Husker Game Day

Nebraska Game Notes: Click Here

Missouri Game Notes: Click Here

Big 12 Game Notes: Click Here

Game Date: Jan. 10, 2009

Tipoff Time: 1:02 p.m. CT

Venue: Bob Devaney Sports Center (13,595)

TV: ESPN2, Play-by-play: Terry Gannon. Color: Stephen Bardo.

Radio: Husker Sports Radio Network stations, Play-by-play: Kent Pavelka. Color: Matt Davison.

Internet Radio/Stats: Free on Huskers.com

Satellite Radio: Sirius Channel 113

Parking at the Devaney Center: Map (PDF)
Getting Around: Devaney Center Fan Guide (PDF)
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Nebraska Opens Big 12 Conference Play Against Missouri on ESPN2

Following a solid run to end the non-conference slate, the intensity gets turned up several notches this weekend as the Nebraska basketball team opens Big 12 Conference play on Saturday, Jan. 10, when it plays host to Missouri at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The game will be seen around the country on ESPN2 with Terry Gannon calling the action and Stephen Bardo serving as color analyst.

 

All of Nebraska’s games can be heard on the IMG Husker Sports Radio Network, consisting of 31 stations around the state and around the world for free on the Internet at Huskers.com, the official Web site of Nebraska Athletics. Veteran play-by-play man Kent Pavelka will call the action alongside former Husker Matt Davison, who will provide color commentary.

 

The Red Cross will be collecting donations at Saturday’s game against Missouri to benefit the organization’s Cornhusker Chapter. It will also be a doubleheader day at the Devaney Center as the Husker women play host to nationally ranked Oklahoma at 7 p.m. Fans with tickets to the men’s game will be admitted into the women’s game that night free of charge.

 

Nebraska heads into its 13th season of Big 12 conference action on a roll, winning each of its last three games by double figures while seeing its offense pick up significantly. The Huskers ended non-league play with double-figure wins (10-3 record) for the third straight season under Coach Doc Sadler while averaging 68.4 points per game and allowing just 55.8 points per contest.

 

Nebraska’s offense has been running in high gear since a two-point setback against UMBC just before Christmas. Over the past three games, Nebraska has topped the 75-point plateau three times, gaining 82.0 points per game on 54.7 percent (88-of-161) shooting from the floor.

 

The Huskers have been outstanding inside the arc the past three games, hitting 68-of-105 shots (65.8 percent).

 

Nebraska has continued its strong defense during the recent surge, allowing just 58.3 points per game on 40.5 percent shooting. Nebraska entered the week ranked seventh nationally in defense at 55.8 points per game.

 

The Huskers have held each of their first 13 opponents under 67 points, becoming the first NU squad since 1981-82 to accomplish the feat. They are also just the second NU squad in the 3-point era to hold all of their non-conference opponents under 67 points.

 

Scouting The Tigers

Nebraska hits the ground running as it enters Big 12 Conference play as it takes on the Missouri Tigers, one of the league’s top offensive teams. One of seven Big 12 teams averaging better than 80.0 points per game, Missouri is second in the league by gaining 85.3 points per contest, topping the 90-point plateau five times this season.

The Tigers enter this weekend’s contest with an impressive 13-2 record. MU’s only losses have come on neutral sites, falling to Xavier, 75-71, and Illinois, 75-59. Missouri is 1-0 in true road games after earning an 83-76 victory at Georgia last weekend.

Missouri enters the league opener leading the Big 12 in scoring margin (+21.4), assists (20.1), steals (11.3), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.6) and turnover margin (+7.3). The Tigers and Huskers show similar traits by taking care of the ball as Nebraska is second in turnover margin (+6.8) and fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.2). In fact, MU was third nationally in turnover margin  entering the week while Nebraska was fourth.

The Tigers’ offense will be a difficult matchup for the Huskers, who led the league by allowing just 55.8 points per game, the only team in the Big 12 holding opponents below 60 points per game. Nebraska, which is second in steals (9.6) and rebounding defense (32.4) and third in 3-point percentage defense, will be tested by Missouri, which ranks third in the league by hitting 48.5 percent from the field.

Senior forwards DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons lead the Tiger offense. Carroll has averaged 16.7 points per game on 58.3 percent shooting this season while playing only 25.1 minutes per game. He also leads the team with 6.5 rebounds per game and has a team-best 31 steals. Lyons has added 14.7 points on 53.8 percent shooting and trails only Carroll on the boards as he has grabbed 6.3 rebounds per game. Together they have helped MU to a +4.1 rebounding margin this season (39.7-35.6).

The Tigers’ top long-range threat, senior forward Matt Lawrence has averaged 9.9 points per game while hitting 35 3-pointers. He is among the Big 12 leaders in treys made and 3-point percentage, hitting better than 41 percent from beyond the arc.

On Tuesday, Lawrence led the team with 18 points against Coppin State, hitting 6-of-7 from 3-point range. Carroll added 16 points, seven rebounds and five steals in the 88-55 victory in the final tune-up before league play.

Missouri is guided by coach Mike Anderson (Tulsa, 1982), who is in his third year leading the Tigers. Anderson owns a 47-30 record at Missouri, an identical mark to Nebraska Coach  Doc Sadler, who is also in his third year on the sideline in Lincoln. Anderson owns a 135-71 career record in his seventh season as a head coach, after formerly working the sideline at UAB. 

Possible MU Starting Lineup

Name                   Pos. Ht.   Wt.   Pt.   Rb.

