Posted by: Sports
Courtesy: UNL Athletic Communications
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The Husker basketball team will make its first trip to Sioux Falls, S.D., on Sunday, Dec. 16, as the Huskers will an old conference rival in a unique setting.
The Sanford Pentagon will host a matchup between Nebraska and Oklahoma State, as Heritage Court will be the scene of the first meeting between the two programs since 2011. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 7, by visiting Ticketmaster.com. The start time and television coverage will be announced at a later date.
The contest will be Nebraska’s first trip to the 3,200-seat Pentagon, which has hosted 23 NCAA Division I men’s college basketball games since opening in 2013. Oklahoma State played in the venue on Dec. 12, 2015, defeating Minnesota, 62-60.
“We are excited for Nebraska to make their debut at the Pentagon and to welcome back Oklahoma State to Heritage Court where they have won before,” said Kevin Lampe, executive vice president of Sanford Sports. “Two power conference programs coming off winning seasons is an outstanding matchup, and this game will be another great experience for the players and fans.”
“Going back to Sioux Falls is special. I know there are a lot of Husker fans in the state, and to go back and play a high-major game in Sioux Falls will be a lot of fun for everyone,” said Nebraska head coach and Doland, South Dakota, native Tim Miles. “My parents (Tip and Alyce) plus all four siblings are in South Dakota, so to be able to play a game there is a unique opportunity. The role that Kelby Krabbenhoft, Sanford Health and the Sanford Pentagon have played is also very important. What they have done for college basketball in the Dakotas is incredible.”
A member of the Big Ten, Nebraska is coming off a 22-11 season, going 13-5 in the conference in 2017-18. The Huskers fell in the first round of the NIT tournament. Nebraska returns five players who made at least 13 starts for NU in 2017-18 among its 10 returning letterwinners.
The returnees are led by preseason All-America candidate James Palmer Jr., who led the Huskers and was fifth in the Big Ten in scoring at 17.2 points per game while also averaging 4.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. The guard from Upper Marlboro, Md., was a first-team All-Big Ten selection last year, and is one of three double-figure scorers back for the Huskers. NU also returns senior forward Isaac Copeland Jr., who averaged 12.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game in earning All-Big Ten honors, and senior guard Glynn Watson Jr., who chipped in 10.5 points and 3.2 assists per game.
Oklahoma State, a Big 12 program, finished the 2017-18 season with a 21-15 record. The Cowboys advanced to the third round of the NIT tournament last season, and OSU posted six wins over top-25 opponents, including a school-record four wins over top-10 squads. OSU became the first team since 2003 to earn a regular-season sweep over Kansas, and had four victories over teams in the 2018 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight. Oklahoma State is expected to be led on the court by juniors Lindy Waters and Cameron McGriff, who averaged 8.7 and 8.4 points per game, respectively, in 2017-18.
“We are excited to re-engage with an old conference opponent in such a great venue. Nebraska has a strong basketball program and Coach Miles has done great work in the last few seasons of re-establishing high expectations in Lincoln,” said Oklahoma State head coach Mike Boynton, Jr. “We appreciate the Sanford Pentagon group for working with us to make this happen and are looking forward to competing.”
Nebraska is 64-53 all-time against Oklahoma State dating back to 1927. The teams have not played each other since the Huskers’ final Big 12 game, a 54-53 Oklahoma State victory in the 2011 Big 12 Tournament.
"I am excited to get two old conference foes together again," Miles said. "I think these games are important and drive local interest on both sides. Coach Boynton did a tremendous job in his first year getting that team to the NIT. He took over in very difficult circumstances and for him to rebound, have such great energy and such a great attitude says a lot about him as a coach. He’s is the type of guy I like to compete against.”
The Huskers’ matchup with Oklahoma State is part of a loaded non-conference schedule which also features two games in Kansas City for the Hall of Fame Classic (Texas Tech, USC and Missouri State), an ACC/Big Ten matchup at Clemson, a Gavitt Tipoff Games contest with Seton Hall as well as the annual matchup with Creighton. The 2018-19 slate will also include 20 Big Ten games, as pairings were announced earlier this spring.