Husker Game Day
Nebraska Game Notes: Click here
Missouri Game Notes: Click here
Game Date: Saturday, Feb. 14, 2009
Release Date: Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009
Tipoff Time: 12:47 p.m. CT
Venue: Mizzou Arena (15,061)
TV: Big 12 Network
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
Huskers Try to Extend Road Streak Against Red-Hot Ranked Tigers
Following a thrilling come-from-behind victory over a ranked Texas squad last weekend, the Nebraska Cornhuskers had a week to recover before returning to action on Saturday, Feb. 14, as they take on No. 17/19 Missouri in Columbia, Mo. The Huskers and Tigers will tip off at 12:47 p.m. in a game seen in select markets around the country on the Big 12 Network (KLKN Channel 8 in Lincoln, KXVO Channel 11 in Omaha and KIIT Channel 30 in North Platte). Mitch Holtus will call the action with former college coach Rich Zvosec serving as color analyst.
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 adds color commentary.
Nebraska will be taking on its second straight ranked team after knocking off then-No. 16/17 Texas at home on Feb. 7 to snap a two-game home losing streak. The win was actually Nebraska’s third straight overall as the Huskers won consecutive road games over the previous week.
A third straight conference road win will be hard to come by as the Tigers are one of the hottest teams in the country. MU is 21-4 on the season and 8-2 in the league, sitting 2.5 games ahead of the fourth-place Huskers (15-7, 5-4) in the Big 12 standings.
Saturday’s game will feature the top scoring offense in the Big 12 vs. the league’s top scoring defense. Missouri enters the game averaging 83.3 ppg overall (80.3 ppg in Big 12-only games) while Nebraska easily leads the conference in scoring defense at 58.5 ppg (62.2 ppg). The Huskers’ scoring defense ranked 11th nationally entering the week while MU’s scoring offense was fourth nationally.
Both of the teams know how to take care of the ball on offense and force turnovers on defense. Missouri is second nationally in turnover margin at +6.6 while the Huskers are third in the country at +6.2. The Tigers are third nationally in steals (10.7) while the Huskers are 18th (9.0).
Nebraska posted its second double-figure comeback victory of the season last weekend vs. Texas, erasing a 12-point, second-half deficit to win 58-55. It marked the ninth straight season NU has defeated a ranked team and improved NU to 5-8 vs. ranked squads under Doc Sadler.
The Huskers will be shooting for their first four-game conference win streak since 1999, when NU finished 10-6 to tie for fifth in the league.
Scouting the Tigers
Nebraska returns to the court after a midweek bye when it takes on possibly the hottest team in the league in the No. 17/19 Missouri Tigers on Saturday in Columbia, Mo. The Cornhuskers bring a three-game win streak into the contest while Missouri has won four straight and eight of its last nine since falling to the Huskers in Lincoln in both team’s Big 12 season opener.
Missouri runs into the game with a 21-4 overall record and an 8-2 mark in league play, standing just one-half game out of second place in the conference standings. The Tigers trail only Oklahoma (9-0 in Big 12) and Kansas (8-1), which MU defeated on ESPN’s Big Monday in Columbia earlier this week.
The front court duo of DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons powered the Tigers in handing the Jayhawks their first loss of the league season, although it was guard Zaire Taylor who hit the biggest shot of the game. Taylor knocked down a mid-range jumper with less than two seconds remaining to give Missouri the 62-60 victory.
Missouri came back from being down double figures behind the play of Carroll and Lyons. Carroll posted a game-high 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting while Lyons had 13 points. The Tigers forced 27 Kansas turnovers with 13 steals. MU hit just 35.6 percent from the floor while Kansas hit 41.8 percent, but the Jayhawks capitalized on just 2-of-15 3-point attempts. MU was 2-of-14 from long range, but connected on 18-of-27 free throws to KU’s 12-of-16 at the charity stripe. Kansas also held a 48-28 advantage on the glass.
