Huskers Look for Sweep of Buffaloes
Husker Game Day
Nebraska Game Notes: Click Here
Colorado Game Notes: Click Here
Game Day: Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009
Release Date: Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009
Tipoff Time: 8:05 p.m. CT
Venue: Bob Devaney Sports Center (13,595)
Play-by-play: Mitch Holtus. Color: Rich Zvosec.
Internet TV: ESPN360.com
Radio: Husker Sports Radio Network stations
Play-by-play: Kent Pavelka. Color: Matt Davison.
Internet Radio/Stats: Free on Huskers.com
Satellite Radio: None
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Parking at the Devaney Center: Map (PDF)
Huskers Return Home to Take Aim at Season Sweep of Buffaloes
The Nebraska Cornhuskers return home this week to take on the Colorado Buffaloes on Wednesday, Feb. 18. The teams will tip off at 8:05 p.m. CT at the Bob Devaney Sports Center, where Nebraska has posted a solid 12-3 record this season. The game will the seventh national telecast of a Husker contest this year, as it will be seen around the country on ESPNU with Mitch Holtus calling the action and Rich Zvosec adding color commentary.
All of Nebraska’s games can also 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 calls the action and former Husker Matt Davison provides color commentary.
Nebraska looks to get back on the winning track after suffering its worst defeat of the season last Saturday at then-No. 17 Missouri, 70-47. The Huskers were forced into a season-high 20 turnovers while hitting a season-low 28.6 percent from the floor in the loss.
The Cornhuskers have been solid at home this season, winning 12-of-15 games and posting a winning 3-2 mark in Big 12 Conference play. Nebraska has seen its scoring average raise to 69.5 points per game on 47.3 percent shooting at home while still holding opponents to 56.6 points per contest on 42.3 percent accuracy.
Nebraska will be trying for its sixth league victory of the season. The only years the Huskers have had a record above .500 through 11 Big 12 contests were the 1998-99 (8-3, .727) and 2005-06 (6-5, .545) campaigns.
The Cornhuskers enter the game with the Big 12 Conference’s top defense, allowing 59.0 points per game. NU ranked 13th nationally in scoring defense entering the week. The Buffaloes are ranked last in the Big 12 in scoring offense (65.0 ppg), just behind 10th-place Nebraska (65.7 ppg). CU ranks ninth in scoring defense (67.2 ppg).
At home this year, NU has held three of its first five Big 12 Conference opponents to 55 or fewer points. Overall, the Huskers have limited five of their last seven league foes to 55 or fewer points at the Devaney Center.
Possibly Nebraska’s brightest spot in the loss at nationally ranked Missouri was the fact the Huskers outrebounded MU, 38-36. It was just the second time in league play NU held an advantage on the glass. The other time came on the road against Colorado (+8, 30-22).
Scouting the Buffaloes
The Buffaloes will come into Wednesday’s contest with the Huskers looking to snap a five-game conference losing streak. Colorado has just one league win so far with that coming at home in a 55-49 victory over Iowa State.
Overall, Colorado holds a 9-15 record on the year and 1-9 mark in the conference. CU is 0-5 in league road play and is 1-9 away from Boulder this year, including 0-7 in true road games. The Buffs fell 70-42 in their last road game at Iowa State, but played the previous two road contests within five points at league leaders Oklahoma (77-72) and Kansas (66-61).
In their last contest, the Buffaloes nearly pulled off an upset over Texas before falling 85-76 in overtime. It was CU’s third overtime loss at home, including a two-point setback against Kansas State in extra time. Colorado has a
1-5 record this year in games decided by three points or less.
Against Texas, the Buffs were led by a 34-point outburst from guard Cory Higgins. He hit 11-of-20 from the field and nailed 9-of-11 at the line while adding nine rebounds in 43 minutes.
Higgins is among the league scoring leaders this season, averaging 17.9 points per game on 50.0 percent shooting. He has ranked among the national leaders by hitting 85.5 percent from the free throw line, nailing 141-of-165 attempts. He has also added 5.8 rebounds per game while ranking second on the team with 65 assists and a team-best 48 steals.
Along with Higgins, the Buffs have gotten strong production from Dwight Thorne II, who has averaged 13.2 points while hitting 52.1 percent from the field. Thorne has seen his scoring average raise to 15.1 points per game during league play, again second on the team behind Higgins.
Point guard Nate Tomlinson, a freshman from Australia, paces the squad with 67 assists while adding 7.7 points per game. He posted five assists against just one turnover with five points against Texas on Saturday.
In the front court, the Buffs have gotten a solid first season out of forward Austin Dufault, who has averaged 8.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per game while playing 31.8 minutes per contest.
In their last five games, the Buffs are 0-5 while losing three games by five or fewer points and a fourth in overtime. Higgins has led the team in that frame with 19.0 points per game. Colorado has averaged 60.8 points while allowing teams to hit 50.0 percent from the field and average 70.6 points per game in that span.
Colorado is coached by Jeff Bzdelik (Illinois-Chicago, 1976), who is in his second season heading up the program in Boulder. Bzdelik currently owns a 96-81 career record in his sixth season as a college head coach, including a 21-35 record with the Buffs. He also was head coach for three years at Air Force and has served as head coach of the Denver Nuggets.