DeMarre Carroll      F     6-8  225   16.7 6.5

Leo Lyons             F     6-9  244   14.7 6.3

J.T. Tiller              G    6-3  200   7.0  3.5*

Zaire Taylor           G    6-4  189   5.1  3.1*

Matt Lawrence        G    6-7  203   9.9   2.3

*assists per game

 

Nebraska-MU Team Comparison

NU                      Stat                     MU

68.4______ Points Per Game______ 85.3

55.8___ Points Allowed Per Game___ 63.9

47.6____ Field Goal Percentage____ 48.5

39.7_ Field Goal Percentage Defense_ 40.2

38.2___ 3pt Field Goal Percentage___ 35.9

30.6 3pt Field Goal Percentage Defense 30.3

67.1____ Free Throw Percentage____ 64.6

29.2_____ Rebounds Per Game_____ 39.7

-3.2_______ Rebound Margin______ +4.1

14.3______ Assists Per Game______ 20.1

11.8_____ Turnovers Per Game_____ 12.6

9.6_______ Steals Per Game______ 11.3

2.2_______ Blocks Per Game_______ 4.0

18.1_______ Fouls Per Game______ 19.9

The Series

The Huskers and Tigers are meeting for the 213th time in series history, dating back to the 1907-08 campaign when Nebraska won a pair of contests over Mizzou. Overall, the Tigers hold a 122-90 series advantage over the Huskers.

 

The teams have met 93 times in Lincoln, with Nebraska holding a 53-40 advantage. The series is tied at 16-16 in games played in the Devaney Center.

 

Each of the past two games between NU and MU in the Devaney Center has gone to overtime. Nebraska won in 2007 in overtime, 82-77, while Missouri won last year in an extra session, 86-78.

 

The teams played two overtime games against each other in 1997-98. The teams have played 14 overtime games in series history, with Nebraska holding an 8-6 record. NU is 18-4 at the Devaney Center all-time in overtime games, as last year’s setback to Missouri snapped a nine-game Husker win streak at home in games that needed an extra period.

 

The Huskers have won six of the last eight matchups overall vs. Missouri and four of five contests under Coach Doc Sadler.

 

After a Nebraska sweep in 2006-07, NU’s first regular-season sweep of MU since 1992-93, the teams split two regular-season games last year with each team winning on the road. 

 

Nebraska’s win last season at Columbia was its second straight on the Tigers’ home court, and snapped NU’s 0-4 start to league play.

 

The Huskers ended MU’s season last year with a 61-56 win at the Big 12 Championships.

Nebraska in Big 12 Openers

The Huskers are looking to snap a streak of dropping their Big 12 opener in each of the past two seasons. Overall Nebraska is 2-10 in Big 12 openers.

 

The Huskers won their first game of the league season in 2004-05 (vs. Kansas State, 2ot) and 2005-06 (vs. No. 12 Oklahoma). NU started the Big 12 era with losses in the league opener in eight straight seasons.

Nebraska will be playing just its fourth Big 12 opener on its home court. NU opened league play on the road each of the first eight seasons following the formation of the Big 12 before playing the league opener at home for the first time in 2004-05. NU is 2-1 in league openers at home, with the lone loss coming against No. 3 Kansas last year.

 

The Huskers’ most frequent opponents in league openers have been MU and Kansas, facing each three times in the first game of Big 12 action in a season. NU is 0-3 vs. each team with the only game at home during that stretch coming last year against No. 3 Kansas.

 

Nebraska will be looking to get off to a better start to league play than last year, as the Huskers dropped their first four games in Big 12 play before winning at Missouri. Despite the poor start, Nebraska was among the hottest teams in the league at the end of the year, going 7-5 over the final 12 games, trailing only league co-champions Kansas and Texas in wins during that span.

Quick hits

Here is a quick look at the Huskers through games of Jan. 5:

 

Quick team notes

Nebraska has the Big 12 Conference’s top scoring defense, allowing just 55.8 points per game through 13 games. No other team in the league is holding opponents below 60.0 points per contest.

Nebraska ranked fourth nationally in turnover margin entering this week. NU has caused 241 turnovers (18.5 per game) while posting just 153 (11.8 tpg) miscues itself over 13 games, a margin of +6.8, which ranks second in the Big 12 Conference behind only Missouri.

Entering the week, the Huskers were also in the top 60 nationally in 3-point field-goal percentage defense (16th), turnovers per game (16th), steals per game (18th), assist-to-turnover ratio (42nd), scoring margin (52nd), field-goal percentage defense (56th) and field-goal percentage (60th).

NU tied the school record with only three turnovers against Maryland Eastern Shore. NU also had just six turnovers against Saint Louis.

Nebraska snapped a streak of trailing on the boards in five straight games by gaining a 30-23 advantage on the glass against Maryland Eastern Shore. NU has now gained an advantage on the glass in two straight games.

The Huskers had 11 offensive rebounds against Florida A&M, their third straight game with 11 offensive boards. In the previous four games combined, NU had just 19 offensive rebounds.

Nebraska set a season high with a +14 rebounding margin on Monday against Florida A&M. NU has outrebounded its last three opponents, including posting 11 offensive boards each game. In the three previous games, NU had just 16 offensive boards total.

The Huskers have won 11 of their first 14 games each of the past three seasons, including twice under Coach Doc Sadler.

NU has put up 88 and 81 points over the past two games, respectively. The last time Nebraska topped 80 points in three straight games was the last three games of the non-conference slate in the 2006-07 campaign. That is the only time under Coach Doc Sadler that the Huskers have topped 80 points in three consecutive contests.

The Huskers are averaging 72.0 points per game at home while hitting 50.2 percent (259-of-516) at the Devaney Center.

Nebraska opened a season with a 6-0 mark for only the second time in the Big 12 era (also 2001-02).

 

Individual quick notes

Ade Dagunduro had the best game of his career against UMBC as he posted a career-best 19 points with three rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals in 27 minutes. He tied the school single-game record by hitting all nine field-goal attempts against the Retrievers, the second-best mark in the league during the Big 12 era.