Carroll has led the team all season, posting 17.4 points per game, including 18.5 points per game in league play. He has connected on 58.2 percent of his shots from the floor and is averaging a team-best 7.0 rebounds per game while ranking second on the squad with 42 steals. Lyons is right behind, posting 14.5 points on 50.2 percent shooting with 5.5 rebounds per contest.
J.T. Tiller, one of the top perimeter defenders in the league, paces the squad with 88 assists and 51 steals to go with his 7.5 points per game. Tiller has helped set up an offense that averages 83.3 points per game on 48.0 percent shooting. MU has held foes to 66.3 points per game on just 41.4 percent shooting.
In league action, the Tigers are gaining 80.3 points per game as the league’s top scoring team. MU’s only league losses came at NU and Kansas State. The Tigers are 15-0 at home, with their only other losses against nationally ranked Illinois and Xavier on neutral courts.
Missouri is coached by Mike Anderson (Tulsa, 1982), who is in his third season in Columbia. Anderson owns a 55-32 record with the Tigers and is 144-73 in seven seasons as a head coach. He was also coach at UAB for four seasons after spending 17 years as an assistant at Arkansas, helping the Razorbacks to three Final Fours, including the 1994 national title.
Possible Missouri Starting Lineup
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Pt. Rb.
DeMarre Carroll F 6-8 225 17.4 7.0
Leo Lyons F 6-9 244 14.5 5.5
J.T. Tiller G 6-3 200 7.5 3.5*
Zaire Taylor G 6-4 189 5.7 3.5*
Kim English G 6-6 200 7.2 1.8
*assists per game
Nebraska-Missouri Team Comparison
NU Stat MU
66.5______ Points Per Game______ 83.3
58.5___ Points Allowed Per Game___ 66.3
45.4____ Field Goal Percentage____ 48.0
42.1_ Field Goal Percentage Defense_ 41.4
38.1___ 3pt Field Goal Percentage___ 36.6
32.7 3pt Field Goal Percentage Defense 30.3
68.0____ Free Throw Percentage____ 65.7
28.6_____ Rebounds Per Game_____ 37.4
-4.5_______ Rebound Margin______ +1.3
13.5______ Assists Per Game______ 19.3
11.7_____ Turnovers Per Game_____ 12.6
9.0_______ Steals Per Game______ 10.8
1.8_______ Blocks Per Game_______ 4.0
17.7_______ Fouls Per Game______ 19.7
The Series vs. the Tigers
Nebraska and Missouri enter this weekend’s key Big 12 matchup meeting for the 214th time in series history. Missouri holds the upperhand in the series, owning a 122-91 record since the teams first met in the 1907-08 campaign, when Nebraska won a pair of contests at home.
The series with the Tigers is the Huskers’ fourth-longest against a current league opponent, trailing the series with Kansas (236 games), Iowa State (229) and Kansas State (215).
Missouri has dominated the series in Columbia, earning a 66-26 series lead on the Tigers’ home court.
MU was 25-6 against Nebraska at the Hearnes Center, but since the move to Mizzou Arena, the series stands at 2-2. Before winning two years ago, the Huskers had lost 11 straight on the road vs. Missouri.
The Huskers are 2-10 in Columbia during the Big 12 era.
Nebraska has won the last two meetings in Columbia, both under Nebraska coach Doc Sadler. Sadler is 5-1 overall against the Tigers since taking over the Huskers.
Nebraska has not won three straight games in Columbia since 1941 to 1943, which is the only time in series history the Huskers won three straight on the Tigers’ home court.
The Huskers have won the past two games in Columbia by a combined nine points, 66-61 in 2007 and 66-62 last year. NU also lost by a single point, 64-63, in 2006.
Each of the last six games in the series have been decided by five or less points or in overtime.
Last year, Nebraska squeezed out a 66-62 victory in Columbia for its first Big 12 Conference win after starting league play 0-4. Ryan Anderson had his first career double-double with 11 points and 10 boards with four assists and four steals. Steve Harley added 15 points and Sek Henry came off the bench for 14 points, hitting four 3-pointers while MU nailed just 3-of-14 from long range.