Possible Colorado Starting Lineup
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Pt. Rb.
Nate Tomlinson G 6-2 180 7.7 2.9*
Cory Higgins G 6-5 185 17.9 5.8
Dwight Thorne II G 6-2 185 13.2 4.0
Jermyl Jackson-Wilson F 6-6 230 5.5 3.9
Austin Dufault F 6-8 210 8.9 4.0
*assists per game
Nebraska-Colorado Team Comparison
NU Stat CU
65.7______ Points Per Game______ 65.0
59.0___ Points Allowed Per Game___ 67.2
44.7____ Field Goal Percentage____ 46.5
42.1_ Field Goal Percentage Defense_ 46.5
37.7___ 3pt Field Goal Percentage___ 34.4
32.9 3pt Field Goal Percentage Defense 35.7
67.8____ Free Throw Percentage____ 74.1
29.0_____ Rebounds Per Game_____ 27.7
-4.3_______ Rebound Margin______ -5.4
13.3______ Assists Per Game______ 11.8
12.1_____ Turnovers Per Game_____ 13.9
9.0_______ Steals Per Game_______ 6.3
1.7_______ Blocks Per Game_______ 1.7
17.7_______ Fouls Per Game______ 18.3
The Series vs. the Buffaloes
Nebraska and Colorado enter the contest Wednesday meeting for the 144th time in series history. The Cornhuskers own a 75-68 series lead after defeating the Buffs 55-53 in Boulder two weeks ago.
The Huskers only own a seven-game lead in the overall series but have dominated the matchups in Lincoln. NU owns a 49-14 lead in the series on its home court, including a 27-6 advantage over the Buffs at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
Nebraska has won 10 of the 12 matchups on its home court during the Big 12 era. NU has won four straight over the Buffs in Lincoln.
Over the last four years, Nebraska has dominated the series in Lincoln, winning those four contests by an average margin of 17.8 points per game.
The Huskers have won the past two meetings at home under coach Doc Sadler by 21 and 19 points, respectively.
Nebraska has held Colorado to 55 or fewer points in four of the last five matchups overall, including both of the contests in Lincoln over the past two years. CU has scored 50 and 49 points, respectively, on the Huskers’ home court the past two seasons.
Two weeks ago, the Huskers held on down the stretch in a see-saw affair, winning 55-53 in Boulder. Steve Harley and Ryan Anderson each had 12 points to pace the NU offense, which hit 47.4 percent from the field but connected on just 54.2 percent at the line to let the Buffs stay in the game. CU hit 7-of-11 shots from the floor in the final three minutes to close the gap to one point inside the final minute before NU held on for its second straight road win.
Last year in Lincoln, Nebraska celebrated Senior Day for center Aleks Maric vs. the Buffs in the last regular-season home game of the year. Maric scored 17 points with 16 rebounds, two blocks, three steals and a career-best six assists without a turnover as NU rolled to a 68-49 victory. Steve Harley added 14 points and Paul Velander came off the bench to add 16 points including five 3-pointers.
Here is a quick look at the Huskers through games of Feb. 14:
Quick team notes
Since the start of the 2008 league season, the Huskers have held 10 Big 12 opponents to under 60 points in a game, including two of their last three games (Colorado, 53 points; Texas, 55).
Overall, the Huskers have held Big 12 opponents to 70 or fewer points in 16 of their last 19 games against league teams, including last year’s league tournament.
NU enters the week with the Big 12 Conference’s top scoring defense, allowing just 59.0 points per game. The Huskers entered the week ranked 13th nationally in scoring defense despite allowing 70 points on the road at then-No. 17/19 Missouri on Saturday.
Nebraska has forced three conference opponents (Kansas State, 25; Kansas, 21; Texas Tech, 20) into 20 or more turnovers this season.
Nebraska is second in the league and seventh nationally in turnover margin at +5.6. The Huskers are second in the league in fewest turnovers at 12.1 per game and have forced 17.7 miscues per contest.
The Huskers were also in the top 75 nationally entering the week in turnovers per game (27th), steals per game (19th), 3-point field-goal percentage (46th), assist-to-turnover ratio (66th) and scoring margin (71st).
The Huskers held each of their first 16 opponents under 67 points, becoming the first NU squad since 1981-82 to accomplish the feat. In 23 games, only three teams (No. 6/5 Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and No. 17/19 Missouri) have reached 70 points against the Huskers this year.
NU tied the school record (originally set at Iowa State in 2002) with only three turnovers against Maryland Eastern Shore. NU also had just six turnovers against Saint Louis, seven at No. 6/5 Oklahoma and eight vs. Kansas.
The Huskers are averaging 69.5 points per game at home while hitting 47.3 percent (363-of-768) from the field at the Devaney Center. On the road, NU has averaged 58.4 points on 39.7 percent (157-of-395) shooting.
The 2009 Huskers recorded a .500 or better mark at the midway point of conference play for just the fourth time in the Big 12 era (1998, 4-4; 1999, 5-3; 2006, 5-3; 2009, 4-4).