Dagunduro had three straight made field goals to end the IPFW contest, connected on nine consecutive against UMBC and then knocked in his first three shots against South Carolina State to set the school record for consecutive made field goals at 15. Dagunduro surpassed Mikki Moore for the mark, as Moore had 13 straight made shots over three games in the 1997 NIT.

Paul Velander has reached double figures just four times this season but is fourth on the team with 9.4 points per game. He ranked ninth nationally from 3-point range entering this week as he has hit 48.0 percent (36-of-75) to date to rank second in the Big 12 Conference.

Because of his quick release, Velander is averaging a 3-pointer every 8.9 minutes he is on the court (36 3s in 320 minutes), but has had a turnover only every 64 minutes (5 TOs in 320 minutes).

Velander has hit at least three 3-pointers in 10-of-13 games this season. Dating to last year, he has hit at least three treys in 15 of his last 21 games. Before that, he had hit at least three 3-pointers in a game just six times in his first 51 career games.

Senior guard Steve Harley leads the team with 13.5 points per game, and has scored in double figures each of the past 11 straight games. He is the only Husker this season with a 20-point performance (21 pts. vs. IPFW).

Sek Henry has been proficient with the basketball, hitting a team-best 56.1 percent from the field, including a solid 44.0 percent from 3-point range.

Seven Huskers are averaging at least 1.0 steal per game. Sek Henry and Cookie Miller lead the way with 19 steals each, while five others have at least 15 steals apiece.

Sophomore Cookie Miller leads the team with 52 assists against 22 turnovers this season. He is looking to become the first Husker to lead NU in assists as a freshman and sophomore since Tyronn Lue in 1995-96 and 1996-97.

Junior forward Chris Balham has posted 7, 7 and 5 points over the past three games, along with 7, 3 and 8 rebounds. His season averages are 2.5 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.

Turning Teams over

Nebraska will try to turn up the defensive pressure at times this season, especially while playing with a heavily guard-oriented lineup, including many sets with five guards on the floor at once. 

That strong defensive push was evident in NU’s opener as they forced 25 San Jose State turnovers. Spartans’ point guard Justin Graham was frustrated into 10 turnovers while going 0-of-5 from the floor in 33 minutes of action.

The 25 turnovers Nebraska forced in the season opener against San Jose State were the second-highest total under Coach Doc Sadler. The most turnovers a Husker squad has forced in Sadler’s tenure is 26 last season against North Carolina Central.

NU has now forced 241 turnovers through 13 games, while allowing teams to record just 132 assists on 241 baskets.

The Huskers have forced at least 20 turnovers in six games this year (25 vs. San Jose State;  23 vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff; 24 vs. Creighton; 24 at Oregon State; 24 vs. IPFW; 21 vs. South Carolina State). Last year, the Huskers forced 20 turnovers in a game six times all season.

The 24 turnovers forced at Oregon State are the most by a Husker opponent away from Lincoln since Texas Tech had 26 turnovers against Nebraska in the first round of the 1999 Big 12 Championship.

Nebraska posted 16 steals in the defensive effort against San Jose State, the most by the Huskers under Sadler. The previous best under Sadler was 15 steals vs. North Texas in 2006.

The Huskers have had double-figure steals five times this season and at least eight steals in 12 games this season.

Eight Huskers have recorded a steal this year, including seven averaging at least 1.0 steal per game.

The most steals in a game by a single Husker this season is four. Junior guard Sek Henry and redshirt freshman Brandon Richardson each had four steals apiece against San Jose State in the opener and Henry added four more against UAPB. Cookie Miller had four against IPFW and Toney McCray became the most recent Husker to post four steals in a game against Maryland Eastern Shore.

The defensive pressure has helped Nebraska to a 263-150 advantage in points off turnovers this season.

handling with care

Nebraska coach Doc Sadler has preached that the Huskers need to be efficient within their offense and not give away easy points. That philosophy includes taking care of the ball, something the Huskers have succeeded in doing well early in the season.

Nebraska has averaged just 11.8 turnovers per game this season to rank 16th nationally this week and first in the Big 12 Conference. NU is the only team in the league averaging fewer than 12 turnovers per game.

The Huskers entered the week ranked fourth nationally in turnover margin, with a +6.8 margin (11.8 turnovers for NU, 18.5 turnovers for opponents). Missouri is ranked third nationally and first in the league at +7.3 in turnover margin.

The Huskers tied the school record by committing just three turnovers against Maryland Eastern Shore. NU equaled the team mark set in 2002 at Iowa State. Nebraska had just one turnover in the first half against Maryland Eastern Shore, and two miscues following the break.

Nebraska posted just six turnovers against Saint Louis, tying the previous low mark for miscues in Sadler’s first three years. NU also had just six turnovers against Colorado in 2007.

Nebraska had only three turnovers in the first half against Alabama State. NU also had two turnovers in the second half against Saint Louis, giving the Huskers four halves this season (including each half vs. UMES) with three or fewer turnovers.

Nebraska posted just 11 turnovers at Oregon State, marking the eighth time under coach Doc Sadler that NU had 11 or fewer turnovers in a road game.

Huskers Heating Up from the field

Entering the season, Coach Doc Sadler said that he thought one of the team's strengths this year would be shooting the basketball. He believed that without much trouble, the Huskers could put several combinations of players on the floor that would be able score efficiently.

Nebraska did not find much consistency through the first eight games of the year, but over the past five contests, the Huskers have started to heat up.

Nebraska opened the year averaging just 63.0 points per game on 43.1 percent shooting over the first eight contests. Only one player, Steve Harley (12.6 ppg), averaged better than 9.0 points per game in that span.

In the past five games, Nebraska has averaged 77.0 points per game on 54.8 percent shooting. NU has hit 104-of-163 (63.8 percent) from 2-point range in that span. Nebraska has posted at least 75 points in four of its last five games, after putting up 75 points just once in the first eight games.

