Huskers Host No. 4 Purdue on Saturday
Nebraska wraps up a stretch of three straight games against nationally ranked teams on Saturday afternoon when the Huskers host No. 4 Purdue at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Tipoff is set for 1:15 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 beginning Saturday at 11:45 a.m. Saturday's game will be televised nationally on BTN and on the Huskers Radio Network.
|Game 11: vs. No. 4/4 Purdue|
|Date: Sat., Dec. 10
Tipoff: 1:15 p.m. (CT)
Arena: Pinnacle Bank Arena
On the Air
Radio: Saturday'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: Saturday's game will be televised nationally on BTN with Jeff Levering and Stephen Bardo on the call. The game will also be available on the Fox Sports App
Fans will hear from new Husker Football Coach Matt Rhule at halftime of Saturday's game. Saturday's game also feature the Kids Zone located in the North Concourse beginning 90 minutes prior to tipoff. Fans can also use their tickets for the Purdue game to get free GA seating for the Husker women's 6 p.m. game against Samford Saturday night at PBA.
Saturday's game with Purdue concludes a stretch of playing three straight top-15 teams to open the month of December. It will be the Huskers' sixth Quad 1 game of 2022-23, which leads the Big Ten. Through Wednesday's games, NU's five Quad 1 games lead all power conference programs. In all, 12 Big Ten teams, including Nebraska, are in the top 76 of the NET through Wednesday's games.
The Huskers (6-4, 0-1 Big Ten) battled No. 14 Indiana before losing 81-65 on Wednesday night. NU was without Sam Griesel, who was a late scratch because of illness. Behind a career-high 22 points from C.J. Wilcher, NU was within seven a couple of times early in the second half and trailed 73-61 with just over three minutes left before Indiana pulled away. Emmanuel Bandoumel added 13 points, while Derrick Walker and Keisei Tominaga added 11 markers apiece.
Wilcher's 22-point effort at Indiana marked his second 20-point game of the year. The 6-foot-5 sophomore is second on the team in scoring at 11.4 points per game after averaging just over eight points per game in his first season at NU. He is one of four Huskers averaging at least double figures entering Saturday's game.
Purdue (9-0, 1-0 Big Ten) comes to Lincoln following an 85-66 win over Hofstra on Wednesday evening. Zach Edey continued to make his case for National Player of the Year with 23 points and 18 rebounds to pace five Boilermakers in double figures. Edey leads the Big Ten in both scoring (23.2 ppg) and rebounding (13.3 rpg), ranking in the top five nationally in both areas.
Purdue comes to Lincoln with a perfect 9-0 record and No. 4 national ranking following a 85-66 win over Hofstra on Wednesday night. The Boilermakers, who were unranked at the start of the year, have been impressive during the first month of the season, picking up wins over Marquette, West Virginia, Gonzaga, Duke, Florida State and Minnesota. Eight of Purdue's nine wins have been by double-figures. Matt Painter is in his 18th season at Purdue and has guided the Boilermakers to NCAA appearances in seven of the last eight seasons (no NCAA Tournament in 2019-20 because of COVID), including a Sweet 16 appearance last season.
Purdue's attack starts with Zach Edey, as the 7-foot-4 center is an early-season frontrunner for National Player of the Year. Edey averages 23.2 points on 61 percent shooting and 13.3 rebounds per game to lead the Big Ten in both scoring and rebounding. Edey has eight straight 20-point games, including a 31-point, 22-rebound effort in Purdue's Big Ten opener en route to earning Big Ten Player of the Week for the second straight week. Freshman guard Fletcher Loyer is the only other Boilermaker averaging double figures at 12.1 points per game. In all, seven players average at least 5.0 points per game.
Series History: Saturday's game between the Huskers and Purdue will be the 25th all-time meeting between the two programs in a series that dates back to 1947. Purdue holds an 18-6 lead in the all-time series, including a 12-4 mark (11-3 in regular season; 1-1 in Big Ten Tournament) since Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011-12. Nebraska's last win over Purdue in 2019 featured the first triple-double in school history by Cam Mack.