With victories at Texas Tech and Colorado, Nebraska won consecutive road games in conference play for the first time since 2006-07, when the Huskers won at Missouri and came from 13 down to win at Texas Tech. Overall it is just the fifth time since the formation of the league that the Huskers won consecutive road league contests.
Nebraska posted its second double-figure comeback victory of the season by erasing a 12-point, second-half deficit vs. then-No. 16/17 Texas to win 58-55. It marked the ninth straight season NU has defeated a ranked team. NU currently owns a 5-9 record against ranked squads under Doc Sadler.
Individual quick notes
Senior guard Ade Dagunduro has posted at least 20 points in a game three times in Big 12 Conference games. He had not scored 20 points in any of his first 46 career games at Nebraska.
Dagunduro is averaging a team-best 13.9 points per game over the last 16 contests while hitting 58.6 percent from the field.
In conference home games, Dagunduro has led the team with 16.2 points per game while hitting 51.7 percent from the floor. He also leads the squad with 5.4 rebounds per game at home. He is the only Husker averaging double figures at home in conference play, as NU has gained 64.6 points per game, but has allowed only 60.2 points per contest.
Earlier this season Dagunduro hit 26-of-32 (81.3 percent) over a four-game span (ending with Maryland Eastern Shore).
Dagunduro tied the school single-game record by hitting all nine field-goal attempts against UMBC, the second-best single-game 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.
Sophomore Cookie Miller posted a season scoring high four times in conference play this season. He started the stretch by gaining 11 points at Iowa State and added 15 points against Kansas State. Miller came back to tie his career high with 19 points twice, first against Oklahoma State and then on the road at Texas Tech.
Miller leads the team with 83 assists. He is going to become the first Husker to lead NU in assists as a freshman and sophomore since Tyronn Lue in 1995-96 and 1996-97.
With 17 more assists, Miller will join Tyronn Lue as the only Huskers in program history to post at least 100 assists in each of their freshman and sophomore seasons.
Sek Henry has been proficient with the basketball on the year, hitting 47.9 percent from the field, including a solid 40.0 percent from 3-point range.
Henry has scored in double figures 12 times in 23 games this season, after scoring in double figures just nine times in his first 64 games.
Back to the 50s
Nebraska has been one of the top defensive teams in the nation each of the past two seasons under coach Doc Sadler.
The Huskers led the Big 12 Conference in scoring defense last year, allowing just 60.7 points per game to rank 18th nationally. It was the Huskers’ best scoring defense since 1982 (55.3 ppg).
Nebraska entered the week ranked 13th nationally in scoring defense at 59.0 points per game. In league play, the Huskers are also first in scoring defense, allowing 63.0 points per game in Big 12-only games.
Nebraska is one of only two league teams (also Kansas, 63.8 ppg) allowing less than 67.0 points per game in Big 12 play.
Through 10 Big 12 games, the Huskers have held four teams to 55 or fewer points, including Missouri (51), Kansas State (51), at Colorado (53) and Texas (55). Nebraska previously had held four league teams to 55 or fewer points in coach Doc Sadler’s first two seasons combined.
Before this year against Colorado (53 points) and Texas (55), the last time Nebraska held consecutive Big 12 opponents to 55 or fewer points was 1999 when NU held Iowa State and Colorado to 52 points apiece in back-to-back road games.
Dating to last season, Nebraska has held five of its last seven Big 12 Conference foes at the Devaney Center to 55 or fewer points. Twice in that frame the Huskers held teams to under 50 points.
Rolling on the Road
Nebraska has seen its share of road struggles in the past but the Huskers put that behind them on Saturday, Jan. 31, when NU snapped a three-game losing streak with an 82-69 victory over Texas Tech in Lubbock. The win also snapped a four-game regular-season Big 12 road losing streak dating to last year.
Nebraska made it two straight league road wins when it defeated Colorado 55-53 in Boulder. It was the fewest points Nebraska has allowed on the road since giving up 42 points in a 15-point victory at Kansas State in 2006.
The Huskers broke out quickly in both games before making key plays down the stretch to hold on for victory.
Nebraska hit 55.1 percent (27-of-49) from the field against Texas Tech, easily its best performance on the road this season. The Huskers followed up with a 47.4-percent effort at Colorado. NU had not hit better than 43 percent from the field in its first five games away from Lincoln this year.
The last time Nebraska won a league game when scoring 55 or fewer points was 1998 in a 53-43 victory over Oklahoma in the Devaney Center.
The last time Nebraska won a conference road game when scoring 55 or fewer points was Feb. 4, 1984, at Kansas State when the Huskers won 47-46.
When the Huskers allowed Colorado just 53 points, it was only the 12th time in the Big 12 era that Nebraska held its opponent to under 60 points in a road contest. The Huskers improved to 9-3 in those games.