The Huskers posted 88 points against Maryland Eastern Shore, the highest point total by Nebraska under Coach Doc Sadler. NU also scored 88 points in overtime against No. 15 Oregon last year. NU topped the 80-point plateau for a second straight game with 81 points against Florida A&M on Monday.

This weekend against Missouri, NU will be looking to reach 80 points in three straight games for only the second time since the 1999-2000 season. The only time since then that NU has reached 80 points in three consecutive contests was the last three games of non-conference play in Coach Doc Sadler’s first season at NU (2006-07).

Four Huskers are averaging double figures in the recent scoring barrage. Steve Harley leads the way with 14.8 points per game, while Ade Dagunduro (13.4), Sek Henry (13.2) and Paul Velander (10.4) have each averaged at least 10 points per game in the stretch.

The recent offensive surge could have been higher but the Huskers have hit just 61.0 percent (75-of-123) from the line in the last five games. Opponents have combined to hit 74.4 percent (58-of-78).

New Lines Drawn

While the 3-point line moved back one foot – from 19-9 to 20-9 –  for the first time in men’s college basketball this season, Nebraska has not been effected as much as some teams around the country from beyond the arc.

Nebraska is hitting 38.2 percent from beyond the arc to rank fourth in the Big 12 Conference. Last year, the Huskers hit 34.4 percent from 3-point range on the season.

Senior Paul Velander has been more effective than ever despite stepping back further to shoot. He is hitting 48.0 percent (36-of-75) from beyond the arc to rank second in the Big 12 Conference.

Nebraska’s 3-point defense this year has been solid as opponents have hit just 30.6 percent from beyond the arc. Last season, opponents hit 36.4 percent on the year.Nebraska’s 3-point percentage defense is fourth in the Big 12 Conference.

Seven of Nebraska’s 13 opponents have been held to five or fewer 3-pointers in a game, including four with three or fewer.

Bombs Away

Nebraska has been strong from outside the arc during coach Doc Sadler’s tenure, including this year. The Huskers are among the national leaders, hitting 38.2 percent from long range. Last season, Nebraska hit 34.2 percent from beyond the arc.

Only two Huskers are averaging more than 1.0 3-pointer per game, Paul Velander (2.8) and Sek Henry (1.1), although the team is averaging 7.1 treys per game.

Nebraska has hit better than 40 percent from the 3-point line as a team four times this season, including a season-high 56.0 percent against Alabama State.

The Huskers hit 10 3-pointers on Monday against Florida A&M, their second-best total of the season.

NU has posted at least eight 3-pointers in a game six times, including a season-best 14 against Alabama State.

Nebraska hit an impressive 14-of-25 (56.0 percent) from beyond the arc against the Alabama State. NU “only” connected on 51.7 percent (30-of-58) from the floor overall.

The 14 3-pointers were the most by the Huskers since hitting 15 against Miami on the road in the 2006-07 season. The school record is 18 3-pointers against No. 1 Kansas in 2002.

Six Huskers hit from outside the arc, including four players with three 3-pointers apiece. Sek Henry led the way with a perfect 3-for-3 night beyond the arc while Ryan Anderson (3-of-4), Steve Harley (3-of-5) and Paul Velander (3-of-6) each had three treys apiece.

Amazingly on a night when all the 3s were falling, Velander attempted his first two shots inside the arc, missing both. Velander’s first 26 attempts from the field this season were 3-point attempts until a missed jumper in the first half against Alabama State. Entering the matchup with Missouri, he is now 2-of-7 from inside the arc this season.

Defense Among NCaa’s Best

Nebraska is among the Big 12 and national leaders in several defensive categories in 2008-09.

Nebraska leads the Big 12 in scoring defense at 55.8 points per game. No other team in the Big 12 Conference is holding opponents below 60 points.

Nebraska ranked 56th nationally and sixth in the conference in field-goal percentage defense entering the week. NU has held seven opponents below 40 percent shooting, and has allowed just one team to hit over 47 percent from the field this season.

The Huskers have allowed teams to hit just 30.6 percent from 3-point range, and ranked 16th nationally entering the week before Florida A&M hit 50.0 percent, including 9-of-13 in the second half. NU has held six teams under 25.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc this season.

The Huskers have not allowed an opponent more than 66 points in a game over the first 13 contests this season. It is the longest streak to open a season without allowing a team to reach 67 points since the 1981-82 NU squad did it through the first 18 games of the year.

Only one other time in the 3-point era (2003-04) has Nebraska held every non-conference team below 67 points.

Nebraska held each of its first six opponents to fewer than 58 points. The last time NU held opponents to less than 60 points over the first six games of the year was the start of the 1943-44 season.

The last time the Huskers held consecutive opponents to fewer than 60 points in any stretch of at least six games was the seven contests between games 12 through 18 of the 1981-82 season. That was a streak of 820 games before it was matched starting this season.

The Huskers have allowed 726 points in the first 13 games of the year. Nebraska has held its first 13 opponents to fewer than 730 combined points to open a season just seven times since 1947-48.

 

NU’s Fewest Points Allowed in First 13 Games

(Since 1947-48, beginning of Big Seven Conference)

       Year                           Points (Ppg)

1949-50................................ 674 (51.8)

1947-48................................ 683 (52.5)

2007-08................................ 695 (53.5)

1981-82................................ 698 (53.7)

1948-49................................ 698 (53.7)

1950-51................................ 725 (55.8)

2008-09................................. 726 (55.8)

1982-83................................ 730 (56.1)

2003-04................................ 741 (57.0)

1980-81................................ 747 (57.5)

Nebraska has forced at least 20 turnovers  in a game six times this season.

Nebraska held TCU to just 10 field goals in NU’s first road game of the season. The 10 field goals allowed were the second-lowest by a Husker squad under Sadler, trailing only the nine baskets allowed at home by North Carolina Central last season.

