Brandon Richardson and the Huskers head to Creighton on Sunday.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Look to Bounce back at No. 22 Creighton

By NU Athletic Communications

Game: 7
2011-12 Record: 4-2
Head coach: Doc Sadler
                Record at Nebraska: 93-73 (6th year)
                Record at Division I: 141-91 (8th year)
                Career Record: 261-130 (14th year)

Game: 7
2011-12 Record: 6-0
Head Coach: Greg McDermott
                Record at Creighton: 29-16 (2nd year)
                Career Record: 309-211 (18 years)

Television: KMTV (Ch. 3 in Omaha)
                Play-by-Play: Travis Justice
                Color: Nick Bahe
Internet: HuskersNside (subscription required)
Radio: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network (including KLIN 1400 AM in Lincoln; KFAB 1110  AM in Omaha; KRVN 880 AM in Lexington)
                Play-by-play: Kent Pavelka
                Color: Matt Davison
Internet Radio/Stats: Free on
Satellite Radio: Ch. 137 on Sirius

Huskers Look to Bounce back at No. 22 Creighton Sunday Afternoon
The Nebraska basketball team hits the road for the second time this season, as the Huskers make the short trek to Omaha, Neb., to take on the Creighton Bluejays this Sunday, Dec. 4.

Tipoff at the CenturyLink Center is set for 4:05 p.m. and the game will be shown in Omaha on KMTV with Travis Justice and Nick Bahe on the call. In addition, Saturday's game will also be streamed on HuskersNside (subscription required).

The Huskers' game at Creighton will also be carried across Nebraska on the 30-station IMG Husker Sports Radio Network with Kent Pavelka and Matt Davison on the call. The game can also be heard on SIRIUS Ch. 137, on the web at and season audio packages are also available for purchase on the Huskers' App for your iPhone or iPod Touch.

The Huskers are 4-2 on the season and look to bounce back from a tough 55-53 loss to Wake Forest Wednesday night in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. In that game, Wake Forest's C.J. Harris hit a layup in the final seconds for the winning margin in a game that saw nine ties and seven lead changes. Nebraska was too reliant on the 3-point shot, going 6-of-22 from long range in its lowest offensive output of the season. The Huskers, who were averaging 19.4 free throw attempts in the first five games, got to the line only three times against the Demon Deacons, spoiling a defensive effort that held Wake Forest to its season low point total. The Demon Deacons came into Lincoln averaging 75.2 points per game in its first six contests.

The Huskers will need another outstanding defensive performance on Sunday, as Creighton comes into Sunday's game with a 6-0 record following an 85-83 win at San Diego State on Wednesday. In that game, the Bluejays overcame a 17-point deficit for a win in one of the toughest places to play. Doug McDermott leads Creighton with 23.7 points per game, as the Bluejays are among the national leaders in scoring at 88.8 points per game and shooting 53 percent from the field, including 54 percent from 3-point range.

Sunday's game is Nebraska's second road game of the year, as the Huskers are 1-0 away from the Devaney Center, pulling out a 64-61 double overtime win at USC on Nov. 14. The Huskers are looking for their first win in Omaha since the 2004 NIT.

Husker Tip Ins
1) Brandon Ubel had a career high five assists in Wednesday's loss to Wake Forest. Ubel's previous career best was three set twice last year. As a freshman, he had just three assists in 507 minutes of action.

2) Nebraska's four attempts from the foul line were the lowest by a Husker team since Doc Sadler's first season, when the Huskers had three in a 66-55 loss to No. 6 Texas A&M, and only the second time in six years that Nebraska had attempted less than five free throws in a game.

 3) Jorge Brian Diaz is shooting 78 percent in his two previous games against Creighton. Diaz had nine points and four rebounds in Nebraska's 59-54 win in Lincoln last December. Diaz also needs eight points on Sunday to break into Nebraska's all-time scoring chart.