Last meeting: Keisei Tominaga's 11 points led three Huskers in double figures, but Nebraska was not able to overcome a slow start in a 92-65 setback at No. 7 Purdue on Jan. 14. Tominaga had a team-high 11 markers, while Alonzo Verge Jr. and C.J. Wilcher added 10 each for the Huskers, who shot 45.6 percent from the field, but committed 17 turnovers which led to 28 Purdue points. Zach Edey led all scorers with 22 points to pace four Purdue players in double figures. Jaden Ivey had 17 points and five assists while Caleb Furst and Trevion Williams chipped in 10 points apiece for the winners. Nebraska got into foul trouble early in the first half and Purdue took advantage, taking an early 23-4 lead. The Huskers battled back and pulled to within 40-27 after a 3-pointer from Verge, but Purdue ran off six straight points and led 48-33 after Wilcher's buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Nebraska would get within 16 on two occasions in the second half, the last at 57-41, but Purdue put the game away with a 15-2 run to stretch the lead.
Numbers to Know
.672 - 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.
1.39 - Nebraska's point per possession total in the win over Boston College on Nov. 30. It was the highest PPP for NU under NU Coach Fred Hoiberg (1.36 vs. Doane on Dec. 17, 2020) and the highest since posting a 1.40 PPP vs. Creighton on Dec. 8, 2018).
5 - Derrick Walker is one of only five players nationally - and three from power conferences - averaging 15 points per game, while shooting at least 70 percent from the field this season.
5 -Nebraska's win at No. 7 Creighton on Dec. 4 was the fifth top-10 road win in school history and second for NU Coach Fred Hoiberg. The other top-10 road wins were at No. 1 Missouri (1982), at No. 7 Iowa State (1997), at No. 9 Michigan State (2014) and at No. 10 Wisconsin (2022).
9.4 - Nebraska is allowing its opponents only 9.4 free throw attempts per game. The Huskers have held six of their 10 opponents to 10 free throws or less, including five at Creighton and eight at Indiana on Wednesday. On the other hand, NU is getting to the line an average of 16.2 times per game.
- Purdue's No. 4 ranking this week matches the highest ranked Big Ten opponent to visit Lincoln since the Huskers joined the Big Ten in 2011-12 (No. 4 Maryland on Feb. 3, 2016) and the third top-five team to visit Pinnacle Bank Arena since it opened in 2013.
- The last time Nebraska beat a top-five opponent was a 70-67 win over No. 3 Texas on Feb, 19, 2011.
- Purdue will be the sixth Quad 1 game Nebraska has played this season. Through Wednesday's games, NU's five games against Quad 1 teams is second nationally and leads all power conference schools.
- Saturday's game at No. 4 Purdue continues a run of three straight games against nationally ranked opponents. It is the first time since the 2020-21 season that Nebraska had played three straight games against ranked foes.
- A win over No. 4 Purdue would be the Huskers' 75th win in program history over a ranked opponent and 25th against a top-10 opponent. It would also mark the sixth time in school history and first since 2013-14 that Nebraska would knock off a pair of top-10 teams in the same season (also 1993-94, 1991-92, 1990-91 and 1957-58). The 1957-58 Huskers were coached by Jerry Bush, the grandfather of Husker Head Coach Fred Hoiberg.
- Nebraska saw its three-game win streak against ranked opponents snapped in Wednesday's loss at No. 14 Indiana. It matched the second-longest streak in school history and was made more impressive that all three games were on the road. It marked the first time in school history that Nebraska had a three-game road win streak vs. ranked teams.
- The Big Ten has six teams ranked in the Top 25 this week in either the AP or coaches poll (Purdue-4/4; Maryland-13/13; Indiana-14/11; Illinois -17/17; and Ohio State-25/23 and Iowa RV/24). In addition, three other teams (Rutgers, Wisconsin and Michigan State) are receiving votes in at least one poll.
- 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 eight of their 10 opponents to 70 points or less and have climbed 104 spots in adjusted defense in KenPom compared to last season. The Huskers have held six of their 10 opponents to under 1.0 point per possession.
- The biggest strides Nebraska has made has been in rebounding. NU is currently seventh in the Big Ten in rebounding margin at +4.0 per game and has been out-rebounded just twice in its first 10 contests. NU is 107th nationally in rebounding margin after ranking 344th last year. The Huskers have four players averaging at least 5.0 rebounds per game entering Saturday's game vs. Purdue.