The 10 field goals by the Horned Frogs were the fewest by an opponent away from the Devaney Center since Centenary had 10 baskets to open the 2002-03 season at the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska.

The 50 points scored by TCU marked the fewest Nebraska has allowed on the road since NU held Kansas State to 42 points in the first league road game of the 2005-06 campaign.

TCU's 50 points were also the fewest Nebraska has allowed in a true road opener since giving up just 49 points at Minnesota in the 1977-78 season.

on the glass

The Huskers will put a small lineup on the floor just about every night this season, giving Coach Doc Sadler reason to be interested in Nebraska’s rebounding, especially on the defensive end. All of NU’s guards will need to be capable rebounders this season to keep the opposing team from getting easy baskets on second chances.

Through 13 games, Nebraska trails on the glass by just over three rebounds per game
(-3.2 rpg, 32.4 to 29.2).

Nebraska has trailed on the glass in nine contests this season, including five straight games before outrebounding Maryland Eastern Shore by seven on Jan. 3.

Nebraska has won the battle on the boards in each of the past two games, outrebounding teams by a combined 21 boards (+7 vs. UMES, season-high +14 vs. FAMU).

The Huskers have posted 11 offensive rebounds in each of the past three games (33 total) after recording 27 offensive boards in the previous five games combined.

While his 3.6 boards per game are just a modest average, redshirt freshman Toney McCray is still battling to become only the third freshman in Nebraska history to lead the team in rebounding. McCray trails only junior guard Ryan Anderson, who leads the team with 4.0 rebounds per game. Only John Turek in 2001-02 and Aleks Maric in 2004-05 have led the team as freshmen. Each was a true freshman.

Balham Making Most of Minutes

Junior forward Chris Balham has been limited by chronic knee problems throughout his career and while he has not been able to practice or get on the court in games as much as he and Coach Doc Sadler would like, Balham has made the most of his court time lately.

Over the past three games, Balham has averaged 16.8 minutes per game, with a total of 49 minutes of action. He saw 46 minutes of action combined in his first seven games of the year, with a high of 10 minutes at TCU. He also missed three games this year because of problems with his knees.

He has played 18, 14 and 17 minutes off the bench, respectively, over the past three contests, only the second time in his career he has gained at least 10 minutes in three consecutive contests. Balham had at least 10 minutes in four straight games once last year.

During his recent extended stretch of playing time, Balham has averaged 6.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game while hitting 5-of-7 from the field and 9-of-13 at the line. His season averages are 2.5 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.

Balham tied his career high with eight rebounds on Monday against Florida A&M. Of his 18 rebounds in the past three games, 11 are offensive boards. He has helped NU average 11 offensive boards per game over the past three contests.

The only time he has scored more than seven points in a game was a career-high 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting in a road victory over No. 22 Texas A&M last season.

Dagunduro Getting on Track

After a sluggish start to the season, senior guard Ade Dagunduro has begun to turn up the intensity on both ends of the court.

One of the most athletic players in the Big 12 Conference, Dagunduro has recently brought his scoring average up to rank second on the squad with 10.2 points per game. He has scored in double figures in five of the past six games, including at least 18 points in two of the last four contests.

Dagunduro started the season averaging just 4.8 points per game in three contests against San Jose State, TCU and Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

After posting 11 combined points against Alabama State and Arizona State, Dagunduro averaged 13.8 ppg over the past six games.

Dagunduro set a career high by scoring in double figures in five straight games (Oregon State, IPFW, UMBC, South Carolina State, Maryland Eastern Shore).

In the last five games, Dagunduro has averaged 3.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 steals per game.

In that five-game span, Dagunduro has hit 80.0 percent (28-of-35) from the floor.

Possibly Dagunduro’s biggest points of the young season came in the final seconds of a comeback victory over Creighton. The Inglewood, Calif., native got free on the right block when his defender hedged to the middle of the lane as Steve Harley drove to the basket. Harley made a nice wrap-around pass to Dagunduro, whose uncontested layup with 2.7 seconds remaining was the game-winner.

Dagunduro’s slow start this season is the exact opposite of last year, which could be a good thing for the Huskers in the long run. Dagunduro started 2007-08 on fire, averaging 11.8 points per game in non-conference play while hitting 54.8 percent from the field. In league action, he had 5.8 points per game while knocking down just 40.4 percent from the field.

Record Performance

Senior guard Ade Dagunduro had what the Huskers hope to be a breakout game against UMBC as he posted a career-high 19 points in 27 minutes of action. He topped his previous career best of 17 points last year in an overtime road loss to Western Kentucky.

Dagunduro scored 15 of his 19 points against UMBC in the second half and added three rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals for an impressive all-around performance.

But the most impressive aspect of Dagunduro’s line on the stat sheet was the field-goal column. He finished the game hitting 9-of-9 attempts from the field, helping Nebraska hit 48.9 percent from the floor.

Dagunduro tied the school single-game record by hitting all nine of his attempts from the field against UMBC.

Dagunduro became the fifth Husker in history to connect on nine consecutive shots from the floor in a single game. It was the fourth time the feat happened by a Husker against a non-conference opponent.

Consecutive Field Goals in Game (NU Record)

FG   Name (Opponent)                       Date   

9     Ade Dagunduro (UMBC)        12/23/08

9     Mikki Moore (at Nevada)         3/19/97

9     Venson Hamilton (Iowa State)    2/3/96

9     Dave Hoppen (Southern Illinois) 11/26/85

9     Chuck Jura (Iowa)                 12/5/70

Dagunduro’s mark was originally believed to be a single-game conference record, however, since then it has been established that Colorado center David Harrison had a 10-for-10 effort versus Baylor in 2004. It is believed that Dagunduro’s mark ties for second place in the Big 12 record book.