Here is a quick look at the Huskers through games of Feb. 7:
Quick team notes
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 last won three straight conference road games in 1998 when the Huskers defeated Texas A&M, Colorado and Iowa State away from Lincoln as part of a six-game win streak to end the regular season. That is the only three-game road win streak by NU in the Big 12 era.
The Huskers own a 5-8 record under Sadler against ranked teams. Nebraska has defeated at least one ranked team in each of the past nine seasons after knocking off then-No. 16/17 Texas last weekend in Lincoln.
Nebraska will be playing ranked opponents in consecutive games for the first time since knocking off No. 24 Kansas State at home and No. 22 Texas A&M on the road in back-to-back games last year.
Since the start of the 2008 league season, the Huskers have held 10 Big 12 opponents to under 60 points in a game, including each of their past two games (Colorado, 53 points; Texas, 55).
Overall, the Huskers have held Big 12 opponents to 70 or fewer points in 15 of their last 18 games against league teams, including last year’s league tournament.
NU enters the weekend with the Big 12 Conference’s top scoring defense, allowing just 58.5 points per game. NU entered the week ranked 11th nationally in scoring defense after holding Colorado to 53 points on the road and then-No. 16/17 Texas to 55 points in Lincoln.
Nebraska has forced three of its first nine conference opponents (Kansas State, 25; Kansas, 21; Texas Tech, 20) into 20 or more turnovers this season.
Nebraska is second in the league and third nationally in turnover margin at +6.2. The Huskers lead the league in fewest turnovers at 11.7 per game and have forced 17.9 miscues per contest.
The Huskers were also in the top 75 nationally entering the week in turnovers per game (16th), steals per game (18th), 3-point field-goal percentage (34th), assist-to-turnover ratio (41st) and scoring margin (56th).
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 22 games, only two teams (No. 6/5 Oklahoma and Oklahoma State) have topped 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 60.0 points on 41.3 percent (143-of-346) 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).
Individual quick notes
Senior guard Ade Dagunduro has posted at least 20 points in a game three times in the past nine 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 14.1 points per game over the last 15 contests while hitting 59.5 percent from the field.
In conference road games, Dagunduro has led the team with 11.8 points per game on 57.7 percent shooting while Steve Harley has added 10.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Cookie Miller is third on the squad in Big 12 road games with 9.8 points on 51.7 percent shooting while adding 18 assists and 11 steals.
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 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 in the last five games, 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.
Paul Velander has hit at least three 3-pointers in 12-of-22 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 as recently as Jan. 23, has struggled in his last five games. He has hit just 5-of-24 attempts (20.8 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.
Sek Henry has been proficient with the basketball on the year, hitting 48.5 percent from the field, including a solid 40.0 percent from 3-point range.
Henry has scored in double figures 11 times in 22 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 11th nationally in scoring defense at 58.5 points per game. In league play, the Huskers are also first in scoring defense, allowing 62.2 points per game in Big 12-only games.
Nebraska is one of only two league teams (also Kansas, 62.7 ppg) allowing less than 67.0 points per game in Big 12 play.
Through nine 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 and Texas, 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.
Nebraska has not held three straight conference opponents to 55 or fewer points since 1982 when the Huskers did it to their first five league foes.
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 this week 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 their 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 seven 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
The Huskers then hit just 54.4 percent from the line in their next game, including only 5-of-11 in the final minute. Despite the struggle, NU held on to win a two-point game at Colorado.
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 Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009.
February Big 12 Records (by wins; 2006 to present)
No. Team Record
1. Texas 15-4
2. Kansas 14-4
3. Missouri 12-6
4. Nebraska 11-7
5. Texas A&M 10-7
Texas Tech 10-8
7. Kansas State 9-9
8. Oklahoma State 8-10
10. Iowa State 5-12
11. Baylor 4-14
12. Colorado 2-14
Nebraska received some significant offense from unexpected places over the past five games.
