures in three straight games earlier this season, including a season-high 18 points, including four 3-pointers, four rebounds, four assists and three steals against Oregon on Nov. 23. Talley had 12 points and three rebounds against South Dakota State on Nov. 24, and totaled 15 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and five rebounds in 18 minutes against Rhode Island on Nov. 20.

Talley's adjustment may have been helped by the Division I experience he had when playing at Binghamton (N.Y.) University in 2009-10. That season, he was the America East Rookie of the Year and averaged 11.8 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Last year, he was an honorable-mention All-American at Blinn (Texas) College, ranking sixth in the NJCAA in scoring at 23.0 points per game while also chipping in 5.9 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.

Ubel Doing the Dirty work Inside
While Nebraska relies on its guards for the bulk of the offensive output, junior Brandon Ubel gives the Huskers a physical presence on the inside. The 6-foot-10 forward has started NU's last 13 games at center since Jorge Brian Diaz suffered a foot injury in early December.

On the season, he is averaging 6.2 points and a team-high 5.5 rebounds per game, ranking 10th in the league in rebounds. Ubel leads the Big Ten on the offensive glass, grabbing 2.7 rebounds per game. He has had seven or more rebounds nine times this season, including a career-high 11 rebound effort against Florida Gulf Coast on Dec. 7. In that game, he also had 10 points in posting his first career double-double. That began a five-game stretch where he averaged 9.6 points and 8.6 rebounds, including 13 points and eight rebounds in the win over Alcorn State,  11 points and seven rebounds against Central Michigan on Dec. 20 and eight points and nine rebounds against No. 11 Wisconsin on Dec. 27.

Ubel was averaging 6.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game in his last three contests before being held to two points and five rebounds in Sunday's loss to Minnesota. Another area where Ubel has made great strides is in his passing, as he has 24 assists this year after totaling just 22 assists in his first two seasons. He had his second five assist effort at Northwestern on Feb. 2.

                                                                                                                         

Huskers Look for Interior Presence with Diaz Sidelined
For the second time this season, the Huskers are battling through injury issues at the center spot, as Jorge Brian Diaz is likely to miss extended time with an injury.

The 6-foot-11 center is Nebraska's fourth-leading scorer at 8.6 points per game while he also averages 4.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per contest in 16 contests. Since originally returning to the lineup on Jan. 8, he had come off the bench in seven games, helping NU to a 3-4 mark, before missing Sunday's game with Minnesota.

He enjoyed his best game in that stretch in the win over No. 11 Indiana on Jan. 18 when he had 10 points and four rebounds while hitting a pair of free throws with 11 seconds left to provide the winning margin. It was the sixth time he had been in double figures this season and has 37 career games in double figures. He ranks 47th on Nebraska's career scoring list with 765 points, matching Bus Whitehead's total from 1948 to 1950.

Diaz enjoyed one of the best offensive games of his career against Oregon on Nov. 23, finishing with a game-high 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting, six rebounds and three blocks. He had eight of his points in a 22-7 run to help the Huskers erase a 15-point deficit before succumbing in the final minute. It was his third career 20-point effort and first since his freshman year. He nearly recorded a double-double at Creighton on Dec. 4 with 10 points and seven rebounds while also blocking a pair of shots.  He turned in a strong effort at USC on Nov. 14 when he nearly recorded a double-double with 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots in a career-high 43 minutes.  He also played a major role in holding USC's Dewayne Dedmon to four points on 1-of-6 shooting.  Against South Dakota in the season opener, he finished with 11 points and a career-high five blocked shots, which equaled the highest single-game blocked shot total in the last six years.

Defensively, he was second in the Big Ten with 1.9 blocks per game and has had three or more blocks six times this season. Diaz tied his career high with five blocks in the one-point win over Florida Gulf Coast on Dec. 7, joining Illinois' Meyers Leonard and Michigan State's Draymond Green as the only Big Ten players with two games with at least five blocked shots this season. 

Throughout his career, Diaz has been a scoring threat, as the 6-foot-11 junior is only the third Husker returnee to average in double figures under Sadler, joining Aleks Maric and Ryan Anderson in 2007-08. 

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