Nebraska MBB: Huskers Return Home to Host Iowa on Thursday
Posted By: Sports
Courtesy: UNL Media Relations
GAME 15: VS. IOWA
Date: Thursday, Jan. 5
Time: 8 p.m.
Arena: Pinnacle Bank Arena
2016-17 Record: 8-6, 2-0 Big Ten
Head coach: Tim Miles
Record at Nebraska: 71-73 (5th year)
Career Record: 354-293 (22nd year)
2016-17 Record: 9-6, 1-1 Big Ten
Head coach: Fran McCaffery
Record at Maryland: 126-92 (7th year)
Career Record: 378-269 (21st year)
Online: BTN2Go and on BTN.com
Play-by-play: Kevin Kugler
Expert Analysis: Stephen Bardo
Radio: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network, including KLIN (1400 AM) in Lincoln, KXSP (590 AM) in Omaha and KRVN (880 AM) in Lexington.
Play-by-play: Kent Pavelka
Expert Analysis: Matt Davison
Also available online at Huskers.com, on the Huskers App and on TuneIn Radio and the TuneIn Radio App.
Huskers Return Home to Host Iowa on Thursday
Nebraska looks to continue its hot Big Ten start on Thursday evening, as the Huskers host the Iowa Hawkeyes at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
A limited number of tickets for Thursday’s game are available by visiting Huskers.com/Tickets or by calling NU Athletics Development and Ticketing at 800-8-BIGRED during business hours or at the Pinnacle Bank Arena Ticket Office beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Tipoff is set for 8:06 p.m. and the game between the Huskers and Hawkeyes will be carried nationally on BTN with Kevin Kugler and Stephen Bardo on the call. The game will also be available online on BTN2Go and BTN.com.
Fans can listen to Thursday’s game and all of the action throughout the 2016-17 season on the Husker Sports Network with Kent Pavelka and Matt Davison on the call, including on Huskers.com and the Huskers app. The broadcast starts 60 minutes before tipoff and a complete list of HSN affiliates is on page 5 of the release.
The Huskers will look for their first 3-0 conference start in more than four decades following road wins at No. 16 Indiana and at Maryland last week. The Huskers have limited their last two opponents to 39 percent shooting and held both teams below their season scoring averages.
In Sunday’s 67-65 win over the Terrapins, NU held Maryland to 35 percent shooting and closed out the win with a 14-0 game-ending run. The play of Ed Morrow and Michael Jacobson put the Huskers in position late while Tai Webster scored seven of his team-high 18 points in the final 2:32 to propel the Huskers into the lead. Jacobson and Morrow both played through foul trouble and combined for 19 points and 16 rebounds against Maryland.
While Morrow has been one of the Big Ten’s top rebounding forwards throughout 2016-17 with an average of 8.4 rebounds per game. Jacobson has played better of late, averaging 7.0 points and a team-high 9.0 rebounds in Big Ten action.
Iowa (9-6, 1-1 Big Ten) comes to Lincoln as winners of six of their last seven games, including an 86-83 win over Michigan on Sunday. In that game, Peter Jok scored a team-high 25 points to lead three Hawkeyes in double figures. Jok is one of the top players in the Big Ten as the 6-foot-6 guard leads the conference in scoring at 22.1 points per game and is shooting over 41 percent from 3-point range.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
.800 – The Huskers are 4-1 in games decided by five points or less this season following Sunday’s win at Maryland. The only loss came at Clemson when the Huskers had two shots to win or tie in the final minute.
1.5 – Thursday’s game between the Hawkeyes and Huskers will mark the third straight year the teams have played on January 5.
3.0 – Blocked shots per game for Ed Morrow Jr. over the last four contests, as he is also averaging 9.5 rebounds and 9.5 points per game in that stretch.
7 – Nebraska is 7-1 when hitting at least six 3-pointers and 1-5 when being held to five 3-pointers or less. The only loss came to now-No. 2 UCLA.