Last Time Out
C.J. Harris' layup with 3.6 seconds remaining in regulation lifted Wake Forest to a 55-53 win over Nebraska in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Harris, who finished with 12 points and five assists, went around a screen at the top of the key, drove the line and flipped it off the glass, giving the Demon Deacons the winning margin.

Nebraska had a chance to take the lead for good on its previous possession, but Bo Spencer, who led three Huskers in double figures with 13 points, missed a short runner in the lane. Nebraska also had a chance at the buzzer, but Spencer's desperation heave from midcourt bounced off the run, allowing the Deamon Deacons to escape with the win.

Chase Fischer and Carson Desrosiers led Wake Forest with 13 points apiece, as the Demon Deacons placed four in double figures.

Toney McCray and Jorge Brian Diaz joined Spencer in double figures with 12 points apiece, but the Huskers shot just 38.6 percent and were held to their lowest offensive output of the season.

In a game which saw nine ties and seven lead changes, neither team could break away in the second half, as the final 20 minutes saw neither team lead by more than three points after the Huskers took a 26-25 halftime advantage. The Huskers took a 28-25 lead after a Caleb Walker jumper, but a Desrosiers' 3-pointer and a basket by Harris gave Wake Forest its first lead since midway through the first half. Wake Forest hit five of its first six shots from the floor in the second half, but Nebraska kept battling, as Spencer's 3-pointer with 13:55 tied the score at 38.  The team would continue to battle with Wake taking a small lead, only to see Nebraska come back and stay close. Trailing 50-48 with 5:19 left, Diaz tied the score at 50 before Travis McKie hit a basket to put the visitors ahead. On its next possession, the Huskers got their first lead since early in the half as McCray's 3-pointer from the corner put NU up 53-52. McKie split a pair of foul shots with 1:49 left, setting up a dramatic finish.

Scouting Creighton
The Bluejays and second-year coach Greg McDermott have gotten off to an impressive start, posting a 6-0 mark heading into Sunday's game with the Huskers. Creighton comes off its most impressive effort of the season, an 85-83 win at San Diego State late Wednesday evening, a game where they rallied from a 17-point first-half deficit. Doug McDermott led Creighton with 25 points and 12 rebounds, while Ethan Wraggle and Antoine Young had 19 and 18 points, respectively.  The Bluejays returned three starters from a team that went 23-16 last season before losing to Oregon in the College Basketball Invitational. Creighton is averaging 88.8 points per game while shooting 53 percent, including 45 percent from 3-point range. McDermott has been one of the nation's top players early in 2011-12, averaging 23.7 points and 8.5 rebounds a game to lead the high scoring attack. Young joins McDermott in double figures, averaging 10.0 points and 4.7 assists per game, as six players average at least eight points per game. Creighton Coach Greg McDermott is 6-3 against Nebraska, including his previous stint at Northern Iowa.

Series History
Nebraska and Creighton are meeting for the 45th time in series history on Sunday, with the Cornhuskers holding a 25-19 advantage. The Huskers have won three of the five meetings with Doc Sadler on the Husker sideline, but has won just five of the last 15 overall since a seven-game win streak in the 1990s. The home team has won each of the last six meetings in the series. Nebraska will be looking for its first win in Omaha since a 71-70 win over the Bluejays in the 2004 NIT. Nebraska owns an 87-41 record all-time against teams currently in the Missouri Valley Conference. The 128 games against current MVC teams ranks third among the conference, trailing only NU's games against its former conference, the Big 12, and current conference home, the Big Ten.

Last Season
Nebraska overcame an 11-point first-half deficit with a hot-shooting second half to defeat Creighton, 59-54, at the Devaney Center. Brandon Richardson led the Huskers with a season-high 18 points, while junior Caleb Walker grabbed 10 rebounds, including a critical offensive board with 35 seconds remaining with the Huskers holding on to a one-point lead.  Walker's rebound eventually led to a pair of Lance Jeter free throws to put NU up 57-54. Creighton was unable to connect the tying 3-pointer in the final seconds, as both Kenny Lawson Jr., and Antoine Young missed contested shots from long range. Trailing 29-21 at halftime, the Huskers exploded out of the locker room, hitting 6-of-8 3-pointers in the first seven minutes to take a 43-37 lead. Richardson scored 10 of his game-high 18 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half.  The win marked Nebraska's third-straight victory over Creighton at the Devaney Center, all under head coach Doc Sadler, its longest stretch since winning 12 straight in Lincoln against the Bluejays from 1977 to 1998.

