Huskers Host Buckeyes Wednesday Night at PBA
The Nebraska men's basketball team returns to Pinnacle Bank Arena Wednesday night as the Huskers host Ohio State. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. and tickets are available by visiting Huskers.com/Tickets, calling the NU Athletic Ticket Office at 800-8-BIGRED during business hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m., Mon.-Fri.) and at the Pinnacle Bank Arena Ticket Office 90 minutes before tipoff. The matchup with the Buckeyes will be televised nationally on BTN and carried on the Huskers Radio Network. It will also be available on the Fox Sports app.
|Game 19: vs. Ohio State|
|Date: Wednesday., Jan. 18
Tipoff: 6 p.m. (CT)
Arena: Pinnacle Bank Arena
Tickets: Huskers.com/Tickets (click here)
On the Air
Radio: Wednesday's game will be carried on the Huskers Radio Network with Kent Pavelka and Jake Muhleisen on the call, including KLIN (1400 AM) in Lincoln, KXSP (590 AM) in Omaha and KRVN (880 AM) in Lexington and will also be available on Huskers.com and the Huskers app. The pregame show begins an hour before tipoff.
TV/Online: Wednesday's game will be televised on Big Ten Network with Kevin Kugler and Shon Morris on the call. The game will also be available online on the Fox Sports app.
The Huskers will honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Wednesday, as the team will wear special-edition DREAM warm-up shirts. The game will also feature in-game graphics and announcements honoring the contributions and legacy of Dr. King.
Nebraska (9-9, 2-5 Big Ten) continues its schedule gauntlet, as the Huskers have played the nation's toughest schedule according to the NCAA's NET rankings, while Wednesday's matchup with Ohio State will be NU's 10th game against a Quad 1 opponent in 19 games this season.
The Huskers were short-handed in their 73-55 loss at No. 3 Purdue on Friday, as starters Juwan Gary and Sam Griesel missed the game with injuries. The Huskers hope to have Griesel back in the lineup on Wednesday against Ohio State. Without two of their top three scorers, Nebraska relied on senior Derrick Walker, who led NU with 19 points and six rebounds in a losing effort. Walker has put together an outstanding senior season, averaging 14.1 points on 60 percent shooting and 7.7 rebounds per game to set career highs in both categories. Walker's 7.7 rebounds per game is on track to be the most by a Husker since Aleks Maric averaged 10.2 caroms per game in 2007-08.
Ohio State (10-7, 2-4 Big Ten) looks to bounce back following a 68-64 overtime loss to Rutgers on Sunday. In a game that saw 22 lead changes and 12 ties, Brice Sensabaugh's basket with 49 seconds left sent the game to OT, and OSU led 61-60 with 1:50 left in the extra session, but Rutgers used an 8-0 run to put the game away. Sensabaugh led the Buckeyes with 20 points off the bench while Zed Key and Sean McNeil added 11 apiece.
• Nebraska will look to break a five-game home losing streak to Ohio State on Wednesday. Of the five losses, two were in overtime, including last year's game in Lincoln, and another was a one-point game decided in the final seconds of regulation.
• Nebraska has faced one of the nation's toughest schedules in 2022-23. As of Jan. 16, Nebraska's NET strength of schedule was first nationally. NU is one of six Big Ten teams in the top 20 nationally in strength of schedule, joining Wisconsin (13), Maryland (15), Ohio State (18), Michigan State (19) and Indiana (20).
Games Against Quad 1 Opponents (Thru 1/15)
• Wednesday's game against Ohio State will be the Huskers' 10th game against a Quad 1 opponent this year. Nebraska, Maryland and West Virginia are the only three teams nationally that have played nine Quad 1 games as of Jan. 16.
• Ohio State is ranked fourth nationally in offensive efficiency entering Wednesday's game. Nebraska has played three other games against teams in the top 10 nationally in offensive efficiency (Purdue-2x and Iowa), and held those three opponents to a combined 0.975 points per possession.
• Nebraska has been the one team to keep Zach Edey in check in 2022-23, holding the national player of the year frontrunner to just 11.5 points per game in two contests. Edey's two lowest scoring percentages came in the two games against Nebraska.