Dagunduro extended his streak of consecutive made field-goal attempts to 15 over three straight games, setting a new Nebraska record. He had three made shots to end the game against IPFW, added nine against UMBC and then hit his first three against South Carolina State to surpass Mikki Moore, who held the previous NU record by hitting 13 straight shots in three games in 1997.

Consecutive FG in Multiple Games (NU Record)

FG   Name                       Season, games

15    Ade Dagunduro           2008-09, three   

13    Mikki Moore                1996-97, three

Dagunduro’s streak of 15 straight made shots fell two shy of the old Big 12 record. His streak is second in the league this season behind Baylor’s Quincy Acy, who set the new Big 12 record by making his first 20 attempts from the field to start his career.

Harley Starting to Rev up

Guard Steve Harley came on strong at the end of last season when he was named to the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team by the league's sportswriters for his play in league action.

 

Over the final 12 league games and the postseason, Harley assumed a lead role in the Husker offense, ranking second with 11.0 points per game while hitting 45 percent from the floor including nearly 43 percent from 3-point range. He shot better than 78 percent from the charity stripe in that stretch.

This year he is picking up where he left off as he tries to guide the Huskers to their second straight postseason berth.

Harley is currently leading the team with 13.5 points per game, an average that ranks just outside the top 20 in the Big 12 Conference.

Harley set a career high with 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting against IPFW. It was his second career 20-point performance and the Huskers' only 20-point game this year.

He has hit 46.7 percent from the floor, and has been one of the most aggressive Huskers getting to the basket, as he leads the team with 53 trips to the free throw line (38 made free throws, 71.7 percent). Harley is also averaging 3.5 rebounds and is second on the team with 32 assists and third with 18 steals.

Harley has tied his career high for rebounds twice this season, posting six against San Jose State in the season opener and again in the come-from-behind win over Creighton. He has had at least four rebounds in a game six times this season.

Harley had just one assist against Creighton, but it was the biggest one of the game. With the contest tied at 52-52, Nebraska had the ball with the shot clock off. Coach Doc Sadler drew up a play for Harley as the first scoring option. As he drove the lane to the basket, CU hedged to the middle and Harley made a nice wrap-around pass to Ade Dagunduro, who had an uncontested layup for the game-winning basket with 2.7 seconds remaining.

Harley is the only Husker averaging more than 27 minutes per game, as he has played 30.8 minutes per contest, including a career-high 40 minutes against UMBC.

Hot Henry

After a strong offseason, junior guard Sek Henry started out on a tear while helping the Huskers win six straight games to open a season for just the second time in the Big 12 era.

Henry has been more consistent on offense through the first 13 games of this season than at any point in his career. He is one of four players averaging at least 9.0 ppg, and has recorded seven double figure scoring games.

Henry posted 19 points against each Saint Louis and Florida A&M, one off his career high and the most points he has scored at home in the Devaney Center. He nearly matched the mark with 18 points against South Carolina State.

He has scored in double figures seven times in 13 games this season, after scoring in double figures just nine times in the first 64 games of his career. Henry posted double figures five times last year and four times as a freshman.

Henry has scored 66 points over the past five games, averaging 13.2 points per game in that span. It is the best five-game span of his career in terms of total points scored.

Henry has hit 45-of-80 shots (56.3 percent) from the field, including 14-of-31 (45.2 percent) from 3-point range. His career averages entering this season were 36.7 percent shooting and 26.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Henry has twice this season tied his career high with four steals in a game. He is currently tied for the team lead with 19 steals through 13 contests.

Being aggressive is in Henry’s nature on the court and it is showing this year. Although he has hit just 62.2 percent from the free throw line, he has done a nice job getting to the stripe as he is one of only three Huskers with at least 30 attempts from the line.

Henry raised his free throw average significantly in a recent two-game stretch as he hit 14-of-17 (82.4 percent) against UMBC and South Carolina State. Henry hit an impressive 7-of-8 from the line against UMBC after entering the game hitting 45.0 percent in his first nine games this year, and followed with a 7-of-9 effort against SCSU before being held without a free throw attempt against Maryland Eastern Shore.

Energy Guy

Following the season-opening contest against San Jose State, Coach Doc Sadler praised several players for their energy and hustle, especially the ones off the bench.

Leading the way that day was redshirt freshman Brandon Richardson, who posted six points, three rebounds, an assist and four steals in 16 minutes in his career debut.

Richardson’s numbers did not tell the whole story as he made several dives to the floor and other hustle plays to ignite NU in the second half after SJSU cut the lead from 18 points to five. His steal off an inbounds and three-point play turned the game around, helping NU score 10 points in less than a minute to pull away for good.

Following another strong performance in Nebraska’s game against IPFW, Sadler said:

“Brandon Richardson makes plays that don’t show up on the box score. When we went to the 1-3-1 for the first time (that night), he made two huge hustle plays. He does things that might give you three or four more possessions that you wouldn’t otherwise get in a game.”

Against UAPB, he scored a season-high nine points and had two assists without a turnover in 23 minutes of action.

He has posted 13 points over the past two games after scoring just 12 points in his previous eight games.

Richardson hit 3-of-6 from the field against Maryland Eastern Shore and knocked down 2-of-3 vs. Florida A&M. The recent surge has come as a direct result of the coaching staff telling Richardson to focus on being more aggressive on the offensive end.

He has posted at least three steals in a game three times this year, and is fifth on the team with 16 steals. He needs seven steals to move onto the Nebraska freshman top-10 list.

Energy Guy . . . too

Along with Richardson, senior Paul Velander has also been praised by Sadler for his energy coming off the bench, including following the Saint Louis game. In his postgame press conference that night, Sadler said:

“We’ve got to get the rest of the team to make effort plays like Paul Velander. There’s not a player in the country who makes more effort plays than that guy.”

Velander has come off the bench to hit 36 3-pointers in 13 games, including 10 games with at least three treys apiece. He is fourth on the team in scoring at 9.4 points per game.