Cookie Miller, the Huskers’ assist leader (83) this season, has averaged 9.8 points per game in league action to rank second on the squad. He has hit 43.5 percent (27-of-62) from the field and 82.8 percent (24-of-29) from the line. He has averaged 33.2 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 7.6 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in Big 12 play. His rebound average is 11th in league-only games.
Redshirt freshmen Brandon Richardson and Toney McCray 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 a career-high 11 points at Texas Tech and has hit 5-of-8 from 3-point range vs. Big 12 teams. McCray has come on strong the past three games, hitting 3-of-3 from the field at Colorado, including a pair of clutch shots with the shot clock expiring, and added eight points and five rebounds in the win over No. 16/17 Texas. He scored the go-ahead basket vs. Texas with less than two minutes remaining, putting Nebraska ahead for good.
Stealing the Spotlight
Nebraska has been among the national leaders all season for steals, entering this week ranked No. 18 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 17 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 (11th in the Big 12 entering the week), Anderson could finish this season just outside of the Nebraska top 10.
After posting eight steals over the last three games, 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.
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 102
15. Cookie Miller, 2008-present 92
Andre Smith, 1978-81 92
-- Sek Henry, 2007-present 75
Turning Teams Over
Nebraska will try to turn up the defensive pressure at times this season, especially while playing with a heavily guard-oriented lineup, including many sets with five guards on the floor at once.
That strong defensive push was evident in NU’s opener as they forced 25 San Jose State turnovers. Spartans’ point guard Justin Graham was frustrated into 10 turnovers while going 0-of-5 from the floor in 33 minutes of action.
The 25 turnovers Nebraska forced in the season opener against San Jose State were the second-highest total under Coach Doc Sadler. The most turnovers a Husker squad has forced in Sadler’s tenure is 26 last season against North Carolina Central.
NU also forced a season-high tying 25 turnovers against Kansas State on Jan. 17.
The Huskers have now forced 394 turnovers through 22 games, while allowing teams to record just 237 assists on 436 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 18 games this season.
Eight 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 430-250 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.
NU has averaged just 11.7 turnovers per game this season and entered the week ranked 16th nationally in the category.
The Huskers are first in the Big 12 Conference and are the only team in the league averaging fewer than 12.0 turnovers per game.
The Huskers entered the week ranked No. 3 nationally in turnover margin after posting just 10 turnovers against Texas. Nebraska currently has a +6.2 margin to rank second in the Big 12 Conference entering the weekend.
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 38.1 percent from long range. Last season, Nebraska hit 34.2 percent from beyond the arc.
Paul Velander has been more effective than ever despite stepping back further to shoot. He is hitting 44.2 percent (53-of-120) from beyond the arc to currently rank fourth in the Big 12 Conference.
Nebraska has hit better than 40 percent from the 3-point line as a team six times this season, including a season-high 56.0 percent against Alabama State.
The Huskers have hit at least 50 percent from 3-point range four times this year, including 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).
NU has posted at least eight 3-pointers in a game eight times.
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 11th in the country in scoring defense entering the week. NU currently leads the Big 12 by allowing just 58.5 ppg while no other team in the league is holding opponents below 62 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 32.7 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 22 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 22 games, Nebraska trails on the glass by over four rebounds per game
(-4.5 rpg, 33.2 to 28.6).
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 16 games.
NU has trailed on the boards in all but one of its Big 12 contests, and has a -6.4 rebounding margin in league action. Nebraska’s 36 rebounds against No. 6/5 Oklahoma were its third-highest total of the season. The Huskers’ +8 advantage against Colorado was its only game holding a rebound advantage against a league squad.
NU, 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.
The Huskers posted 11 offensive rebounds in each of the last three non-league games (33 total) after recording 27 offensive boards in the previous five games combined. NU has had at least 10 offensive rebounds in a game six times, most recently against Kansas when 13 of the Huskers’ 22 boards were on the offensive glass. NU also had 10 offensive boards against No. 6/5 Oklahoma on the road.
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.
One of the most athletic players in the Big 12 Conference, 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 11 of the past 15 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 14.1 ppg on 59.5 percent shooting (78-of-131) over the past 15 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 (4.0 apg) and is second the team with 34 steals (1.6 apg). He is one of seven Huskers with at least 17 steals.
