NU Hosts Rutgers on Legends Weekend
GAME 27: VS. RUTGERS
RUTGERS SCARLET KNIGHTS
Internet Video: BTN2Go and Fox Sports Go
Radio: Husker Sports Network, including 590 AM (Omaha), 1400 AM (Lincoln) and 880 AM (Lexington)
Online Radio: Available online at Huskers.com, on the Huskers App and on TuneIn Radio and the TuneIn Radio App
For the first time in two weeks, the Nebraska basketball team is back at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday afternoon, as the Huskers host Rutgers as part of Legends Weekend. Nearly 50 former players will be back on campus for a weekend full of activities, including a reception on Friday and halftime introduction Saturday afternoon.
Tipoff at a sold out Pinnacle Bank Arena is set for 3 p.m., and any returned tickets will go on sale at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the PBA ticket office. Saturday's game will be televised nationally on BTN with Kevin Kugler and Shon Morris on the call. The game is available on BTN.com, BTN2Go and the Fox Sports Go app.
Fans can follow all of the action across the state of Nebraska on the IMG Husker Sports Network with Kent Pavelka and Jake Muhleisen on the call. The game will also be available on Huskers.com, on the Huskers app, on TuneIn Radio and on the TuneIn Radio app. The radio broadcast begins one hour prior to tipoff.
Nebraska (18-8, 9-4 Big Ten) has been playing its best basketball over the last month, winning six of its past seven games, including a 91-85 win over Minnesota on Tuesday night in Minneapolis. The win moved the Huskers into sole possession of fourth place, as Michigan lost at Northwestern on Tuesday.
Isaiah Roby and James Palmer Jr. had 19 points apiece to lead five Huskers in double figures, as Nebraska picked up its first win in Minneapolis since 2003. The Huskers shot 51 percent from the field, including 11-of-23 from 3-point range, and used a decisive 8-0 run after Minnesota overcame a 15-point deficit to tie the score at 60-all.
Roby put together one of the best performances of his career against the Gophers, hitting 8-of-10 shots from the field and adding eight rebounds and five blocked shots. Since moving into the starting lineup seven games ago, Roby is averaging 9.9 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots per game. Palmer continued his string of strong performances with 19 points, but also dished out a career-high nine assists and grabbed seven rebounds.
Rutgers (12-14, 2-10 Big Ten) has been off since a loss to Indiana Monday night. The Scarlet Knights have shown the ability to push some of the top teams in the Big Ten, falling in overtime at Michigan State and losing by two to Purdue last Saturday. Junior guard Corey Sanders leads three Rutgers players at 14.0 ppg, and had a season-high 31 against the Boilermakers.
9- James Palmer Jr. assist total at Minnesota, matching the Huskers' highest total in Tim Miles' six seasons. He is averaging 4.5 assists per game over NU's last four contests.
1.25 - Nebraska's 1.25-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio is on track to be one of the best in school history. Here are the top six seasons dating back to the 1978-79 campaign.
Year Asst.-to-TO Ratio
18 - Points Glynn Watson Jr. needs to become the 29th Husker to reach 1,000 career points. He would become the 29th Husker to reach that plateau.
70 - Nebraska is 14-2 when scoring 70 or more points and 4-6 when held to under 70 points. Nebraska's only two losses when scoring 70+ points was a one-point loss to Kansas and a two-point OT loss at Penn State.
1995-96 - The last time Nebraska scored 90+ points twice in conference play before 2017-18.
Rutgers has made significant strides under second-year coach Steve Pikiell. A former player at UConn, Pikiell spent the previous 11 seasons at Stony Brook, leading the program to six postseason appearances in seven years, including an NCAA bid in 2016. Rutgers went 15-18 in his first season, including a win over Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament. This season, the Scarlet Knights are 12-14 on the season and looking to snap a six-game losing streak. During non-conference play, Rutgers went 10-3, including a 71-65 win over then-No. 16 Seton Hall. During Big Ten play, the Scarlet Knights have home wins over Wisconsin and Iowa and took Michigan State to overtime in East Lansing.
The Scarlet Knights have been very good on defense, holding opponents to 40 percent shooting and 65.9 points per game. Rutgers also forces nearly 15 turnovers per game and is among the nation's leaders in offensive rebounding. Junior guard Corey Sanders is the catalyst, as he leads the team in both scoring (14.0 ppg) and assists (3.2 apg). He is one of three players who average double figures. Junior Deshawn Freeman is at 11.4 points and a team-high 7.5 rebounds per game while freshman Geo Baker averages 11.5 points per game. Issa Thiam and Baker have 79 of the team's 118 3-pointers.