Keeping Edey in Check
|GP||vs. NEB (2 GP)||vs. Others (16 GP)|
|20 + games||0||11|
• Derrick Walker is one of only two Big Ten players this year to have a game of at least 20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists as he did against Minnesota on Jan. 7. Jalen Pickett has done it twice (vs. Quinnipiac on Dec. 22 and Jan. 8 vs. Purdue). Over the last three seasons (2020-21 to 2022-23), it has happened just six times, including twice by Huskers.
• Walker is averaging a team-high 7.7 rebounds per game to rank ninth in the Big Ten in rebounding entering this week's action. It is on pace to be NU's highest rebounding average since the 2007-08 season. Since 2000, only five Huskers - Ed Morrow Jr. (2016-17), Aleks Maric (2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08), Andrew Drevo (2002-03), Kimani Ffriend (1999-2000, 2000-01) - have averaged at least seven rebounds per game. Walker needs just 25 rebounds to reach 500 rebounds for his college career.
• Keisei Tominaga has been one of the Big Ten's top sixth men in 2022-23. The 6-foot-2 guard is third on the team in scoring at 9.8 points per game following a 16-point effort at Purdue. Of his nine double-figure efforts this season, eight have come off the bench. He enters the week ranking fifth among all Big Ten reserves in scoring.
Big Ten Top Scoring Reserves (starting less than 50% of team games)
|1.||Brice Sensabaugh (OSU)||16.9|
|2.||Connor Essegian (WIS)||10.5|
|3.||Dain Dainja (ILL)||10.4|
|4.||Payton Sandford (IOWA)||10.2|
|5.||Keisei Tominaga (NEB)||9.8|
|6.||Aundre Hyatt (RUT)||9.6|
• Derrick Walker enters Wednesday's game with Ohio State as one of just 12 players nationally averaging at least 14 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. The group includes a trip of Big Ten players in Walker, Indiana's Trayce Jackson-Davis and Penn State's Jalen Pickett. Since 2000, only six Big Ten players have finished a season averaging those numbers, and none have done with a field goal percentage of over 60 percent.
• The Huskers broke a couple of overtime losing streaks in the win at Minnesota on Jan. 7. The win snapped a six-game losing streak in overtime games dating back to the 2019-20 season and marked NU's first road OT win in conference play since Feb. 17, 2001.
• The biggest strides Nebraska has made has been in rebounding. NU is currently ninth in the Big Ten in rebounding margin at +1.3 per game after ranking last in the conference with a -7.0 margin last season. In Big Ten play, NU has already faced four of the top five teams (a total of five times in Big Ten play) in that category, as Ohio State is second with a +6.2 margin.
• With more of an emphasis on positional size compared to previous Hoiberg-coached Husker teams, Nebraska has made significant improvement on the defensive end despite breaking in an entirely new starting lineup. The Huskers have held 11 of their 18 opponents to 70 points or less and have climbed nearly 130 spots in adjusted defense in KenPom compared to last season.
• Nebraska had done an excellent job of not fouling this season. NU is 12th nationally in fewest fouls per game (13.7) while only six opponents have gotten to the line more than Nebraska in the first 18 contests.
• Nebraska has totaled seven double-doubles (Derrick Walker-3; Sam Griesel-2; Juwan Gary-1; Blaise Keita-1) and all seven have been points/rebounds double-doubles. Last year, NU totaled 10 double-doubles in 32 games (6 pts./reb. and 4 pts./asst.).
• Sophomore Wilhelm Breidenbach has found an increased role in recent weeks as he is now a year out from having season-ending surgery in December of 2021. Over the last six games, he is averaging 5.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, nearly doubling his production from his first 10 appearances in 2022-23. He has been in double figures three times, including 11 points against Illinois last Tuesday.
Numbers to Know
2 - Wilhelm Breidenbach and Denim Dawson made their first collegiate starts in the loss at Purdue. It marked the fourth different starting lineup Nebraska has used this season.
11 - Derrick Walker leads Nebraska with 11 double-figure games, including a trio of 20-point contests. Prior to this season, Walker's career scoring high was 16 points.
.641 - Derrick Walker's career field goal percentage at Nebraska. He is on track to set NU's career record in that category. Larry Cox (.625, 1974-76) and Dave Hoppen (.600, 1983-86) are the only two Huskers with career field goal percentages above .600 with a minimum of 400 attempts.