Fewest Points Allowed by Nebraska in
Conference Road Game (Big 12 era only)
No. Opponent, Year Points Allowed Score
1. Kansas State, 2006 42 W, 57-42
2. Colorado, 1999 52 W, 57-52
Iowa State, 1999 52 L, 47-52
4. Colorado, 2009 53 W, 55-53
5. Colorado, 2008 55 L, 51-55
Baylor, 1999 55 W, 68-55
6. Oklahoma State, 2006 57 W, 59-57
7. Texas A&M, 1998 58 W, 75-58
8. Texas A&M, 2008 59 W, 65-59
Texas Tech, 2007 59 W, 61-59
Kansas, 2005 59 L, 57-59
Kansas, 1999 59 W, 64-59
The 55.1 percent shooting at TTU is NU’s best in a league road game since hitting 59.0 percent from the field in a 65-59 win at No. 22 Texas A&M last season, last road victory in league regular-season play before downing the Red Raiders.
NU has now hit at least 50.0 percent from the field in three of its last eight Big 12 regular-season road games dating to last year.
The Huskers’ 82 points at Texas Tech were their most in a Big 12 game since March 5, 2007, when NU scored 85 in a win over Oklahoma State at home. That was a span of 26 games before the Huskers topped the 80-point plateau (home, away or at Big 12 Championship).
The last time Nebraska scored at least 80 points on the road was an 87-83 overtime loss at No. 7 Oklahoma State on Feb. 21, 2004, a span of 37 Big 12 regular-season road games before topping the 80-point mark again.
The Huskers’ last road victory when scoring at least 80 points came on Feb. 20, 2002, when Nebraska won 82-72 at Texas A&M.
Nebraska Road Scoring Margin (Big 12 games only)
No. Opponent, Year Margin (Score)
Texas A&M, 1998 +17 (75-58)
Kansas State, 2006 +15 (57-42)
Oklahoma, 1999 +15 (96-81)
Texas Tech, 2009 +13 (82-69)
Baylor, 2005 +11 (74-63)
Iowa State, 2006 +10 (73-63)
Texas A&M, 2002 +10 (82-72)
Nebraska has had its ups and downs at the free throw line this season, but one of the better efforts came at just the right time in a road game at Texas Tech. The Huskers hit 76.7 percent (23-of-30) from the line vs. the Red Raiders, including 80.8 percent (21-of-26) in the second period to pull away for an 82-69 victory.
The Huskers had entered the game hitting 68.1 percent from the charity stripe.
The 76.7 percent was Nebraska’s second-best effort this season when attempting at least 20 free throws in a game. The only time NU topped the mark was when it hit 87.1 percent (27-of-31) against Oklahoma State a week earlier.
Senior guard Ade Dagunduro did most of the hard work, hitting all 10 of his attempts from the line. He entered the game hitting 69.0 percent from the free throw line on the season.
Dagunduro became just the fifth Husker in the Big 12 era to hit all of his free throws when attempting at least 10 in a game, and the second under coach Doc Sadler. Overall, he’s the 12th Husker since 1982 to accomplish the feat.
Perfect Games at FT Line since 1982 (min. 10 att.)
Player Opponent (date) FT-FTA
Ade Dagunduro... at Texas Tech (1/31/09) 10-10
Charles Richardson Jr. at Missouri (2/3/07) 10-10
Nate Johnson..... Tennessee (12/13/03) 10-10
Jake Muhleisen... Kansas St. (2/9/02) 11-11
Tyronn Lue........ at Kansas (1/3/98). 10-10
Jamar Johnson... at S. Utah (11/30/91) 10-10
Tony Farmer...... at Oklahoma (3/8/91) 12-12
Beau Reid.......... Wyoming (1/23/89) 10-10
Pete Manning..... at Oklahoma (3/5/88) 11-11
Dave Hoppen..... at Oklahoma (1/29/85) 10-10
Dave Hoppen..... S. Colorado (11/29/84) 11-11
Jack Moore........ Oklahoma St. (2/10/82) 15-15
Strong Down the Stretch
Under the guidance of coach Doc Sadler the past two years, Nebraska has been a strong team in possibly the most important part of the season: the stretch run in February. When other teams are starting to wear down, Sadler’s squads the past two seasons have gone strong, finding nearly as much success as any team in the league.
NOTE: Because of bye weeks, not all teams play the same amount of games in the month of February each season. Records through Monday, Feb. 16, 2009.
February Big 12 Records (by wins; 2006 to present)
No. Team Record
1. Texas 16-5
2. Kansas 15-4
3. Missouri 13-6
4. Nebraska 11-8
Texas A&M 11-8
6. Kansas State 10-10
Texas Tech 10-10
9. Oklahoma State 9-10
10. Iowa State 6-13
11. Baylor 5-15
12. Colorado 2-16
Nebraska received some significant offense from unexpected places during Big 12 Conference play.
Cookie Miller, the Huskers’ assist leader (83) this season, has averaged 9.0 points per game in league action to rank second on the squad. Despite hitting just 41.2 percent from the field, he is second on the team in field-goal percentage among players with at least 60 attempts. He is also leadsing the squad at 82.8 percent (24-of-29) from the line while averaging at team-high 32.1 minutes per game in league action.
Miller has set a season scoring high four times in league play. Miller had 11 points at Iowa State and came back with 15 at home against Kansas State. He then posted a career-high tying 19 points against Oklahoma State at home and then again at Texas Tech.
