Nebraska MBB: Huskers Face No. 24 Bearcats in Brooklyn

sports rotator NU basketball

Posted By: Sports

sports@klkntv.com

Huskers Face No. 24 Bearcats in Brooklyn

GAME INFORMATION

NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS
2015-16 Record: 4-1
Head coach: Tim Miles
Record at Nebraska: 51-50 (4th year)
Career Record: 334-270 (21st year)

No. 24/24 CINCINNATI BEARCATS
2015-16 Record: 5-0
Head coach: Mick Cronin
Record at UC: 190-118 (10th year)
Career Record: 259-142 (13th year)

BROADCAST INFO
Television: American Sports Network
Play-by-play: Dave Armstrong
Expert Analysis: Tim Scarborough

WHERE TO WATCH
Full Clearance List

In Omaha – My Network TV (Ch. 42.2).
In Nebraska – DirecTV: Altitude 2 (681-1); DISH Altitude 2 (check on screen guide)
Nationwide – DIRECTV: (Ch. 640)*; DISH: (Ch. 432)*
*-Included in Sports Package; Not Basic Packages

Online: ESPN3.com and WatchESPN.com

RADIO INFO
IMG Husker Sports Radio Network. For Friday’s game, 105.3 WOW-FM in Lincoln and CD-105.9 in Omaha.

Play-by-play: Kent Pavelka

Also available online at Huskers.com and on the Huskers App.

The Nebraska basketball team continues its early-season slate, as the Huskers head to Brooklyn, N.Y., for the Barclays Center Classic this weekend.

The Huskers, who are 4-1 on the season following a 23-point win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday, takes on No. 24/24 (AP/Coaches) Cincinnati (5-0) in the first game of the doubleheader. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. (CT) and the game will be carried by the American Sports Network and on ESPN3.com. Friday’s matchup between the Huskers and Bearcats will be on select Husker Sports Network stations, including WOW 105.3 FM in Lincoln and CD-105.9 FM in Omaha.

George Washington (5-0) and Tennessee (4-1) will square off in Friday’s second game with tipoff set for 8 p.m. (CT). GW sits just outside the top-25 this week, while Tennessee is coached by former Texas coach Rick Barnes.

Nebraska comes off its best defensive effort of the season, holding Arkansas-Pine Bluff to 31 percent shooting in a 67-44 victory on Tuesday. Andrew White III and Shavon Shields combined for 31 points, as Nebraska built an 18-point halftime lead and cruised to victory.

White, who began his college career at Kansas, has been one of the Big Ten’s top newcomers, ranking ninth in the conference in scoring at 16.3 points per game. The 6-foot-7 junior is the only newcomer among the top-10 scorers in the Big Ten and has averaged under 22 minutes per game. White leads a balanced attack which features seven players averaging over 5.0 points per game.

White and the Huskers will face a formidable challenge, as Cincinnati has won all five of its games by at least 15 points and cracked both polls for the first time this season. The Bearcats, who were picked to finish third in the American Athletic Conference, rank in the top-10 nationally in steals, blocks and field goal percentage defense.

The Barclays Center Classic wraps up on Saturday with the third-place game set for 11 a.m. (central) and the title game at 1:30 p.m.

NUMBERS TO KNOW
61.9 – Percentage of Nebraska’s points from players in their first active season of competition as a Husker.

7 – Nebraska’s seven games in November matches the most ever in program history (also 2013).

9 – Number of Huskers who have reached double figures during the first five games of 2015-16. Last year, NU had only eight players reach double figures in 31 games.

50 – Nebraska scored 50 points in a half for the second time this season in Sunday’s win over Southeastern Louisiana. The Huskers scored 54 points in the second half in the season opener against Mississippi Valley State.

1,196 – Career points for Shavon Shields entering Friday’s game with Cincinnati. Shields, who is third among active Big Ten players in scoring, needs eight points to tie Jack Moore (1,204, 1979-82) for 18th place on NU’s career scoring chart.