12.5 - Nebraska is allowing its opponents only 12.5 free throw attempts per game, despite allowing 38 free throws in the last two games. Prior to that, Iowa, Michigan State and Minnesota got to the foul line a combined 24 times. NU has held nine of 18 opponent to 10 free throws or fewer.
2 - Nebraska's Sam Griesel is one of only two Big Ten players - and 21 players across all of Division I - averaging at least 10.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game, joining Penn State's Jalen Pickett as of Jan. 15.
50 - Nebraska allowed 50 points in the Dec. 29 win over Iowa, its lowest total in four seasons under Fred Hoiberg. It was the fewest points allowed by Nebraska since the 2018-19 season.
About Ohio State
Under the direction of sixth-year coach Chris Holtmann, Ohio State is 10-7 on the season and 2-4 in Big Ten play following Sunday's overtime loss at Rutgers. Holtmann has guided Ohio State to five straight 20-win seasons and the school has made every NCAA Tournament in that span.
The Buckeyes have a retooled roster after losing four starters, including a pair of NBA draft picks, last season. OSU went 8-3 in the non-conference portion of the schedule, including wins over Texas Tech and Cincinnati, and won its early December Big Ten game 67-66 over Rutgers on a 3-pointer by Tanner Holden to beat the buzzer. OSU was 10-3 following a 16-point win at Northwestern on Jan. 1, but has dropped four straight games, including three
games decided by four points or less.
The Buckeyes feature one of the Big Ten's top freshmen in Brice Sensabaugh, who is averaging 16.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. He is one of three Buckeyes averaging in double figures, joining Justice Sueing (13.6 ppg) and Zed Key (12.2 rpg, 7.9 rpg). The Buckeyes are one of the most efficient offenses in the country, shooting 47 percent from the field, including 39 percent from 3-point range. OSU is ranked fourth nationally in offensive efficiency and is one of three Big Ten teams in the top six nationally.
Series History: Ohio State leads the all-time series, 20-5, in a series that dates back to 1936. The Buckeyes are 16-3 against the Huskers since Nebraska joined the Big Ten with Nebraska's wins coming in 2014 (Lincoln), 2017 (Columbus) and 2022 (Columbus). Nebraska snapped a six-game losing streak to Ohio State with its 78-70 win over the No. 23 Buckeyes last season. This is just the sixth time in 21 meetings that OSU has not been ranked at game time against the Huskers since Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011-12.
Last meeting: The Huskers had an answer for everything No. 23 Ohio State tried, as Nebraska led for the entire second half to upset the Buckeyes, 78-70, on March 1, 2022, and give Fred Hoiberg his first win over a ranked opponent at Nebraska. Nebraska trailed by five late in the first half before scoring eight straight points. The 8-0 run gave the Huskers a 33-30 lead with 4:34 left in the opening half and Nebraska led the rest of the way. NU held OSU to two field goals in a 13-minute stretch, turning an early deficit into a double-figure lead. In a battle of the Big Ten's top two freshmen, Bryce McGowens was outstanding for the Big Red. He scored 26 points on 8-of-15 shooting while knocking down 8-of-9 free throws. While McGowens was scoring, Alonzo Verge Jr. was outstanding running the Husker offense. Verge had a double-double with 13 points and 11 assists while adding five rebounds. C.J. Wilcher scored 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc.
Nebraska shot 49.1 percent in the game and knocked down nine 3-pointers. The Huskers were also solid at the free throw line, going 15-of-18 at the charity stripe. Ohio State was limited to 39 percent shooting, but the Buckeyes stayed in the game thanks to 14 offensive rebounds which led to 17 second-chance points. E.J. Liddell led Ohio State with 27 points, while Malaki Branham added 16 points.
Last Time Out
Derrick Walker led Nebraska with 19 points, but a short-handed Nebraska squad fell at No. 3 Purdue, 73-55, at Mackey Arena on Jan. 13. Nebraska was without two of its three leading scorers as Juwan Gary (shoulder) and Sam Griesel (hip) missed the game because of injury.
Walker carried the offensive load in the loss, finishing with 19 points on 9-of-15 shooting and added six rebounds and four assists, while Keisei Tominaga added 16 points, including four 3-pointers.
Fletcher Loyer led all scorers with 27 points, while Zach Edey posted a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. It was Edey's second-lowest point total of the season, as NU held the 7-foot-4 center to 11.5 points per game in the two regular-season matchups.