Spencer Makes Most of Senior Year
While Nebraska returns four starters from a team that won 19 games last season, the loss of point guard Lance Jeter was a significant one. An All-Big 12 performer, Jeter led the Huskers in both scoring and assists in 2010-11.

Luckily for the Huskers, they already had a veteran point guard on the roster, as senior Bo Spencer sat out last season after transferring from LSU. He has been solid early on, averaging a team-high 15.5 points along with 4.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.

Spencer, who was held to six points in the opener, has been in double figures in each of NU's last five games, including a pair of 20-point performances and went over 1,000 career points in Nebraska's loss to Wake Forest on Wednesday night.

At USC, he had 22 points, including the tying basket in overtime and the go-ahead bucket in double overtime, and also tied a personal best with seven rebounds. Against Rhode Island, he had a season-high 23 points while shooting 8-of-13 from the floor, four assists and three steals. Against South Dakota State last Saturday, Spencer had a career-high eight assists along with 18 points and six rebounds.

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

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

Huskers Are Picking Up the Pace in 2011-12
While Nebraska's forte has been on the defensive end under Doc Sadler, the Huskers had been proficient on the offensive end before struggling against Wake Forest. Despite seeing their streak of three straight games of 75 or more points snapped, Nebraska is still averaging 69.5 points per game, a jump of over three points from 2010-11.

Diaz Becoming Consistent Inside Force
Junior center Jorge Brian Diaz has been a steady presence for the Huskers throughout his three-year career. The 6-foot-11 center is one of three NU players in double figures, averaging 11.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. Offensively, he ranks 15th in the Big Ten in shooting percentage (.509) and has been in double figures in four of NU's six games. In his career, Diaz has 35 games in double figures and is in striking distance of the top 60 on Nebraska's career scoring list.

Defensively, he is second in the Big Ten in blocked shots and has more blocked shots then he did in the first 10 games a year ago.  Diaz now has 92 career blocked shots, moving into ninth on Nebraska's career list and second among active Big Ten players.

Diaz enjoyed one of the best offensive games of his career against Oregon on Nov. 23, finishing with a game-high 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting, six rebounds and three blocks. He had eight of his points in a 22-7 run to help the Huskers erase a 15-point deficit before succumbing in the final minute. It was his third career 20-point effort and first since his freshman year.

Diaz has been consistent on offense, scoring at least eight points in all five games, including three double-figure efforts. He turned in a strong effort at USC on Nov. 14 when he nearly recorded a double double with 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots in a career-high 43 minutes.  He also played a major role in holding USC's Dewayne Dedmon to four points on 1-of-6 shooting.   Against South Dakota, he finished with 11 points and a career-high five blocked shots, which equaled the highest single-game blocked shot total in the last six years.

Throughout his career, Diaz has been a scoring threat, as the 6-foot-11 junior is only the third Husker returnee to average in double figures under Sadler, joining Aleks Maric and Ryan Anderson in 2007-08.  He is now 303 points away from becoming the 1,000 point mark and could become just the 15th Husker to reach the 1,000-point plateau in three seasons.

Talley Provides Instant Offense
When Doc Sadler talked about the addition of Dylan Talley, the thing he constantly mentioned was his ability to score. Talley has lived up to the billing in Nebraska's first six games, coming off the bench to average 11.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game in just 23.8 minutes of action.