Ryan Anderson led NU with 19 points and seven rebounds against Oklahoma and came back with 14 points and eight rebounds against Oklahoma State. His 19 points at Oklahoma were a season high and the 33 points over those two games equaled his total from his previous eight games combined.
Anderson added a team-high tying 12 points in a road win at Colorado. He has averaged 7.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in Big 12 play, ranking fifth and second on the squad, respectively.
Redshirts Stepping Up
Nebraska coach Doc Sadler said last season that it was important to build depth within the program, including building a wealth of players who are in the program for five years. To accomplish that, three players – Toney McCray, Brandon Richardson and Alonzo Edwards – sat out last season to improve their skills and gain strength in the weight room.
That move is starting to pay off this season, especially with Richardson and McCray as they have made some big shots for the Huskers early in their first run through the Big 12 Conference.
Richardson, who missed the first four conference games with an injury, scored 11 points at Texas Tech and came back with a career-best 12 points at Missouri.
In league play, Richardson has hit 10-of-18 from the field, including 7-of-12 from 3-point range. He has averaged 5.7 points in 12.7 minutes per game during Big 12 action.
McCray has shown a knack for hitting some big shots at key times during league play, many of the times when NU was in an offensive funk.
He hit a big 3-pointer to jump-start the Husker offense and help NU hold off Missouri in the league opener, and added a pair of clutch shots with the shot clock expiring late in the win at Colorado. He added eight points and five rebounds in the win over No. 16/17 Texas, scoring the go-ahead basket vs. UT with less than two minutes remaining to put Nebraska ahead for good.
Stealing the Spotlight
Nebraska has been among the national leaders all season for steals, entering this week ranked No. 19 in the country. The Huskers currently average 9.0 steals per game to rank second in the league. Overall seven Huskers have posted at least 18 steals this year, with five averaging at least 1.0 steal per game.
It's much of the same from a pair of familiar faces when it comes to steals. Junior guard Ryan Anderson and sophomore guard Cookie Miller have shown an impressive court awareness since joining the Huskers and have been among the teams' top defenders despite their size.
Anderson became just the 14th player in Nebraska history to record 100 steals in a career when he picked off one pass against Kansas on Jan. 28. At his current pace (10th in the Big 12 entering the week), Anderson could finish this season just outside of the Nebraska top 10.
Miller ranks ninth in the league in steals at 1.6 per contest and has a chance to reach 100 before the end of his sophomore season. He moved into the Nebraska all-time top 15 with one steal in the victory over No. 16/17 Texas.
Miller is trying to join Cookie Belcher and Erick Strickland as the only Huskers ever with at least 100 steals at the end of their sophomore seasons. Belcher had 162 in his first two years while Strickland had 107. 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.
Overall the Huskers have four players ranked in the top 11 in the Big 12 Conference listing for steals. Along with Anderson and Miller, Steve Harley leads the Huskers and ranks eighth in the league at 1.7 steals per game (38 total) while Ade Dagunduro broke into the top 15 recently. He averages 1.3 per game (31 total) to rank 13th.
Nebraska Career Steals (since 1978)
No. Player, Years Steals
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
11. Jamar Johnson, 1992-94 126
12. Carl Hayes, 1990-92 125
13. Greg Downing, 1980-83 118
14. Ryan Anderson, 2007-present 104
15. Cookie Miller, 2008-present 93
-- Sek Henry, 2007-present 75
Turning Teams Over
Nebraska has turned up the defensive pressure 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 also forced a season-high tying 25 turnovers against Kansas State on Jan. 17.
The Huskers have now forced 407 turnovers through 23 games, while allowing teams to record just 255 assists on 461 baskets.
The Huskers have forced at least 20 turnovers in nine games this year. Last year, the Huskers forced 20 turnovers in a game six times all season.
Most Opponent Turnovers in 2008-09
San Jose State 25
Kansas State 25
Oregon State 24
Arkansas-Pine Bluff 23
South Carolina State 21
Texas Tech 20
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 seven times this season and at least eight steals in 19 games this season.
Nine Huskers have recorded a steal this year, including five averaging at least 1.0 steal per game.
The most steals in a game by a single Husker this season is five on two occasions, most recently by sophomore guard Cookie Miller who tied his career high with five at Texas Tech. Junior guard Ryan Anderson also had five steals against Kansas State on Jan. 17. Four other players have recorded eight games with four steals each.
The defensive pressure has helped Nebraska to a 437-278 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.
Despite posting a season-high 20 turnovers at No. 17/19 Missouri on Feb. 14, NU has averaged just 12.1 turnovers per game this season to enter the week ranked 27th nationally in the category.
The Huskers fell to second in the Big 12 Conference after the performance at Missouri, trailing Iowa State which has posted a league-best 12.0 turnovers per game. In conference-only games, NU is third in the league standings for turnovers per game at 12.5
The Huskers entered the week ranked No. 7 nationally in turnover margin. Nebraska currently has a +5.6 margin to rank second in the Big 12 Conference entering the week.