2006 – Nebraska plays its first game in the state of New York since the 2006 NIT when the Huskers faced Hofstra. NU will be in New York City during the 2017-18 season, as the Big Ten Tournament will be hosted in Madison Square Garden.

SCOUTING CINCINNATI
No. 24 Cincinnati comes to Lincoln with a 5-0 record following a 64-49 win over Southeastern Louisiana on Tuesday evening. All five wins have been by double figures, while Tuesday’s 15-point win was its smallest of the season. Cincinnati is coached by Mick Cronin, who is in his 10th year at the school after serving as head coach at Murray State. The Bearcats have made the last five NCAA Tournaments, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2012.

The Bearcats return all five starters and nine letterwinners from a team that went 23-11 and reached the third round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament. UC is a balanced attack, as two players are in double figures while nine players average at least seven points per game. Senior Farad Cobb leads UC at 13.6 points per game and is hitting 57 percent from 3-point range. The Bearcats’ strength is on the defensive end, as UC is second nationally in steals, third in turnover margin, seventh in blocked shots and eighth in field goal percentage defense.

Series History: Cincinnati leads the all-time series, 4-1, and Friday’s matchup marks the third straight year the teams have met. Last season, Nebraska won 56-55 in double overtime at Pinnacle Bank Arena, as Shavon Shields and Terran Petteway had 13 points each. Tai Webster scored all nine of his points in the final 10 minutes of regulation and in the two overtimes. Tony Caupain led Cincinnati with 13 points, but the Bearcats shot 32 percent from the field. In 2013, Cincinnati posted a 74-59 home win behind a 21-point effort from All-American Sean Kilpatrick. The Huskers and Bearcats have met once on a neutral court, a 84-73 Bearcats win in the semifinals of the 1996 San Juan Shootout. Nebraska is 11-16 all-time against the schools in the American Athletic Conference. The two-game home-and-home basketball series in 2013 and 2014 was announced as part of multi-sport agreement, as the teams will also meet in football during the 2020 (Lincoln) and 2025 (Cincinnati) seasons.

LAST TIME OUT
Andrew White III and Shavon Shields combined for 31 points and 10 rebounds, as Nebraska improved to 4-1 on the season with a 67-44 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Nebraska struggled offensive at times in the first half, but got into a rhythm in the final minutes of the half to take a 34-16 halftime lead. White had 12 first-half points while Shields added 11 markers for the Huskers, who closed the half on a 19-3 run and held UAPB without a field goal for the final eight minutes.

NU held UAPB to just 30.6 percent shooting and out-rebounded the Golden Lions, 50-33. NU was opportunistic, converting 16 offensive rebounds into 20 points and enjoying a 15-4 cushion in points off turnovers.

Nebraska jumped to a 9-2 lead in the first three minutes behind five points from White, but the Huskers went cold as the visitors whittled away the early lead. Arkansas Pine Bluff got to within 15-13 after a basket by Thaddeus Handley, before the Huskers used an 8-0 run to build a 22-13 lead after a 3-pointer from White with 4:28 left in the half. Nebraska got quality efforts from some of its unsung players in the opening half, as Jake Hammond had seven rebounds and four points before halftime, while freshman Glynn Watson Jr. keyed the 12-1 run to end the half with a pair of assists and a 3-pointer.

In all, the 23-3 run continued into the second half as the Huskers pushed the lead to 38-16 after a pair of Tai Webster free throws with 17:19 left.

UAPB got to within 40-23 on a Chauncy Parker jumper with 15:43 left, but a jumper by Shields and a steal and 3-point play from Watson quickly extended the lead to 22. From there, NU led by at least 20 for the final 14 minutes.

NOT DUCKING A CHALLENGE
Friday’s matchup against No. 24 Cincinnati in Brooklyn marks the Huskers’ second contest against a ranked opponent during the first three weeks of the season. It is more impressive when you consider that Nebraska has four freshmen among its top nine players.