Nebraska was within 29-24 late in the first half before Purdue used a 17-0 surge to build a 46-24 lead with just over 16 minutes remaining. The Huskers cut into the lead several times, the last being 70-55 on Emmanuel Bandoumel's 3-pointer with 1:58 remaining, but could get no closer.
Hometown Kid Making Good
Senior Sam Griesel has enjoyed quite the homecoming, averaging 11.1 points, 4.2 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game from his point guard spot in replacing Alonzo Verge Jr., who led the Big Ten in assists per game last season. Griesel spent the last four seasons at North Dakota State, earning All-Summit League honors in 2021 and 2022 before returning to Lincoln for his senior year.
- He is sixth in the Big Ten in assists per game as of Jan. 16.
- Griesel has reached double figures in each of the last five games, and he is averaging 13.4 ppg in that span. Griesel missed the Purdue game with a hip injury and is day-to-day for Wednesday's game with Ohio State.
- He came up big in the win at Minnesota with 17 points, six rebounds and five assists, while going 6-of-6 from the foul line.
- Griesel collected his second double-double in the win over Iowa with 12 points and team highs in rebounds (10) and assists (five).
- Griesel led NU with 16 points and added three assists and three rebounds in the win over Queens.
- The Huskers' first scholarship recruit from Lincoln since Jake Muhleisen in the early 2000s, Griesel keyed NU's win at No. 7 Creighton with 18 points, a season-high 12 rebounds and seven assists.
- Against Maine, Griesel scored a season-high 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds while also chipping in 18 points in the win over Omaha.
- Griesel's 22-point effort against Maine in the season opener was one of the highest-scoring debuts by a Husker in the last 50 seasons.
Walker Looks to Continue Efficient Shooting
Super senior Derrick Walker has made a significant impact on the Huskers since returning to action on Nov. 25. Walker, who missed NU's first five games, has been a force, averaging 14.1 points on 60 percent shooting, 7.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. The 6-foot-9 forward was NU's only returning starter entering 2021-22 and has 11 double-figure efforts in 13 contests.
- He is one of just 12 players nationally averaging at least 14 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.
- Walker has a team-high three double-doubles (Memphis, Florida State and No. 4 Purdue) and six for his career.
- He had a strong performance at No. 4 Purdue with 19 points, six rebounds and four assists, while helping limit Zach Edey to 12 points on seven shots.
- Walker had one of the finest games of his career in NU's OT win at Minnesota on Jan. 7 with 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. He set or tied personal bests in both points and assists.
- He led NU with 15 points, nine rebounds and three assists at Michigan State on Jan. 3.
- His most recent double-double was a 14-point, 10-rebound effort against No. 4 Purdue on Dec. 10. He also helped limit Zach Edey to a season-low 11 points, snapping his streak of eight straight 20-point games.
- He keyed NU's win over No. 7 Creighton with a career-high 22 points on 11-of-16 shooting and eight rebounds against Ryan Kalkbrenner, the reigning Big East Defensive Player of the Year. Walker's efforts helped NU enjoy a 46-16 advantage in points in the paint.
- Walker posted his first career 20-point game in a win over Florida State on Nov. 27, with 20 points on 10-of-12 shooting and matched his career high with 13 rebounds.
- He made his 2022-23 debut against Memphis and had 15 points and 12 boards in a loss to the Tigers.
- Walker averaged 9.5 ppg and 6.0 rpg in 2022, breaking NU's single-season field goal percentage mark by shooting 68.3 percent from the field.
Climbing with Walker
Bandoumel Provides Steady Production for Big Red
Senior grad transfer Emmanuel Bandoumel has been a steadying force on both ends of the court for the Huskers this season. He averages 8.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game while also spearheading NU's defensive attack. Before joining the Husker program, the Quebec City, Quebec, native was a three-year starter at SMU, averaging double figures in both 2020-21 and 2021-22.
- He has reached double figures nine times, most recently a 10-point effort at Purdue on Jan. 13
- Bandoumel, who played off the ball for most of his time at SMU, matched his career best with six assists against Boston College on Nov. 30.
- He tallied 18 points and five assists in the loss against Memphis on Nov. 15 and had 13 points and five dimes against Oklahoma on Nov. 24.