Velander is second in the Big 12 Conference and ninth nationally this week in 3-point percentage, as he has hit 48.0 percent from behind the arc.

Velander posted as season-high 14 points with four 3-pointers against UMBC. He has hit double figures just four times this season, including three of the last four games.

He also made his first 2-point basket of the year against UMBC and drew two charges against the Retrievers.

He leads the team with 14 charges taken, including three against each San Jose State and Saint Louis. If the statistic were kept nationally, it’s possible that Velander would lead the nation in charges taken.

Velander’s effort finally rubbed off on his teams against IPFW. NU had six charges taken, each by a different individual, including one by Velander.

Miller ready to roll

Cookie Miller was the only true freshman to play for the Huskers last year when he posted near-record numbers for assists (109) and steals (58). This year, he is trying to take it a step higher as one of the top returning point guards in the Big 12 Conference.

Miller was sixth in the league in assists (3.6 apg) last year and the only freshman in the top 10 for assist-to-turnover ratio (1.7). He was fourth in the Big 12 for steals (1.93), and led the league in Big 12-only contests (2.0 spg).

This season, Miller leads NU with 52 assists and is tied for the team lead with 19 steals.

He has hit 7-of-16 from the floor while averaging 5.7 points, 5.0 assists and 1.3 steals per game over the past three games.

Miller has had at least four assists in nine contests this season, including each of his last five games. Miller’s season high is six assists on four occasions this year, which ties for the fourth-highest total in his career.

He had one of his best games of the season against Alabama State, scoring a season-high nine points while tying his season highs with six assists and four rebounds in 25 minutes. It was the first game he started this season.

Miller came off the bench to efficiently guide the Husker offense in the second half of a comeback victory over Creighton. Miller had five assists and a steal in 15 minutes in the second half as Nebraska came back from 13 points down to earn the win. He finished with season highs in assists (6) and rebounds (4) while adding two steals in the win.

Miller also sparked a struggling Husker squad in the second half against IPFW. He came off the bench and posted six assists, including four in the second half, with four steals to lead the Huskers to a come-from-behind victory.

Former Husker great Cookie Belcher owns the Nebraska freshman record for steals with 87 and holds the NU and Big 12 Conference record with 353 steals in his career. Miller is trying to join Belcher and Erick Strickland as the only Huskers with 100 steals at the end of their sophomore seasons. Belcher had 162 in his first two years while Strickland had 107.


Nebraska Career Steals (since 1978)

1.     Cookie Belcher (1997-2001)........ 353

2.     Erick Strickland (1993-96)........... 257

3.     Venson Hamilton (1996-99)......... 186

4.     Clifford Scales (1988-91)............ 177

5.     Brian Carr (1984-87).................. 159

6.     Tyronn Lue (1996-98)................ 154

7.     Larry Florence (1997-2000)......... 137

8.     Jaron Boone (1993-96).............. 131

9.     Eric Johnson (1988-89)............. 128

       Jack Moore (1979-82)................ 128

--     Ryan Anderson (2007-pres.)........... 88

--     Cookie Miller (2008-pres.).............. 77

--     Sek Henry (2007-pres.)................. 71

Hitting from long range

At 6-4, guard Ryan Anderson may be a little undersized to play in the front court, but he is one of the biggest players on the court when he steps outside the 3-point line. Anderson has made a living with the long ball, hitting 107 treys in his career to rank ninth in NU history.

Despite being one of the best 3-point shooters in the league the past two years, Anderson has struggled some this season. He has hit just 9-of-28 attempts, although he knocked down both shots against Maryland Eastern Shore.

He went 3-of-3 from the field against Florida A&M on Monday but did not attempt a 3-pointer. It was the first time in 30 games, and only the fifth game in his career, that he did not attempt a 3-pointer.

Anderson’s best long-range game this year came with three 3-pointers against Alabama State, marking the 14th time in his career he has had at least three treys in a single game.

Anderson is the only Husker ever to post at least 48 treys in each of his first two years at Nebraska.

Anderson ranks second on the NU freshman list with 48 3-pointers in 2006-07 and last year posted 50 treys to rank third on the Huskers' sophomore chart.

Only Nebraska's all-time 3-point leader, Cary Cochran, made more shots from outside the arc by the end of his sophomore season, as Cochran had 101 through two years.


Nebraska Career 3-Point Field Goals Made

1.     Cary Cochran (1999-2002).......... 268

2.     Eric Piatkowski (1991-94)........... 202

3.     Jaron Boone (1993-96).............. 181

4.     Erick Strickland (1993-96)........... 179

5.     Brian Conklin (2001-04) ............ 176

6.     Cookie Belcher (1997-2001)........ 146

7.     Tyronn Lue (1996-98)................ 145

8.     Joe McCray (2005-06)................ 117

9.     Ryan Anderson (2007-pres.)......... 107

10.   Ray Richardson (1989-90).......... 105

--     Paul Velander (2006-pres.)........... 104

Velander reaching for top 10

Along with Anderson, senior guard Paul Velander hopes to become the second Husker this season to place his name on the top-10 list.

After hitting 4-of-8 from long range on Monday against Florida A&M, Velander needs one 3-pointer to match Ray Richardson’s mark for 10th place in Nebraska history.

Velander has hit at least three 3-pointers in 10 games this year, with a season-high of four against each UMBC and Florida A&M.

He leads the team with 36 3-pointers in 13 games, ranking in the top 100 nationally for treys per game. His 48.0 percent accuracy from beyond the arc ranks second in the league and ninth nationally.

Anderson, Velander AMong Huskers’ most Accurate Duos

Ryan Anderson is not the only 3-point ace for the Huskers as senior guard Paul Velander has also proven to be one of the most accurate long-range shooters in Nebraska history.