Despite coming off the bench in all six games, he is among the Big Ten leaders in several categories, including 16th in the league in scoring and first in free throw percentage (93.3). He is third among all Big Ten reserves in scoring, as only three reserves in the conference average in double figures. He also joins Bo Spencer as two of the highest scoring newcomers in the Big Ten this season.

The 6-foot-5 guard has reached double figures in the last three contests, including a season-high 18 points, including four 3-pointers, four rebounds, four assists and three steals against Oregon on Nov. 23. Last Saturday, Talley had 12 points and three rebounds against South Dakota State and totaled 15 points, including a pair of 3-pointers and five rebounds in 18 minutes of action against Rhode Island on Nov. 20. He looks to rebound after being held to a season-low four points against Wake Forest on Wednesday night.

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

Ubel Doing the Dirty work Inside
After a slow start offensively, junior Brandon Ubel has raised his level of play in the last two weeks. The 6-foot-10 forward has averaged 10.3 points per game on 67 percent shooting in his last three games after totaling just seven points in his first three contests. He began the stretch with a career-high 15 point performance against Oregon on Nov. 23 and added 12 points and eight rebounds in the win over South Dakota State on Saturday. While his offense has picked up, Ubel has been a consistent rebounder, averaging a team-high 6.0 rebounds per game to rank 10th in the conference, well up from his 3.7 rebounds per game as a sophomore. He was held to four shots in Wednesday's loss against Wake Forest, but set a career high with five assists and tied season bests in both blocked shots (two) and steals (two).

Ubel's recent efforts were reminiscent of last year when he closed the year playing his best basketball, averaging 10.0 points on 58 percent shooting and 6.3 rebounds over the Huskers final four games - all against postseason teams. Those numbers were well above his 2010-11 season averages of 6.1 points and 3.7 rebounds per contest.

Walker Showing Extended Range
The work that senior Caleb Walker put in to improve his shooting has paid off early in the 2011-12 season. After shooting 35.7 percent from long range in his first season at Nebraska, the 6-foot-4 wing has hit 9 of 17 from long range in the Huskers' first six games, as he ranks third in the Big Ten in 3-point shooting (52.9 percent). Walker has made the most of his shots, as the senior is fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 7.8 points per game. 

He had the best offensive game of his career against Rhode Island on Nov. 20, scoring a career-high 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the floor. Walker was also 3-of-4 from 3-point range, the second game this year where he has hit at least a trio of 3-pointers. Against South Dakota in the season opener, he paced Nebraska with a then-career best 16 points on 5-of-5 shooting and seven rebounds in 24 minutes. Walker went 3-for-3 from 3-point range, as he set career highs in points and three-pointers in the season opener.

Walker, who played both football and basketball as a freshman in junior college, is one of Nebraska's most athletic players and led Nebraska in rebounding last year. So far this season, he is averaging 4.7 rebounds per game to rank second on the team.

Richardson Shows Well Rounded Game
While senior Brandon Richardson doesn't lead the Huskers in any offensive category, his versatility is his greatest asset. The fifth-year senior averages 6.5 points per game while ranking fifth in 3-point percentage (50.0 pct.) and 15th in assists per game (2.8). The shooting improvement is significant for Richardson, who hit just 25 percent from long range in 2010-11.

The 6-foot senior came up big in his return home to Los Angeles on Nov. 14, totaling 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point range in the Huskers' overtime win. He matched his career best with four 3-pointers and dished out a pair of assists, including the game-tying basket in double overtime. 

Against Rhode Island, he keyed a Husker defense which held Jamal Wilson to 14 points after averaging 31 points in the Rams first two games and set career highs in both assists (eight) and steals (four) in 25 minutes. Richardson had six assists in the first half, in helping Nebraska build a 20-point lead. He battled foul trouble against Wake Forest, playing a season-low 16 minutes.

Throughout his career, Richardson has been clutch from the free throw line, as he ranks third in school history with an 82.6 career percentage from the charity stripe and is one of only four players in program history to shoot over 80 percent for a career.  Last year, he was second in Big 12 action in league play, hitting 87.8 of his free throws, including a stretch of 25 consecutive from the line.  Throughout his career, he has been his best in late-game situations, going 69-of-74 from the foul line in the final five minutes of games, a remarkable 93.2 percentage.