Saturday's matchup will be the 10th all-time meeting with the Scarlet Knights. Nebraska, which leads 6-3, has won five of the six meetings since Rutgers joined the Big Ten. Nebraska won the first four meetings before Rutgers' posted a 65-64 win in 2016-17. Prior to the Scarlet Knights joining the Big Ten, the two teams split a home-and-home series in 2006 and 2007, including a 63-51 win at the Devaney Center on Dec. 9, 2006. The only other meeting was a 19-point Rutgers win at the 1999 Hoop and Quill Classic in St. Charles, Mo.
LAST MEETING VS. RUTGERS
Isaac Copeland’s 23 points led three Huskers in double figures while Glynn Watson Jr. made a trio of big plays in the final three minutes, as Nebraska picked up a crucial 60-54 win at Rutgers on Jan. 24.
Copeland hit 9-of-15 shots from the field, including a trio of 3-pointers, for a game-high 23 points while adding seven rebounds and two blocked shots. While Copeland and James Palmer Jr., who finished with 18 points, six rebounds and four assists keyed a decisive second-half run, Watson hit two big baskets after the Scarlet Knights trimmed the Husker lead to two points. Leading 50-48, Watson hit a circus shot to stretch NU’s lead to four. Rutgers (12-10, 2-7 Big Ten) whittled the lead back to 54-52 after a Candido Sa basket with 1:16 left and NU missed a 3-point attempt, but Copeland’s offensive rebound kept possession for the Huskers. NU would take advantage, as Watson’s driving layup gave the Huskers a 56-52 lead. On Rutgers’ next possession, Watson drew a charge off Corey Sanders to give the Huskers the ball. Nebraska salted the game at the line, as Palmer went 4-of-4 from the charity stripe to give NU its second road win of the season.
Watson finished with 10 points, four rebounds and three assists, as Nebraska shot 39.6 percent but went 13-of-16 from the foul line and limited Rutgers to just 33.8 percent shooting.
LAST TIME OUT
Isaiah Roby scored a career-high 19 points and all five Husker starters reached double figures as Nebraska won its third straight road game with a 91-85 victory over Minnesota Tuesday night at Williams Arena.
Roby hit 8-of-10 shots from the field and narrowly missed a double-double by grabbing eight rebounds. James Palmer Jr. added 19 points, and he filled up the stat sheet by grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out a career-high nine assists. Anton Gill and Isaac Copeland each scored 12 points, while Glynn Watson Jr. chipped in 10 points.
While the starters combined for 72 points, a total of eight Huskers scored at least six points. Nebraska shot 50.8 percent from the field and was 11-of-23 from the 3-point line. Seven different Huskers hit a three and Nebraska was also 18-of-22 from the free-throw line. The Huskers' 91 points were their most in a conference road game since 1999.
The win was Nebraska’s first victory at Williams Arena since a 77-60 victory over the Golden Gophers on Dec. 29, 2003.
Nebraska survived a career night from Minnesota’s Nate Mason, who scored 34 points and hit seven 3-pointers. Jordan Murphy added 22 points as the Gophers shot 49.3 percent from the field and hit 10-of-19 from beyond the arc.
LEGENDS WEEKEND SET FOR THIS WEEKEND
The sixth-annual Legends Weekend takes place throughout the weekend as nearly 50 players will return to campus for this weekend’s events. The weekend is highlighted by a reception Friday night as well as a chance to see practice on Friday and interact with the current Husker team. The former players in town will be recognized at halftime on Saturday.
*-Nebraska comes into Saturday's game with an 18-8 record, which matches the 2010-11 team for the Huskers' best 26-game mark in over 20 years. The last time NU had a better 26-game mark came in the 1991-92 season when NU went 19-7 after 26 games. A win on Saturday would give the Huskers 19 wins, matching the program's highest win total in 10 years (NU also won 19 games in 2010-11 and 2013-14).
*-With a win on Saturday, the Huskers would earn their 10th Big Ten win of the season. Nebraska has reached double-digits in conference wins just 11 times in program history, including once since 2000. Nebraska's highest Big Ten win total was 11 in 2013-14.