12.0 – Nebraska’s steals per game in Big Ten play which leads the conference.
15 – Consecutive games in double figures for Tai Webster, dating back to last year’s Big Ten Tournament. Prior to this season, his longest streak was four games.
78.3 – Points per game NU has averaged during its three-game win streak. The Huskers are shooting 46 percent from the field in the last three contests. Freshman Isaiah Roby is one of seven Huskers averaging at least 5.0 ppg in that stretch.
Iowa comes to Lincoln with a 9-6 record and splitting their first two Big Ten games, including an 86-83 overtime win over Michigan on Sunday. The Hawkeyes were just 3-5 in their first eight games, but have won six of their last contests, including wins over Iowa State, Northern Iowa and Michigan. Iowa is third in the Big Ten in scoring offense at 83.5 points per game and is sixth in 3-point shooting at 37.5 percent. The Hawkeyes replaced four starters from a team that won 22 games and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament before losing to eventual national champion Villanova.
Iowa is similar to Maryland in that the Hawkeyes feature one of the Big Ten’s top returning players in Peter Jok around a corps of young players. Jok leads the Big Ten in scoring at 22.1 points per game and also tops the Hawkeyes in rebounding at 6.1 per game. Of Iowa’s top four scorers, three are freshmen as Tyler Cook is averaging 13.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game despite missing seven games earlier in the season. Cordell Pemsl averages 9.8 points per game while pacing the conference in shooting at 67 percent, while Jordan Bohannon chips in 9.1 points per game following a 17-point, six-assist performance against Michigan.
The Hawkeyes lead the all-time series, 18-9 in a series that dates back to 1907. It is NU’s third-oldest series against a Big Ten foe, as only NU’s series with Minnesota and Wisconsin have been around longer. The teams had not met since 1976 before NU joined the Big Ten in 2011-12. Nebraska won two of the first three meetings, including a 64-60 Husker victory where NU overcame a 19-point deficit. Iowa has won the last five matchups, including the only meeting at Pinnacle Bank Arena two seasons ago. Thursday’s game is the first of two meetings with Iowa, as the second one will take place on Super Bowl Sunday.
Jan. 5, 2016: Despite a then-career-high 22 points from Tai Webster, Nebraska fell at No. 19 Iowa, 77-66, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Webster hit 7-of-11 shots from the floor, but the Iowa duo of Mike Gesell and Jarrod Uthoff combined for 47 points for the host Hawkeyes. Uthoff carried Iowa with 25 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots while Gesell scored 19 of his 22 points in the second half and added 10 assists. The senior guard went 11-of-13 from the foul line, as Iowa went 24-of-32 from the charity stripe, while Nebraska was just 9-for 16 from the line.
Nebraska, which led by as many as 10 in the first half, was done in by a scoring drought which spanned 7:33, as the Hawkeyes erased a 22-19 deficit and took a nine-point lead into the locker room. Nebraska cut the lead to eight points at 52-44 and 10 points on several other occasions, but the Hawkeyes never let the Huskers make it a two-possession game down the stretch.
LAST TIME OUT
Tai Webster finished with 18 points, including a go-ahead layup with 31.2 seconds left, as Nebraska rallied from a 13-point deficit in the last seven minutes to stun Maryland, 67-65, Sunday afternoon.
Webster, who battled foul trouble for most of the second half, keyed the Husker rally, scoring NU’s last seven points in the final 2:32 as Nebraska (8-6, 2-0 Big Ten) scored the last 14 points to hand Maryland just its second home loss in Big Ten play since the Terrapins joined the Big Ten.
Nebraska trailed 64-51, but rallied behind the Husker frontcourt, as Ed Morrow Jr. and Michael Jacobson got some timely baskets as the Huskers began whittling away the deficit, as Jacobson’s two free throws with 3:19 left made it a five-point game before Webster took over down the stretch.