The Huskers tied the school record by committing just three turnovers against Maryland Eastern Shore. NU equaled the team mark originally 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’s Best Turnover Games of 2008-09
Opponent NU Turnovers
Maryland Eastern Shore 3*
Saint Louis 6
* - tied school single-game record
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 posted 11 turnovers at Texas Tech, marking the 10th time overall – and second straight road game – under coach Doc Sadler that NU had 11 or fewer turnovers in a game away from Lincoln. It was the third time this season (also at Oregon State, 11 TO; 7 at Oklahoma).
Nebraska had only three turnovers in the first half against Alabama State. NU also had two turnovers in the second half against Saint Louis, three in the first half at No. 6/5 Oklahoma and three in the second frame vs. KU, giving the Huskers six halves this season (including each half vs. UMES) with three or fewer turnovers.
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 37.7 percent from long range. Last season, Nebraska hit 34.2 percent from beyond the arc.
Sek Henry has become one of the team’s most improved 3-point shooters this year, as he has hit 40.0 percent (24-of-60) from long range. He came into the year hitting just 26 percent in his first two years, draining 37-of-140 attempts. He already has more 3s this year than either of his first two seasons (17 and 20, respectively).
Paul Velander has been effective this season from beyond the arc as he is hitting 43.5 percent to currently rank fourth in the Big 12 Conference.
Velander is also 10th in the league in
3-pointers made. He currently has 54 treys this year despite hitting just 6-of-28 from 3-point range over his last six games.
Nebraska has hit better than 40 percent from the 3-point line as a team six times this season, including at least 50 percent four times this year. The Huskers hit at least 50 percent from long range twice against Big 12 Conference teams (vs. Kansas and Texas).
The Huskers have hit 10 or more 3-pointers three times this season, including against Alabama State (14), Florida A&M (10) and Kansas State (10).
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.
Nebraska had another game where all the shots were falling as the Huskers hit 10-of-18 (55.6 percent) against Kansas State on Jan. 17. Velander hit 6-of-10 by himself, while Cookie Miller connected on all three of his attempts. Nebraska hit 50.0 percent overall from the field in the game.
Defense Among NCAA’s Best
Nebraska is among the Big 12 and national leaders in several defensive stats in 2008-09.
Nebraska was 13th in the country in scoring defense entering the week. NU currently leads the Big 12 by allowing just 59.0 ppg while no other team in the league is holding opponents below 63.5 points per game.
The Huskers did not allow any of their first 16 opponents to score more than 66 points in a game. It was the longest streak to open a season without allowing an opponent to reach 67 points since the 1981-82 NU squad did it through the first 18 games of the year.
Only one other time (2003-04) in the 3-point era before this season 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 Nebraska held six consecutive opponents to fewer than 60 points in any stretch 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.
Nebraska has forced at least 20 turnovers in a game nine times this season, including three times in Big 12 Conference play (Kansas State, 25; Kansas, 21; Texas Tech, 20).
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.
Keeping Opponents in Line
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’s
3-point defense has improved dramatically with the change in the line.
Nebraska’s 3-point defense this year has been solid as opponents have hit just 32.9 percent from beyond the arc. Last season, opponents hit 36.4 percent on the year.
The Huskers currently rank third in the Big 12 Conference in that category. NU has held eight teams under 25.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc this season.
Eleven of Nebraska’s 23 opponents have been held to five or fewer 3-pointers in a game, including five with three or fewer.
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 23 games, Nebraska trails on the glass by over four rebounds per game
(-4.3 rpg, 33.3 to 29.0).
Nebraska has trailed on the glass in 16 contests this season, including each of its first seven league contests before outrebounding Colorado. Overall, the Huskers have trailed on the boards in 13 of the past 17 games.
NU has trailed on the boards in all but two of its Big 12 contests, and has a -5.6 rebounding margin in league action. Nebraska’s 38 rebounds against No. 17/19 Missouri were its second-highest total of the season and just the second time in league play NU outrebounded (38-36) an opponent. Nebraska’s +8 advantage at Colorado was its biggest against a league squad.
Nebraska, which is listed as the shortest team in Division I by kenpom.com, held nearly even on the boards against Texas, the Big 12 Conference’s tallest team. UT only posted a +4 (34-30) advantage on the glass over the Huskers.
NU has had at least 10 offensive rebounds in a game seven times, most recently at Missouri when 11 of the Huskers’ 38 boards were on the offensive glass. NU also had at least 10 offensive boards at No. 6/5 Oklahoma (10) and against Kansas (13) and Texas (11) at home.
Dagunduro Getting on Track
After a sluggish start to the season, senior guard Ade Dagunduro has turned up the intensity on both ends of the court during league play and now should be in the mix for All-Big 12 honors following the year.
One of the most athletic players in the league, Dagunduro has recently brought his scoring average up to lead the squad with 11.8 points per game. He has scored in double figures in 12 of the past 16 games, including at least 17 points six times.
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 has averaged a team-best 13.9 ppg on 58.5 percent shooting (82-of-140) over the past 16 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).
The senior posted a then-career high in the Big 12 opener, gaining a game-high 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting while helping Nebraska to its third league-opening win in 13 years. He also had five rebounds and three steals in 29 minutes.