Toney, Toney, Toney
After a slow start, Toney McCray is beginning to heat up. The 6-foot-6 senior missed a significant part of the summer after surgery on his feet before a toe injury the week of the exhibition game  put him out of action for nearly a week, forcing him to play catch up.

In his last two games, McCray has shown the skills that made him such a valuable performer for the Huskers. After averaging 3.8 points on 38 percent shooting in Nebraska's first four games, McCray has averaged 12.0 points per game on 58 percent shooting in NU's last two games. He had season highs in points (12) and rebounds (six) against South Dakota State on Nov. 26 before matching that total with 12 points in Wednesday's loss to Wake Forest.

McCray is now shooting 45.5 percent from 3-point range, but may have made his biggest contributions from the foul line in the win at USC. A career 61 percent shooter from the line, McCray hit four clutch free throws at USC - two in the final minute of regulation and a pair with 2.8 seconds remaining in overtime - for his only points of the night - in NU's 65-61 double overtime win.

Cutting Down the Turnovers
One area where Nebraska has made great strides is in holding on to the basketball. After averaging 18.5 turnovers in its first two games, the Huskers have been much better with the basketball, averaging 11.8 turnovers per game over the last four contests. Nebraska has committed a season low in turnovers in each of the last two games, including just eight against Wake Forest on Wednesday.

Home Sweet Home
Nebraska has been strong on its home court over the years, and have enjoyed an impressive home run under Coach Doc Sadler. In the past five-plus seasons under Sadler, Nebraska has dominated to the tune of a 73-21 record (.776 winning percentage). Last year, Nebraska tied a program record with 17 home wins, going 17-2 in the friendly confines of the Devaney Center. Facing non-conference opponents, the Huskers have been nearly unbeatable at home under Sadler. During his tenure, the team has earned a 51-3 record at the Devaney Center. The Huskers had their 26-game home win streak in non-conference games snapped by Oregon on Nov. 23 and then dropped a 55-53 decision to Wake Forest on Nov. 30.

Nebraska Coach Doc Sadler
Doc Sadler is in his sixth season on the Husker sideline after leading Nebraska to an NIT appearance in 2010-11. Sadler has guided the Huskers to postseason appearances in three of the last four seasons, and his 89 wins in his first five seasons was the most by any Husker coach in his first five years at Nebraska. He is now in fourth place on Nebraska's career wins list with 93. Sadler has guided teams to postseason berths in five of his seven years as a Division I head coach, as both of his UTEP squads reached postseason play before taking over the Nebraska program in August of 2006.

Huskers Look to Continue Defensive Excellence
One hallmark of Nebraska basketball under Doc Sadler is a stout defense, and the Huskers were among the nation's best in 2010-11. Nebraska allowed an average of 60.5 points per game to lead the Big 12 for the third time in the last four seasons and rank 18th nationally. It is the fourth time in Sadler's seven years as a Division I head coach that his teams have led a league in scoring defense.

The Huskers were seventh nationally in field goal percentage in 2010-11, as the .389 field goal percentage defense was the lowest by a Husker team since the 1960-61 campaign.

  • -The Huskers held 17 opponents under 60 points and only six opponents have scored more than 70 points in 2010-11. That is made more impressive when you consider that Nebraska has played 11 games against teams which rank in the top 40 nationally in scoring offense during the season.
  • -Nebraska allowed only four teams to eclipse its season scoring average in 32 games and held seven teams to season lows in points.
  • -Nebraska held 10 straight opponents to under 60 points earlier, the longest stretch by a Nebraska team since a 21-game stretch covering the 1948-49 and 1949-50 seasons.

Team Scoring Defense Under Doc Sadler



Ppg. Allowed






































Nebraska's defense this season has been just as strong, as the Huskers have held their first six opponents to 62.3 points per game on 37.8 shooting. Nebraska is fourth in the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense.