*-Nebraska is 12-1 in home games this season with the only loss coming in a one-point setback against No. 13 Kansas on Dec. 16. The 12 home wins is already NU's highest total since going 15-1 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in the 2013-14 campaign. Four of Nebraska's final five games are at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
*-With Purdue's loss on Wednesday, Nebraska now has the longest home winning streak in the Big Ten at seven games dating back to Dec. 20.
*-While Nebraska has enjoyed success at Pinnacle Bank Arena, the Huskers have played well on the road in Big Ten play. NU is 4-4 in Big Ten road games, marking its most road conference wins since 1999. If Nebraska wins its last road game at Illinois on Feb. 19, it would give Nebraska its most conference road wins since going 5-2 in 1976. Since WWII, Nebraska has won five conference road games just twice (1965-66 and 1975-76).
*-Of Nebraska's five losses dating back to Dec. 9, NU lost twice in the last 30 seconds (vs. No. 13 Kansas, at PSU) and had two others where NU was within a point in the last four minutes (at Creighton, at No. 13 OSU).
*-James Palmer Jr. enjoyed one of the most prolific scoring performances in school history at No. 13 Ohio State on Jan. 22 with his 34-point effort against the Buckeyes. It marked the second-highest scoring effort in a road game in school history and the most on the road by a Husker since 2006.
*-Palmer has shown the ability to get to the foul line, as he leads the Big Ten with 181 attempts through Wednesday's games. Maryland's Anthony Cowan Jr. is second with 167. Palmer now ranks ninth on NU's single-season free throws made list with 137, and has the potential to move into the top five (Aleks Maric, 147, 2006-07) on Saturday.
*-Nebraska's defense has been its calling card in Big Ten action. The Huskers are third in field goal defense (.407) and held 10 of their last 12 opponents under 45 percent. In 10 games in January, NU held opponents to a combined 40.1 percent shooting.
*-The Huskers are averaging 74.0 points per game and is on track for one of the best offensive seasons in recent years. NU's 74.0 points per game marks only the sixth time in the last 22 years that NU has averaged at least 70.0 points per game through the first 26 games and is the Huskers' highest average since 1995-96.
*-Nebraska's 98 points against Iowa marked the Huskers' highest total in a conference game since scoring 99 against Kansas State on Feb. 9, 2002. The Huskers' previous Big Ten era high was 93 points in a double overtime win over Iowa on Jan. 5, 2017.
*-Nebraska's biggest offensive strength has been a balanced attack with three players averaging double figures, led by James Palmer Jr., who averages a team-high 17.7 points per game to lead all Big Ten newcomers in scoring. Palmer is currently on track to enjoy one of the top first-year seasons in school history, as the top three first-year scorers have been in Tim Miles' six seasons at Nebraska.
*-James Palmer Jr. is averaging 19.9 points per game in Big Ten play, and is on track to be the first Husker to average at least 20 points per game in conference play since current Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue averaged 21.8 points per game in 1997-98.
*-Nebraska relies on a pair of transfers in James Palmer Jr. (Miami) and Isaac Copeland (Georgetown), as the duo combines for more than 30 points per game. In all, 48.2 percent of the Huskers' offense this year has been by players in their first year in the program.
Palmer has reached double figures 24 times, including a season-high 34 points at No. 13 Ohio State on Jan. 22, and is third in assists (2.6 apg). Copeland leads the Huskers in rebounding at 6.2 per game and is second in both scoring (13.1, second) and blocked shots (30, second). He has a team-high two double-doubles, including a 23-point, 11-rebound effort against Iowa on Jan. 27 and a 20-point, 11-rebound performance at Creighton on Dec. 9.
*-Nebraska's 11-point deficit at Wisconsin was its largest comeback of the season (previous high was seven at Northwestern on Jan. 2) and the seventh time under Tim Miles that Nebraska has overcome a 10-point deficit. Over the past two years, NU has won three road games while overcoming a double-digit deficit, matching NU's total from the previous 20 years.
*-Junior Glynn Watson Jr. is in his third season guiding the Husker offense and is among NU's leaders in both scoring (11.0 ppg, third), assists (3.4, first) and steals (1.5, first). The 6-foot guard will make his team-high 72nd career start on Saturday and has a 2.3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio this season. Watson is just 18 points from 1,000 for his career and is nine steals away from 10th place on Husker career charts.
*-Two Huskers are nearing 1,000 career points heading into this weekend, as Glynn Watson Jr. has 982 points, while Isaac Copeland has 969 career points which includes his two-plus seasons at Georgetown.