Nebraska basketball looks to snap skid against No. 24 Penn State

From: Nebraska Athletics

The Nebraska men’s basketball team continues its two-game homestand Saturday night, as the Huskers host Penn State. Tipoff is at 6:01 p.m. and any returned tickets will go on sale at the Pinnacle Bank Arena box office beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. 

Saturday’s game will be televised on BTN with Cory Provus and Shon Morris on the call. The game can also be streamed via the web, smartphones, tablets and connected devices through the Fox Sports app.

Fans can follow all of the action across the state of Nebraska on the Learfield IMG College Husker Sports Network with Kent Pavelka and Jake Muhleisen on the call. The game will also be available on Huskers.com, the Huskers app and TuneIn radio. The pregame show begins one hour prior to tipoff.

Saturday’s game is the Huskers’ annual Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Game to support the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and the American Cancer Society.  Fans are encouraged to join the Husker coaches and staff by wearing suits and sneakers to Saturday’s game. In addition, the Huskers will also partner with Bethematch.org to continue to raise awareness for the National Bone Marrow Registry. Volunteers will be on hand around PBA to provide information on how to join the registry.

Nebraska (7-14, 2-8 Big Ten) looks to snap a six-game losing streak following a 79-68 loss against Michigan on Tuesday. In that game, Nebraska led 52-50 before Michigan used a 19-3 run to take the lead for good. Cam Mack led three Huskers in double figures with 19 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, while Kevin Cross and Haanif Cheatham each added 17 points in the loss. 

While Mack is third in the Big Ten and 11th nationally in assists at 6.8 per game, he has also become a more prolific scorer in recent games. The 6-foot-2 guard is averaging 18.0 ppg on 51 percent shooting over the Huskers’ last four contests, including 51 percent from 3-point range.

Penn State (15-5, 5-4 Big Ten) comes to Lincoln riding a three-game win streak following a 64-49 win over Indiana on Wednesday. In that game, the Nittany Lions forced 18 Indiana turnovers that led to 21 points and held the Hoosiers to 33 percent shooting. Lamar Stevens had 17 points and nine rebounds, while Curtis Jones came off the bench for 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.

WATCH

Fred Hoiberg on Huskers final 10 games:

Fred Hoiberg on Cam Mack:

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT
Thorir Thorbjarnarson is averaging 13.0 points on 51 percent shooting, a team-high 6.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals  per game over the Huskers’ last five contests. The 6-foot-6 guard had a team-high eight rebounds in Tuesday’s game with Michigan. 

NUMBERS TO KNOW
3.00 – Cam Mack is one of just eight power conference players with a 3.0-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in conference play through Jan. 29. 

No.

Name

School

Conf Asst-to-TO

1.

Jordan Goldwire

Duke

4.29

2.

Tyger Campbell

UCLA

4.29

3.

Collin Gillespie

Villanova

3.36

4.

Quincy McKnight

Seton Hall

3.31

5.

Wabissa Bede

Virginia Tech

3.12

6.

Tre Jones

Duke

3.11

7.

Cam Mack

Nebraska

3.00

 

Marcus Garrett

Kansas

3.00

Min. 3.0 asst/gm

7.8 –  Kevin Cross has been one of the Big Ten’s top scoring reserves this season. He ranks fourth among players who have exclusively come off the bench in 2019-20, and is the only freshman in the group. Cross ranks sixth among Big Ten true freshmen in scoring this season. 

No.

Name

School

PPG

1.

Izaiah Brockington

Penn State

9.2

2.

Jacob Young

Rutgers

8.5

3.

Alan Griffin

Illinois

8.4

4.

Kevin Cross

Nebraska

7.8

5.

Curtis Jones

Penn State

7.6

Min 50 percent of games played; 0 starts

50 – Returning point total from last season, all by Thorir Thorbjarnarson. That is the lowest by any power conference team since the 2009-10 season.
 
SCOUTING PENN STATE
Under ninth-year coach Patrick Chambers, Penn State comes into Saturday’s game with a 15-5 mark, the school’s best 20-game start in more than a decade. The Nittany Lions, who returned four starters from last season, are ranked 24th in the AP and 23rd in the coaches poll this season. 

Penn State won 13 of its first 15 games to open the season, including wins over nationally ranked Maryland and Iowa as well as Georgetown, Syracuse and Alabama. After a three-game losing streak, the Nittany Lions have bounced back and won three straight with wins against Ohio State, at Michigan and Indiana.  PSU, which leads the Big Ten in steals (8.7) and blocked shots (5.7) has been stout on the defensive end, holding 13 of its 20 opponents to 70 points or less this season. 

Penn State plays a nine-man rotation and features one of the Big Ten’s premier players in senior forward Lamar Stevens, who averages 16.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. Myreon Jones is the only other PSU player in double figures at 13.9 ppg, while also hitting on a team-high 44 3-pointers. Fifth-year senior Mike Watkins averages 9.8 points, and team-bests in both rebounding (7.8 rpg) and blocked shots (2.9 bpg). Jones, along with Myles Dread and Curtis Jones account for 108 of the Nittany Lions’ 156 3-pointers this season.

Series History: Saturday’s game is the 20th meeting with Penn State holding a 10-9 advantage. Since Nebraska joined the Big Ten, the Huskers are 8-8 against the Nittany Lions (8-6 in regular season; 0-2 in Big Ten Tournament).  The teams played three times before Nebraska joined the Big Ten, a home-and-home series in 1980 and 1981 and in the second round of the 1995 NIT. Nebraska is 8-1 all-time in Lincoln against the Nittany Lions, including 5-0 in Pinnacle Bank Arena. This is the only meeting of the two teams in 2019-20.

Categories: Husker Sports, Sports