  • Dating back to the start of last season, Nebraska has held 31 of its past 38 opponents to under 45 percent shooting.
  • Nebraska held South Dakota to 48 points, its second-lowest point total since the Coyotes moved to Division I prior to the 2007-08 season. The Huskers allowed just 49 points in regulation at USC before winning 64-61 in double overtime.
  • The Huskers held a Rhode Island team which came into the game averaging 90.0 points per game at the time to a season-low 63 points, including 20 in the first half.
  • Nebraska held Wake Forest to a season-low 55 points, over 20 points below its season average.

60 Is the Magic Number for Defense
Nebraska's success has been predicated on clamping down on the opposition. Last year, the Huskers held 17 of 32 opponents under 60 points, compiling a 15-2 mark in those games. Counting the two games this season,  Nebraska has held 73 opponents to 60 points or less in Doc Sadler's tenure at Nebraska, compiling a 64-9 record in those games following Wednesday's loss to Wake Forest.

Working Overtime on the Road
Nebraska's win at USC on Nov. 14 was a long time coming, as it was the program's first overtime road win since an 87-82 win at Colorado on Feb. 17, 2001. Prior to the USC win, the Huskers had won one overtime road game in that span. The win at USC, which featured comebacks in the final minutes of both regulation and overtime, was the second time since 1995 that Nebraska won its road opener.

The Huskers will have a chance for their second non-conference road win on Sunday. If Nebraska can accomplish that, it would mark the first time since the 1998-99 season.

New Conference, old Foes
Nebraska's addition to the Big Ten Conference provides Husker fans a new set of rivals to get acquainted with this season. While Nebraska has squared off with every Big Ten member in its history, it has been a while since NU has played any of its new conference members. Nebraska's last contest with a Big Ten team was a 58-47 loss to Minnesota on Dec. 8, 2004.

In fact, current Big Ten members have only played at the Devaney Center 17 times since the facility opened in 1976 with the Gophers (seven times) and Michigan State (three times) accounting for more than half of the total. This season, Indiana, Michigan and Illinois all make their first-ever trips to the Devaney Center, leaving Northwestern as the only Big Ten team to never play the Huskers at the Devaney Center.

Noting the 2011-12 Schedule
With a new conference, including 18 Big Ten games, the Huskers will face a challenging road in 2011-12. Here are a couple of nuggets on the upcoming season slate.

  • Nebraska will play 13 of its 29 games this season against teams that made the NCAA Tournament in 2010-11. In Big Ten action, seven squads qualified for the Big Dance, including No. 1 seed Ohio State, as the conference was second in the RPI. The Huskers will open their first season of Big Ten Conference action with six straight games against NCAA Tournament teams.
  • Nebraska's three true road games in non-conference play (at USC, at Creighton, at TCU) equal the Huskers' highest total since making four road trips in the 1997-98 season. Last year, Nebraska did not play a non-conference road game.
  • Nebraska's schedule features a new conference in the Big Ten with 18 conference games, compared to only 16 games in Big 12 action. The Huskers' single-play opponents for the 2011-12 season are Indiana and Michigan at home and Northwestern and Purdue on the road. The Huskers will face the remaining seven teams (Wisconsin, Michigan State, Ohio State, Illinois, Iowa, Penn State and Minnesota) home and home.
  • Every Nebraska game this year will be available on television or the internet, including 22 games broadcast nationally on the ESPN family of networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU) or on the Big Ten Network. Nebraska will also have its non-conference road games against TCU (The Mountain), Creighton (KMTV) and USC (Prime Ticket) televised, while the Huskers' games against Alcorn State and Central Michigan will be televised statewide on NET.                       


More News Sponsor - First National Bank
Men's Basketball Apr. 19
Men's Basketball Apr. 17
Men's Basketball Apr. 11
Men's Basketball Apr. 3


Tickets Sponsor - StubHub