Dagunduro had the best offensive game of his career against Kansas at home, posting a career-high 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting. He added five rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block in 29 minutes while helping the Huskers remain within one point in the final 30 seconds.
Dagunduro recorded his second straight 20-point performance while helping Nebraska to a road victory over Texas Tech. He hit 5-of-6 from the field and 10-of-10 at the line for 20 points, while adding a season-high tying six rebounds with three assists and three steals.
Possibly Dagunduro’s biggest points of the non-conference 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 was the exact opposite of last year, which has been 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 last year, he gained only 5.8 points per game while knocking down just 40.4 percent from the field.
Senior guard Ade Dagunduro had a breakout game against UMBC as he posted 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.
Miller Ready to Lend a Hand
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 83 assists (3.7 apg) and is second the team with 35 steals (1.6 apg). He is one of seven Huskers with at least 18 steals.
Miller has 44 turnovers to go with his 83 assists, ranking in the top seven in the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.9-to-1).
After posting a season-high five miscues with one assist against Kansas State on Jan. 17, Miller rebounded to have his best game distributing the ball at Oklahoma. He had seven assists with just two turnovers against the No. 6/5 Sooners on the road.
Miller has had at least four assists in 13 contests this season, including five straight games to end non-conference play. He has had six assists four times.
Miller was efficient in leading the Huskers to a win in the Big 12 opener against Missouri. He had three assists against two turnovers in 36 minutes, but helped NU continually break the Tigers’ press. His defense also helped NU force MU into 16 turnovers with only 10 assists after the Tigers came into the game ranked third nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio. Miller also drew three charges, all in the first half, against MU.
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.
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 this season than at any point in his career. He is averaging 9.0 ppg to rank third on the team, and has recorded 12 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 vs. South Carolina State.
Henry added 13 points against Missouri to help Nebraska to a win in the Big 12 opener. It was the second-highest point total of his career against a Big 12 squad, trailing the 14 points he scored last season at Missouri.
Overall, he has scored at least 10 points five times in league play this season after posting double figures just four times in his first two Big 12 campaigns combined (35 games including league tourney).
He has posted double figure points 12 times in 23 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 hit 69-of-144 shots (47.9 percent) from the field, including 24-of-60 (40.0 percent) from 3-point range this season. 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 fifth on the team with 23 steals through 23 contests.
Henry raised his free throw average significantly of late, hitting 35 of his last 47 (74.5 percent) attempts over the past 13 games. 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, and followed with a 7-of-9 effort against SCSU.
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.”
After sitting out the first four games of Big 12 Conference action with an injury, Richardson came back to hit 2-of-3, including both 3-point attempts, to score eight points in 15 minutes against Oklahoma State.
Richardson scored 11 points in a road victory at Texas Tech. He came off the bench to hit 4-of-5 shots, including 3-of-4 from long range, in 19 minutes.
In another strong road performance, Richardson scored a career-best 12 points on 3-of-5 shooting to lead Nebraska at No. 17/19 Missouri. He added four rebounds, two assists and a steal in 20 minutes.
He has now hit 15 of his last 27 shots overall, including 9-of-18 from long range. The recent aggressiveness with ball came as a direct result of the coaching staff telling Richardson to focused on attacking on the offensive end.
Against UAPB, he scored a season-high nine points and had two assists without a turnover in 23 minutes of action.
He posted 13 points over the last two games of non-conference play after scoring just 12 points in his previous eight games.
He has posted at least three steals in a game three times this year, and is seventh on the team with 18 steals.
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 54
3-pointers in 23 games, including 12 games with at least three treys apiece. He is fourth on the team in scoring at 8.1 points per game.
Paul Velander has hit at least three 3-pointers in 12-of-23 games this season. Dating to last year, he has hit at least three treys in 17 of his last 29 games. Before that, he had hit at least three 3-pointers in a game just six times in his first 51 career games.
Velander, who led the nation in 3-point percentage on Jan. 23 (50.0 percent, 48-of-96), has struggled in his last six games. He has hit just 6-of-28 attempts (21.4 percent) from long range in that span, including going 0-of-2 from beyond the arc at Texas Tech. It was the first game this season he did not have a 3-pointer and snapped a streak of 22 straight games with a trey dating to last year.
Velander is currently fourth in the Big 12 Conference in 3-point percentage, hitting 43.5 percent from behind the arc.
Before his recent slump, Velander posted as career-high tying 20 points behind a career-best six 3-pointers against Kansas State on Jan. 17.
Velander leads the team with 21 charges taken in 23 games, 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. As a team, NU has taken 43 charges in 23 games this year.
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 12 games, Balham has averaged 13.3 minutes per game, with a total of 159 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 chronic knee issues.
He played 18, 14, 17, 14, 10 and 12 minutes, respectively, between the Maryland Eastern Shore and Oklahoma games, the first time in his career he gained at least 10 minutes in more than three straight games. Overall, he has played at least 10 minutes in 11 of the last 13 games.
Balham played a Big 12-high 17 minutes against Texas, the tallest team in the conference. He fared extremely well, posting six points on 2-of-3 shooting while adding three boards, including two on the offensive end, as Nebraska was outrebounded by just four boards, 34-30.
