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Toney McCray and the Huskers take on Minnesota Sunday at Noon.
Courtesy: NU Media Relations
          Release: 02/03/2012
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Huskers Return Home for Minnesota on Sunday

Huskers on TV/Radio/Internet
Television: Big Ten Network 
(Ch. 610 on DirecTV; Chs. 439, 9500 on DISH; Chs. 24 and 333-SH, 1333-HD on Time Warner Cable; Chs. 80 SD, 1080-HD on Cox Cable)
                Play-by-play: Tom Hart
                Expert Analysis: Keno Davis
Live Video: BTN2Go App and BTN2Go.com

Radio: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network
(including KLIN 1400 AM in Lincoln; KFAB 1110  AM in Omaha; KRVN 880 AM in Lexington)
                Play-by-play: Kent Pavelka
                Expert Analysis: Matt Davison

Internet Radio/Stats: Free on Huskers.com
Satellite Radio: XM 191, Sirius 92

Huskers Return Home for Minnesota
The Nebraska men's basketball team looks to bounce back following a disappointing loss to Northwestern on Sunday afternoon, as the Huskers welcome the Minnesota Golden Gophers to town.

As part of Super Sunday, tickets for the game between the Huskers and Golden Gophers can be purchased for as little as $5 by calling 800-8-BIGRED on Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., visiting Huskers.com or at the Devaney Center Ticket Office Sunday morning beginning at 10:30 a.m.  In addition, Wimmer's hot dogs will be available at the concession stands for $2 for Sunday's game.

Tipoff from the Bob Devaney Sports Center is set for Noon and the game will be televised nationally on the Big Ten Network with Tom Hart and Keno Davis on the call.  The game will also be available on BTN.com and the BTN2Go App on select mobile devices.

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

Nebraska (11-10, 3-7 Big Ten) has to rebound quickly following an 84-74 loss at Northwestern on Thursday night. Nebraska, which was leading the Big Ten in 3-point defense in league play, surrendered a season-high 14 3-pointers to the Wildcats, including 10 in the first half as Northwestern built a 41-26 halftime lead.

Nebraska rallied behind Bo Spencer, who scored 20 of his team-high 24 points in the second half, as the Huskers cut the lead to 54-53 with 10:38 left and was within three points, at 75-72, with 1:33 left before the Wildcats put the game away. Spencer led three Huskers in double figures with his sixth 20-point game of the year.

Minnesota (16-7, 4-6 Big Ten) also looks to get back on the winning track following a 63-59 loss at Iowa on Wednesday night. In that game, the Gophers fell behind early, only to take a 10-point second-half lead before Iowa came back in the final minutes. Ralph Sampson III led three Gophers in double figures with 13 points, while Julian Welch and Austin Hollins, added 12 and 11, respectively.

Last Time Out
 Bo Spencer had a team-high 24 points, as Nebraska trimmed a 15-point halftime deficit to one, but the Huskers were unable to complete the comeback, falling 84-74 to Northwestern.

Spencer led three Huskers in double figures, as he scored 20 of his 24 points in the second half, as Nebraska pulled to within 54-53 with 10:38 left, but could not slow down Northwestern's shooting from long range. The Wildcats went 14-of-31 from beyond the arc, as John Shurna and Drew Crawford combined for 49 points. Shurna was 9-of-13 from the floor, including a trio of 3-pointers, while Crawford finished with 21 points, including a game-high four 3-pointers.

Crawford and Shurna came up big in the second half, scoring six straight points in a 9-0 spurt to give the hosts some breathing room. After NU pulled to within one, Crawford hit a 3-pointer to make it 57-53 before Shurna got an offensive rebound and tossed it in as part of a 3-point play to make it 60-53. On Northwestern's next possession, Reggie Hearn's 3-pointer capped the 9-0 spurt, as the Wildcats took a 63-53 lead with 9:18 left.

Spencer led three Huskers in double figures with 24 points for his sixth 20-point game of the season. Toney McCray added 16 points and five rebounds, while Dylan Talley added 13 points off the bench, as the Huskers shot 52 percent from the floor.

The Wildcats used sharp shooting from outside, hitting 10-of-21 from 3-point range in building a 41-25 halftime lead. Nebraska was within 24-23 after a Jorge Brian Diaz basket, but the Wildcats used a 9-0 run, including a pair of Dave Sobolewski 3-pointers, to take a 34-25 lead. The Huskers went nearly 5:30 without a field goal until Toney McCray's basket ended the drought.  Crawford's 3-pointer started a 7-1 run to close the first half, as the Wildcats built a 15-point halftime lead.