  • It is the first time since the 2002-03 season that Nebraska has squared off with multiple ranked teams during non-conference action. NU lost at No. 11 Villanova at the Gavitt Games on Nov. 17. NU will likely face a third ranked team next week, as the Huskers host No. 15 Miami in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge next Tuesday.
  • From the inception of the AP poll in 1949 until 2014, Nebraska played a total of three ranked teams in November (No. 5 Michigan State, 1990; No. 17 Texas, 1996, No. 20 Creighton, 2006). This season, the Huskers will face two (No. 11 Villanova and No. 24 Cincinnati).
  • It marks just the third time in school history (also 1954-55 and 1958-59) that Nebraska has played two ranked teams in its first six games of the season.
  • Nebraska is 64-240 all-time against ranked teams while the Huskers look to snap a seven-game losing streak to ranked opponents dating back to the 2013-14 season.

NEWCOMERS SHOWING SCORING PUNCH
With the departure of three starters who are playing professionally, including two in the NBA D-League (Terran Petteway and Walter Pitchford), the biggest question entering the season was who could fill the scoring void for the Huskers. Nebraska’s newcomers have shown the ability to provide offense in the early going, as Nebraska’s 78.8 points per game is fifth in the Big Ten entering this weekend’s action. Nebraska has eclipsed the 90-point mark twice in five games, the first two times under Miles where NU scored at least 90 points.

  • Five of Nebraska’s top-six scorers are in their first year of competition as a Husker, as newcomers have accounted for 61.9 percent of NU’s total offense.
  • Five of NU’s newcomers have already posted double-digit efforts, including four by Andrew White III and two by Glynn Watson Jr.
  • Highlighted by four true freshmen among NU’s top six scorers, 41.1 percent of NU’s total points are by freshman, which is the highest percentage in the Big Ten according to Stats Inc.

Andrew White III has shown early that he could be a go-to scorer for the Big Red. The 6-foot-7 wing is ninth in the Big Ten in scoring at 16.2 points per game. He has scored 18 or more points three times, including a career-high 20 points against Delaware State on Nov. 19. Against Villanova, White had 18 points and matched his career high with six rebounds. Against Mississippi Valley State, White was efficient, hitting 7-of-10 shots from the field, including four 3-pointers, in just 16 minutes of action. It was the most points by a Husker making his debut since Andre Almeida had 20 points in his debut in 2010-11.

  • White looks to continue a trend of high-impact transfers under Miles who have gone on to first-team All-conference honors, including Terran Petteway (2014) at NU and Andy Ogide (2011) and Wes Eikmeier (2012) during Miles’ tenure at Colorado State.

NU’s freshman class has played a significant role early on. Glynn Watson Jr. (9.0 ppg) and Jack McVeigh (7.6) rank third and fourth on the team in scoring.

  • Watson has been playing well of late, averaging 9.0 points per game on 47 percent shooting the last three games with an impressive 9-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in that span. Watson had a season-high 14 points against Southeastern Louisiana and 12 points at No. 11 Villanova.
  • McVeigh is second on the team in 3-pointers and is shooting 90 percent from the foul line in NU’s first five games. He came off the bench and totaled 16 points, including 4-of-4 from 3-point range, in just 13 minutes of action against MVSU. His 16-point effort was the highest total by a true freshman since Joe McCray had 23 points in his collegiate debut in 2004 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
  • Ed Morrow Jr. and Michael Jacobson have been adding depth in the post, as the pair combines for 11.2 points on 59 percent shooting and 8.8 rebounds per game. Morrow had 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting in Sunday’s win over Southeastern Louisiana and is shooting 67 percent from the field, while Jacobson, who missed nearly two months with a foot injury, has rounded into form in recent games, grabbing 7.5 rebounds per game over NU’s last two games. He had 11 points and seven rebounds against Southeastern Louisiana and totaled eight caroms against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.