- Nebraska has been balanced during the early portion of the season. Currently four Huskers are averaging double figures, led by Derrick Walker's 15.6 points per game, while two others are averaging at least 9.7 ppg. Since 2000-01, NU has had only four seasons with four players averaging double figures (2019-20, 2018-19, 2013-14, 2005-06). The last time NU had five players finish the season averaging double figures was the 1993-94 season.
- Nebraska has shared the wealth during the first 10 games. The Huskers have had six different players lead the team in scoring and eight players score double figures at least once.
- Nebraska has done an excellent job of not fouling. The Huskers are third nationally in fewest fouls per game (11.5) as of Dec. 7. Nebraska has made more free throws (104) than its opponents have attempted (94), while only one opponent (Florida State) has gotten to the line more than Nebraska in the 10 contests.
- Nebraska has had four players (Juwan Gary, Blaise Keita, Sam Griesel and Derrick Walker) combine for five double-doubles in the first 10 games.
- The wins by the Husker men (63-53 at No. 7 Creighton) and women (90-67 at No. 20 Maryland) on Sunday marked the first time since March 9, 2014, that both programs beat ranked opponents on the same day.
Last Time Out
Big runs in each half powered No. 14 Indiana to an 81-65 victory over Nebraska Wednesday night at Assembly Hall.
The Hoosiers opened the game on a 14-2 run en route to building a 13-point halftime lead. In the second half, Nebraska twice trimmed the lead to seven before Indiana put the game away with a 14-0 run that gave the Hoosiers a 21-point advantage. Nebraska, which had won its last three road games against ranked opponents dating back to last season, dropped its Big Ten opener and fell to 6-4 on the season. Indiana improved to 8-1 and evened its conference record at 1-1.
The Huskers, who were without starting point guard and second-leading scorer Sam Griesel, had four players in double figures led by C.J. Wilcher, who scored 17 of his career-high 22 points in the second half. Emmanuel Bandoumel had 13 points, while Derrick Walker and Keisei Tominaga chipped in 11 points each. Walker also grabbed five rebounds and dished out five assists, while Juwan Gary led Nebraska with seven rebounds. Nebraska shot 43 percent in the game, but the Huskers were just 6-of-23 from the 3-point line.
Trayce Jackson-Davis posted a triple-double for Indiana with 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Trey Galloway led the Hoosiers with 20 points, one of four Indiana players in double figures, as IU's 81 points were the most allowed by Nebraska this season.
Ending Streaks and Starting New Ones
Over the past 10 days, the Huskers have ended a pair of significant streaks.
- The Huskers' 88-67 win over Boston College on Nov. 30 broke NU's three-game losing streak in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and snapped a five-game streak in either the Gavitt Games or ACC/Big Ten Challenge dating back to 2018.
- Nebraska's 63-53 win over No. 7 Creighton on Dec. 4 was NU's first win against Creighton since 2018, but first win in Omaha against Creighton since 2004, and first regular-season win against the Bluejays since 1995.
- Nebraska's win at Creighton was NU's first non-conference ranked win since 2007 when Nebraska downed No. 16 Oregon at the CHI Health Center in Omaha.
Efficient Night vs. Boston College
Nebraska averaged 1.39 points per possession in its Nov. 30 win over Boston College, marking the highest total in Fred Hoiberg's four seasons. Boston College entered the game allowing just over 62 points per game and ranking in the top 75 nationally in defensive efficiency. NU's 88 points were the most points the Eagles allowed in regulation since UNC scored 91 on Jan. 2, 2022.
Trio of Transfers Making Impact
Nebraska added three Division I transfers in the offseason in Sam Griesel (North Dakota State), Emmanuel Bandoumel (SMU) and Juwan Gary (Alabama). The trio combined for nearly 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in their college careers before enrolling at NU and have made major contributions early on. They've combined for 30.8 points, 17.8 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game in NU's first 10 contests.
Griesel, a Lincoln native, has enjoyed quite the homecoming, averaging 11.3 points, 4.9 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game from his point guard spot. He is fourth in the Big Ten in assists as of Dec. 7. The Huskers' first scholarship recruit from the state since Jake Muhleisen in the early 2000s, Griesel keyed NU's win at No. 7 Creighton with 18 points - including 13 in the second half - 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 against Omaha. Griesel's 22-point effort against Maine was one of the highest-scoring debuts by a Husker in the last 50 seasons.