He came back to log another 17 minutes at No. 17/19 Missouri, posting a team-best-tying seven rebounds (three offensive) with two points.
Balham tied his career high with eight rebounds against Florida A&M. He added six boards on the road at Texas Tech for his most in conference play this year. Of his 47 rebounds in the past 13 games, 24 are offensive boards.
Balham scored a season-high seven points in consecutive games near the end of the non-conference slate this season. The only time Balham has scored more than seven points (his totals against SCSU and UMES) 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.
Velander Reaches Top 10
Senior guard Paul Velander is the second Husker this season to place his name on the Nebraska career 3-pointers made top-10 list, following junior guard Ryan Anderson.
Velander hit 1-of-2 from long range in the Big 12 opener against Missouri to match Ray Richardson’s mark for 10th place. He now is eighth in Nebraska history with 122 treys. He moved past teammate Ryan Anderson as Velander posted six 3-pointers against Kansas State on Jan. 17.
Velander has hit at least three 3-pointers in 12 games this year, with a career-high six against Kansas State (6-of-10 overall).
Velander leads the team with 54 3-pointers in 23 games despite struggling lately. He has hit just 6-of-28 over the past six games.
Velander’s 43.5 percent accuracy from beyond the arc is currently fourth in the Big 12 Conference.
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. Paul Velander (2006-pres.)........... 122
9. Ryan Anderson (2007-pres.)......... 118
10. Joe McCray (2005-06)................ 117
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 118 treys in his career to rank 10th in NU history.
Despite being one of the best 3-point shooters in the league the past two years, Anderson has struggled this season. He has hit 20-of-62 attempts (32.3 percent) after coming into the season hitting better than 39 percent in his career.
Anderson’s best long-range game this year came with four 3-pointers at No. 6/5 Oklahoma, marking the 15th time in his career he has had at least three treys in a single game. He also had three treys earlier this season against Alabama State.
He went 3-of-3 from the field against Florida A&M but did not attempt a 3-pointer. It was the first time in 30 games that he did not attempt a 3-pointer in a game. He also did not attempt a trey at Texas Tech, just the sixth game in his career he did not shoot from long range.
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.
McCray Starts Strong
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 and 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.
McCray ranks seventh on the team with 6.0 points per game. He is fifth on the team with 3.1 rebounds per game and leads the squad with 13 blocked shots.
McCray played inside most of the first 18 games of the season, but moved back onto the wing before the Kansas game, which was the first contest in this season that he did not play any minutes. He came back to hit 8-of-18 from the floor over the past four games, including a 3-of-3 effort at Colorado.
McCray was key in NU’s victories over Colorado and Texas. Against CU, he hit a pair of tough, contested shots with the shot clock under three seconds, keeping Nebraska out front in the narrow two-point victory. In the game vs. Texas, he posted eight points on 4-of-7 shooting, including the go-ahead basket with under two minutes remaining. He also added five rebounds vs. the Longhorns, with a key rebound with less than 90 seconds left to play.
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. Overall, he is 9-of-24 this season from long range.
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.
In his first Big 12 Conference tilt, McCray posted five points with one rebound in five minutes. His 3-pointer late in the second half was a needed offensive spark as the Huskers held on for a victory over Missouri.
In Big 12 Conference play, McCray has hit 50.0 percent (17-of-34) from the floor while averaging 4.2 points per game.
Under coach Doc Sadler, the Nebraska Cornhuskers have become a team that is hardly ever out of a contest as it has shown the determination and will to come back repeatedly in difficult situations.
Nebraska’s most recent account of a major comeback was against No. 16/17 Texas at home on Feb. 7. The Huskers trailed by 12 points early in the second half and by 10 points with just under 11 minutes remaining. NU continued to chip away at the lead and went ahead with less than two minutes remaining before Ade Dagunduro’s 3-pointer in the final minute sealed the 58-55 victory.
It was the second time this season Nebraska posted a significant come-from-behind win.
Against Creighton, the Huskers were 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 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.
By coming back from 12 points down against Texas, the Huskers made their ninth double-digit comeback against league teams in the Big 12 Conference era. It was the second time under Sadler, as the Huskers came back from 13 points down on the road against Texas Tech in 2007.
The 13-point deficit the Huskers overcame against Creighton matched the largest comeback under Coach Doc Sadler. It tied for the second-largest comeback by Nebraska during the Big 12 era, matching the 13-point deficit NU overcame at Texas Tech.
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)
Year Opponent Overcome
1996-97 Kansas State 20 points
2008-09 Creighton 13 points
2006-07 at Texas Tech 13 points
2008-09 No. 16/17 Texas 12 points
2002-03 vs. UC Santa Barbara 12 points
1998-99 Texas A&M 12 points
2005-06 Baylor 11 points
2004-05 No. 4 Oklahoma State 11 points
2001-02 Colorado 11 points
2000-01 Missouri 11 points
1999-2000 Eastern 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 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.
In an continuing theme, NU fell behind by 13 points at Iowa State before battling back to tie the game at 45-45 with under seven minutes to play. With 2:13 remaining, NU trailed by just two points, 55-53, but saw the Cyclones go on a 10-0 run to end the game.