The only fifth-year player for the Huskers this season, Velander ranks fourth in NU history for 3-point field-goal percentage at 40.9 percent (104-of-254) while coming off the bench in 72-of-73 contests.

He leads the team with 36 3-pointers this season, including three or more 3s in each of 10 games this season.

 

3-Point FG Pct. (min. 90 att.)    

                                            3FG  3PA    Pct.

1.  Brian Conklin (2001-04)          176  407    .432

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

3.  Jay-R Strowbridge (2007-08)     50  122    .4098

4.  Paul Velander (2006-pres.)        104  254    .4095

5.  Clifford Scales (1988-91)          45  110    .4091

6.  Henry T. Buchanan (1987-88)    67  165    .4061

7.  Chris Cresswell (1990-92)        103  261    .395

8.  Marcus Perry (2006-07)            98  249    .394

9.  Ryan Anderson (2007-pres.)       107  275    .389

10. Ray Richardson (1989-90)       105  278    .378

McCray Looking for more

Guard Toney McCray started the season out strong, scoring game highs with 17 points and nine rebounds in the season opener against San Jose State.

 

McCray hit 6-of-15 shots from the floor in his career debut against the Spartans. He just missed becoming the first Husker freshman to record a double-double in his first career game since Aleks Maric accomplished the feat in 2004-05.

After redshirting last year, he is showing the ability Coach Doc Sadler hoped as McCray has earned his way into the starting lineup in each of the past three contests.

McCray ranks fifth on the team with 7.3 points per game. He is tied for second on the team with 3.6 rebounds per game and leads the squad with nine blocked shots.

McCray has his best stretch of games in his young first season on the court when he scored in double figures three times in four games.

In his next game, McCray hit three 3-pointers against IPFW (3-of-5) after connecting on just 3-of-10 3-point attempts in his first eight games of the season.

McCray had nine points and five boards in the first road game of his career at TCU. He has shown he likes playing on the road as he added 13 points, seven rebounds and two steals at Oregon State.

In his first game in front of a big crowd, McCray settled in nicely, posting six points, five rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals in 23 minutes off the bench against Creighton.

Huskers Roll up Wins At home

When coach Doc Sadler took over the program before the 2006-07 season, Nebraska made winning at home a priority. When adding in the Huskers’ home game against Oregon at the Qwest Center in Omaha (considered a home contest due to RPI standards by NCAA), the Huskers won 31 straight games against non-conference teams, including 26 straight under Sadler.

 

Nebraska tied the school record with 31 consecutive non-conference home wins, a streak that ranked eighth nationally until the Huskers fell to UMBC on Dec. 23.

Following the win over Florida A&M on Monday, Nebraska is now 29-1 under Coach Doc Sadler at home against non-conference opponents.

Before falling to UMBC, Nebraska’s last home loss to a non-conference team came on Dec. 3, 2005 against UAB in a 73-72 setback.

Overall, the Huskers are 42-2 since last suffering consecutive home losses to non-conference teams in 2004-05.

During the school-record tying 31-game home non-conference win streak, NU had one game decided by five or fewer points (two-point win over Creighton this year) and one other decided in overtime (win over Oregon at Qwest Center).

NU’s Longest Non-Conference Home Win Streaks

Games      Dates                                 

31            Dec. 8, 2005 to Dec. 20, 2008

31            Jan. 18, 1963 to Dec. 1, 1971

30            Dec. 30, 1989 to Nov. 27, 1994

16            Dec. 3, 1993 to March 16, 1995

15            Dec. 31, 2002 to Dec. 6, 2004

15            Dec. 23, 1985 to Dec. 4, 1987

14            Dec. 11, 1971 to Dec. 14, 1974

14            Dec. 11, 1948 to Dec. 1, 1951

Comeback Kids

Nebraska not only picked up its second straight win in Lincoln over in-state foe Creighton on Nov. 29, but it also made for one of the more memorable comebacks by the Huskers since the formation of the Big 12 Conference.

Nebraska’s come-from-behind victory was keyed by a strong second-half performance from Steve Harley and Cookie Miller. Harley finished with a game-high 18 points with three steals and had the key assist on Ade Dagunduro’s game-winning basket with 2.7 seconds remaining. Miller posted six assists and two steals and got the Huskers’ offense into high gear after trailing by 13 points at halftime.

The 13-point deficit the Huskers overcame matched the largest comeback under Coach Doc Sadler. It also tied for the second-largest comeback by Nebraska during the Big 12 era, matching the 13-point deficit NU overcame at Texas Tech during Sadler’s first season on the sideline.

The largest deficit Nebraska has rebounded from to win since the formation of the Big 12 Conference was 20 points against Kansas State in the first year of the league (1996-97). KSU also had the biggest halftime lead that NU has overcome in the Big 12 era as the Wildcats led by 18 points at the break.

 

Largest Nebraska Deficits Overcome to Win

(Big 12 era only, since 1996-97)

                                                Deficit

Year        Opponent                  Overcome

1996-97   Kansas State              20 points

2008-09    Creighton                    13 points

2006-07   at Texas Tech             13 points

2002-03   vs. UC Santa Barbara    12 points

1998-99   Texas A&M                12 points

2005-06   Baylor                      11 points

2004-05   Oklahoma State          11 points

2001-02   Colorado                  11 points

2000-01   Missouri                    11 points

1999-2000Eastern Illinois            10 points

1997-98   Baylor                      10 points

2003-04   Creighton (NIT game)    9 points

Nebraska nearly added another fantastic finish to the list as it rallied from a 16-point halftime deficit, and 20-point overall deficit in the first half, to have the final shot at the win against UMBC. The Huskers pulled within two in the final minute and had the ball with less than 8 seconds remaining but came up short, falling by two points, 66-64.

The near comeback against UMBC came just three days after the Huskers rallied from a five-point halftime deficit at home to pull away for a 75-48 victory over IPFW.