Bandoumel has been steady on both ends of the court, averaging 9.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game while also pacing NU's effort on the defensive end. Bandoumel, who played off the ball for most of his time at SMU, has nearly a 1.6-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio and matched his career best with six assists against Boston College. He had 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. He enjoyed his best game against Omaha with 18 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in NU's game-opening 11-0 run. His on-ball pressure on opposing guards has helped with NU's defensive efforts early on in the season. Bandoumel averaged double figures in his final two years at SMU.
Gary, who can be used on the wing or in the post when NU goes small, has been a disruptive force on both ends, as he averages 9.7 points, 6.5 rebounds and a team-high 1.7 steals per game. He is sixth in the Big Ten in steals and 12th in offensive rebounding (2.5 per game). He has reached double figures in five of the last seven games, including 12 points and nine rebounds in the win at No. 7 Creighton on Dec. 4. Gary had 16 points and seven rebounds against Oklahoma. He posted a double-double against Maine with 14 points and 11 boards, while he matched his career high with 11 rebounds in the loss to St. John's.
If history is any indication, it will be likely that one of these three will pace NU in scoring, as a newcomer has topped the Husker scoring chart in each of the three seasons under Fred Hoiberg. Of the eight players who have averaged double figures under Hoiberg, all eight have been in their first year of competition at Nebraska.
Walker Looks to Continue Efficient Shooting
Nebraska has been a much more efficient team since the return of Derrick Walker on Nov. 25. Walker, who missed NU's first five games, has been a force in the paint, averaging 15.6 points on 73 percent shooting, 8.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. The 6-foot-9 forward was NU's only returning starter and has posted two double-doubles in his first five games.
- Walker had 11 points, five rebounds and five assists at No. 14 Indiana, and has been in double figures in each of his last seven games dating back to last season. He is averaging 15.6 ppg and 8.1 rebounds per game in that stretch. The seven straight games in double figures is Walker's longest stretch of his career.
- Walker is one of just five players nationally as of Dec. 7 averaging at least 15 points and shooting 70 percent from the field in 2022-23.
- Walker 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.
- He 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.
- Last season, Walker was the only Big Ten player and one of just 14 players in Division I to shoot at least 65 percent and average at least eight points per game.
Tominaga Continues Strong Play
After a summer with the Japanese National Team, junior Keisei Tominaga continued his strong play during the opening stretch of the season. Tominaga, a 6-foot-2 guard, has been a spark off the bench, ranking third on the team in scoring at 10.7 points per game while averaging just 20 minutes per contest.
- Tominaga is second on the team with 16 3-pointers and is shooting a team-best 41 percent from long range.
- He made his first start of the year at No. 14 Indiana and had 11 points, two rebound and two assists in 25 minutes.
- He enjoyed the best performance of his career 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 has been in double figures five times this season, including a team-high 15 points at St. John's and a 19-point effort against Maine. In that game, he connected on 7-of-12 shots from the field, including a trio of 3-pointers, and added two rebounds and a blocked shot in 20 minutes.
- He averaged 10.0 ppg during the three games in the ESPN Events Invitational, including a 13-point effort in the win over Florida State.
- Of Tominaga's 12 double-figure games at Nebraska, nine have come off the bench, including his other 23-point game against South Dakota last season.
- 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.
Wilcher Breaks Out
Sophomore C.J. Wilcher was one of the Big Ten's top scoring sixth men last year and has moved into the starting lineup in 2022-23. The 6-foot-5 guard is averaging 11.4 points per game while shooting 43 percent from the field.
- He tops NU with 19 3-pointers this season and is shooting 36 percent from 3-point range.
- Wilcher comes off a career-high 22-point effort at No. 14 Indiana on Wednesday, scoring 17 second-half points to keep the Huskers in the game.
- He scored all 14 of his points in the second half in the win over Boston College on Nov. 30, including a quartet of 3-pointers.
- Wilcher was efficient in NU's win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff with 15 points and three assists on just nine shots. Wilcher was 3-of-3 from 3-point range, the second time this season he had at least three 3-pointers.
- He posted a then-career-high 21 points against Omaha on 8-of-12 shooting, including four 3-pointers. It marked the first 20-point game of his career.
- Last season, he closed the season playing some of his best basketball, shooting 60 percent from the field, including 50 percent from 3-point range, over NU's final five games. In Big Ten play last season, he shot a team-best 43.0 percent from beyond the arc.