The Huskers came out of the blocks quickly in the second half, hitting four of its first five shots from the floor in a 12-1 run to pull within 42-38 and force a Wildcat timeout. Caleb Walker had two quick baskets to get the Huskers going before Spencer capped the run with five straight points, including a 3-pointer from the corner to make it a four-point game.  Nebraska trailed 49-41 after a Sobolewski 3-pointer, but fought right back as a McCray 3-pointer and a Walker layup made it 49-46. Nebraska continued to chip away, hitting seven straight shots at one point, pulling to within 54-53 after a Richardson steal and layup with 10:38 remaining.

The Huskers trailed 73-61 before making one last run, as a Ubel put back and a three-point play by Spencer pulled the Huskers within 73-66 with 3:04 remaining. Shurna hit a pair of free throws to make it 75-66, but consecutive 3-pointers from Talley and Spencer made it 75-72 with 1:34 left, but could not get closer.

Scouting Minnesota
Under Tubby Smith, Minnesota comes into today's game with a 16-7 record, including a 4-6 mark in Big Ten play. Smith is in his fifth season at Minnesota following stints at Kentucky, Georgia and Tulsa. His teams won 20 straight games in his first four years at UM before dipping to 17-14 in 2010-11.

The Gophers went 12-1 in non-conference play despite losing star forward Trevor Mbakwe (14.0 ppg, 9.1 rpg) to a torn ACL against Dayton in late November. Minnesota closed out the non-conference slate with six straight wins, including victories over USC and Virginia Tech.  Minnesota began Big Ten play with four straight losses, all by nine points or less, before rebounding with a three-game win streak. The Gophers knocked off then No. 7 Indiana, 79-74 in Bloomington on Jan. 12 to begin that stretch, and have played well since the slow conference start. Minnesota comes off a 63-59 loss at Iowa Wednesday night and comes into the week ranked 38th in the NCAA's latest RPI rankings.

The Gophers are a balanced club with four players averaging over eight points per game as the Gophers rely on a deep rotation. Forward Rodney Williams leads the Gophers with 10.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game as he is among the Big Ten leaders in both shooting percentage (.575, 4th) and in blocked shots (1.5, 5th).  Julian Welch also averages double figures with 10.2 points per game, including a team-best 42.6 percent from 3-point range and a team-high 62 assists, while Austin Hollins (8.8) and Ralph Sampson III (8.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game) provide balance.

Nebraska-Minnesota Series History
Nebraska and Minnesota will meet for the 64th time on Sunday, which is the most between the Huskers and any other Big Ten member. To put it in perspective, Nebraska had faced the other 10 teams in the league just 96 times prior to this season. It is also NU's longest-running series in the Big Ten, as it dates back to February of 1902. The Gophers lead the all-time series, 48-15, and are 13-7 all-time in Lincoln.

The last meeting of the series took place on Dec. 8, 2004, when the Gophers topped the Huskers, 57-48 at the Devaney Center.  In that game, Vincent Grier had 17 points and eight rebounds for Minnesota, as the Gophers shot 46 percent and out-rebounded Nebraska, 38-29. Marcus Neal led NU with 10 points as the Huskers shot just 33 percent from the floor. NU and Minnesota met in non-conference action every year from 1995 until 2004 after not playing for 16 years.

Huskers Look to Generate Offense
For the 2011-12 Huskers, the key to success has been at the offensive end. Nebraska enters Sunday's game with a 10-3 record when scoring at least 60 points, but is just 1-7 when not reaching that threshold. While Nebraska has averaged 57.2 points per game in Big Ten play, four of its first 10 games were against Wisconsin (1st) and Ohio State (7th), two teams which are among the best in the nation in scoring defense. In Nebraska's three Big Ten wins, the Huskers have scored at least 70 points in all three and have only scored more than 55 points once in its seven losses - putting up 74 points in Thursday's loss at Northwestern.

Healthier Players, Healthier Offense
The Huskers were short-handed to begin Big Ten play, as Nebraska was without two of its top three scorers at the time (Jorge Brian Diaz and Dylan Talley) because of injuries. Both players missed the Huskers' final two non-conference games and NU contests against No. 11 Wisconsin, No. 16 Michigan State and No. 6 Ohio State before returning to the lineup on Jan. 7. Since both players returned, the Huskers are 3-4 with two of the losses being decided on the road (at Illinois and at Wisconsin) in the final 30 seconds.

Nebraska is shooting significantly better with the return of Diaz and Talley in the fold, hitting at a 44.0 percent clip after shooting 32.5 percent in the first three league contests. Talley is averaging 9.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game while Diaz is averaging 5.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per contest in that stretch.

The pair has given the Huskers a solid seven-player rotation and also boosted NU's bench production, as NU has averaged 16.1 points per game from its bench after averaging just 6.6 points from their bench in the previous five contests.

Games

PPG

FG Pct.

RPG

Reb, Diff.

First 3 Big Ten Games

45.0

.325

24.3

-13.0

W/Diaz & Talley

62.4

.440

30.7

-0.7

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

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