- Bandoumel enjoyed his best game against Omaha with 18 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in NU's game-opening 11-0 run.
Gary is Huskers' Junkyard Dog
Nebraska's improvement in defense and rebounding is directly attributable to the arrival of Alabama transfer Juwan Gary. The 6-foot-6 forward is utilized in a number of ways, even playing center when the Huskers go a to a small-ball lineup. On the season, he is averaging 9.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and a team-best 1.4 steals per game, ranking 10 in the Big Ten in that category as of Jan. 16
- Gary suffered a shoulder injury against Illinois and missed the Purdue game.
- He has nine double-figure scoring efforts this season, already bettering his 2021-22 total of eight in 29 games at Alabama. Nebraska is 8-1 in games where Gary scores double figures.
- Gary had a season-high 18 points, including the go-ahead basket to break a 74-all tie in OT, and six boards at Minnesota.
- Gary led NU with 14 points and nine rebounds in the win over Iowa on Dec. 29
- His three double-figure rebound games (Maine, St. John's and K-State) ties for 10th in the Big Ten.
- Gary nearly posted his second double-double of the year with 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting and nine rebounds in the win at No. 7 Creighton on Dec. 4.
- He also had 16 points and seven boards against Oklahoma on Nov. 24.
- Gary has more steals (24) than in either of his two seasons at Alabama.
- He posted a double-double in his Husker debut with 14 points and 11 boards against Maine on Nov. 7
Tominaga Continues Strong Play
After a summer with the Japanese National Team, junior Keisei Tominaga continued his strong play this season. Tominaga, a 6-foot-2 guard, has been a spark off the bench, ranking third on the team in scoring at 9.8 points per game while averaging less than 20 minutes per contest.
- Tominaga leads the Huskers in both 3-pointers (28) and 3-point percentage (.394).
- He has nine double figure games, including eight off the bench, and is among the Big Ten leaders in scoring off the bench.
- Tominaga comes off a 16-point effort at No. 3 Purdue on Jan. 13, hitting 5-of-8 shots from the field, including four 3-pointers.
- He enjoyed one of his best efforts of the year in NU's 65-62 loss to No. 4 Purdue on Dec. 10 with 19 points, including four 3-pointers, Dec. 10. He sent the game to OT with a 3-pointer with 9.1 seconds left in regulation.
- Of Tominaga's 16 career double-figure games at Nebraska, 12 have come off the bench, including 23-point efforts against Boston College on Nov. 29 and against South Dakota last season.
- Tominaga shined in NU's win over Boston College on Nov. 30. He tied his career high of 23 points on just eight field goal attempts (7-8 FG, 4-5 3PT; 5-5 FT) for his second career 20-point game. He had 17 of his 23 markers in the first half, including 11 straight NU points.
- Tominaga also had a team-high 15 points at St. John's and a 19-point effort against Maine. In the game against Maine, he connected on 7-of-12 shots from the field in 20 minutes of work.
- Over the summer, Tominaga was with the Japanese National Team, making his debut in the FIBA World Cup Asia qualifier in early July and then starred for Japan in the 2022 Asia Cup. In seven games with the Senior National Team, Tominaga averaged 15.9 points per game while shooting 39.3 percent from the 3-point line. His best performance came against Australia in the Asia Cup quarterfinals, when he poured in 33 points on 12-of-20 shooting, including 8-of-15 from 3-point range.
|Year||PPG||FG Pct.||3Pt Pct.|
Making Strides On Defense
Nebraska has been much improved on the defensive end this season, jumping nearly 130 spots in defensive efficiency despite playing eight games against opponents who rank in the top-50 nationally in offensive efficiency as of Jan. 16.
- Nebraska has held 10 opponents to 1.0 point per possession or less.
- In the overtime loss to No. 4 Purdue on Dec. 10, Nebraska held the Boilermakers to a season-low 0.99 points per possession. Purdue currently leads the nation in offensive efficiency (120.1) as of Jan. 16.
- Nebraska held Iowa, which was 10th nationally in offensive efficiency, to 0.76 per possession and just 26 percent shooting on Dec. 29.
- In NU's win at No. 7 Creighton on Dec. 4, the Huskers limited the Bluejays to 0.73 points per possession, the Huskers' best performance in a road game in over a decade.