Miller has 43 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 through the first 22 games of this season than at any point in his career. He is averaging 8.9 ppg to rank third on the team, and has recorded 11 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 four times in league play this season after posting double figures just four times in his first two Big 12 slates (35 games including league tourney).
He has posted double figure points 11 times in 22 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 67-of-139 shots (48.2 percent) from the field, including 23-of-57 (40.4 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 22 contests.
Henry raised his free throw average significantly of late, hitting 29 of his last 39 (74.4 percent) attempts over the past 12 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 a career-high 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.
He has now hit 12 of his last 22 shots overall, including 7-of-14 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 tied for sixth on the team with 17 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 53
3-pointers in 22 games, including 12 games with at least three treys apiece. He is fourth on the team in scoring at 8.3 points per game.
Velander is currently fourth in the Big 12 Conference in 3-point percentage, hitting 44.2 percent (53-of-120) from behind the arc. On Jan. 22, Velander led the nation by hitting 50 percent from 3-point range (48-of-96).
Velander posted as career-high tying 20 points behind a career-best six 3-pointers against Kansas State on Jan. 17.
He made his first 2-point basket of the year against UMBC. He has hit just 2-of-9 from inside the arc this season.
Velander leads the team with 20 charges taken in 22 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 42 charges in 22 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 11 games, Balham has averaged 12.9 minutes per game, with a total of 142 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 10 of the last 12 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.
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 40 rebounds in the past 12 games, 21 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.
Harley Looks to Get Back on Track
Guard Steve Harley came on strong at the end of last season when he was named to the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team by the league's sportswriters for his play in league action. He again showed a strong presence in the Husker offense, leading Nebraska in scoring through the non-conference slate, but has struggled lately in league play.
Harley is currently second on the team with 11.5 points per game but has averaged just 8.6 points – third on team – during Big 12 Conference games.
Despite struggling to score in Big 12 games this year, Harley has still come up big for the Huskers in other ways. He has had 33 rebounds, 16 assists and 19 steals in the first nine league games.
Earlier in the year, Harley set a career high with 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting against IPFW. It was his second career 20-point performance.
One of the most aggressive Huskers getting to the basket, Harley is second on the team with 75 trips to the free throw line. Harley, who has struggled in league play by hitting 10-of-22 from the free throw line, is averaging 3.5 rebounds this season overall and is third on the team with 48 assists and leads the squad with 37 steals.
Harley has tied his career high for rebounds three times this season, posting six against San Jose State in the season opener and again in the come-from-behind win over Creighton. He also added a team-high six boards in a road win over Colorado. He has had at least four rebounds in a game 11 times this season.
Harley had just one assist against Creighton, but it was the biggest one of the game. With the contest tied at 52-52, Nebraska had the ball with the shot clock off. Coach Doc Sadler drew up a play for Harley as the first scoring option. As he drove the lane to the basket, CU hedged to the middle and Harley made a nice wrap-around pass to Ade Dagunduro, who had an uncontested layup for the game-winning basket with 2.7 seconds remaining.
Harley is one of only two players (also Cookie Miller) averaging more than 26 minutes per game. Harley has played a team-high 31.3 minutes per contest this season, including a career-high 40 minutes against UMBC.
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 121 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’s 44.2 percent accuracy from beyond the arc is currently fourth in the Big 12 Conference.
He leads the team with 53 3-pointers in 21 games despite struggling lately. He has hit just 7-of-26 in his last six games since posting a career-high six 3-pointers vs. Kansas State.
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.)........... 121
9. Joe McCray (2005-06)................ 117
10. Ryan Anderson (2007-pres.)......... 116
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 116 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 18-of-59 attempts (30.5 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 sixth on the team with 6.3 points per game. He is fifth on the team with 3.1 rebounds per game and leads the squad with 12 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-13 from the floor over the past three 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-23 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 58.6 percent (17-of-29) from the floor while averaging 4.8 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.