Maryland, which was held to 35 percent shooting, missed its last nine shots from the field and committed three turnovers in the final six minutes, giving the Huskers a chance to rally. The Terrapins (13-2, 1-1 Big Ten) had two possessions in the final 30 seconds, but the Husker defense held firm, forcing a turnover on one possession before forcing a pair of Melo Trimble misses in the final 10 seconds.
Webster finished with a team-high 18 points, along with five rebounds and five assists to pace three Huskers in double figures. Glynn Watson Jr. added 17 points and three steals, while Michael Jacobson finished with 10 points and nine rebounds, including seven offensive boards.
- Nebraska is bidding for its first-ever 3-0 start in Big Ten play and first 3-0 start in conference play since 1975-76 when NU won its first four Big Eight games. The Huskers have opened conference play 3-0 only six times since the end of WWII.
- Sunday’s comeback win over Maryland marked the fifth time that Nebraska has overcome a double-digit deficit under Tim Miles, but the first one on the road. The 13-point deficit NU overcame was its largest away from home since overcoming a 13-point deficit at Texas Tech in a 61-59 win on Feb. 6, 2007. That is the only other time in the last 15 years NU has overcome a double-digit deficit on the road.
- A pair of high school teammates will square off, as Nebraska sophomore forward Ed Morrow Jr. and Iowa guard Isaiah Moss will meet for the first time as opponents. Morrow has started all 15 games for NU and is averaging 10.4 points and a team-high 8.4 rebounds per game, while Moss is chipping in 7.0 points per game for the Hawkeyes after redshirting last season.
YOUTH IS SERVED
With seven freshmen and sophomores in the Huskers’ nine-man rotation, it is not surprising that most of the scoring and minutes have come from the underclassmen. Through the first 14 games, 67 percent of NU’s minutes and 66 percent of NU’s points have come from the freshmen and sophomore classes.
TAI’S TAKING OVER
Last season, Tai Webster was one of the most improved players in the Big Ten, and the 6-foot-4 guard has taken another leap as a senior. Webster comes into the week sixth in the Big Ten in scoring at 17.4 points per game and also chipping in 4.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
- Webster comes off his first-ever Big Ten Player of the Week award, as he averaged 19.5 points, 3.5 assists, 3.0 steals and 3.0 rebounds per game in helping NU to a 2-0 Big Ten start with wins over No. 16 Indiana and Maryland. He keyed NU’s comeback at Maryland with 18 points, including the Huskers’ final seven points in a 67-65 win.
- Webster is making a strong bid to join an elite club of Big Ten players. Since 1993-94, only nine Big Ten players have finished the season at those thresholds, a list which includes Jalen Rose Evan Turner, Denzel Valentine, D’Angelo Russell and Michael Finley among others.
- Webster’s 17.4 points per game is on pace to be the highest by a Husker senior since Eric Piatkowski in 1994.
- He has been exceptional against NU’s best foes, as he is averaging 20.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game in NU’s four games against ranked opponents this season.
- He leads the Huskers with six 20-point games, including a 21-point effort with four rebounds and four steals in the win over No. 16 Indiana on Dec. 28.
- He is the only Husker to score double figures in each of NU’s 14 contests in 2016-17 and has been in double figures in 15 straight games dating back to last season.
- Webster ranks 44th on NU’s career scoring list with 831 points and needs just 169 points to become Nebraska’s 28th 1,000-point scorer.
- Webster led NU with 22 points and five assists at No. 3 Kansas on Dec. 10. His other 20-point games this season have come against Sacramento State, Virginia Tech, Louisiana Tech and No. 10 Creighton. Prior to this year, he had just two 20-point efforts in his first Husker career.
- He turned in a strong performance at the Wooden Legacy, averaging 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists in three games. Webster had 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists vs. No. 14 UCLA and had 23 points and eight rebounds against Virginia Tech.
- As a junior, Webster put together one of the largest one-season scoring jumps by a Husker in recent years during the 2015-16 season. He improved his scoring average from 3.9 ppg to 10.1 ppg from his sophomore to junior campaigns, marking the largest one-season jump by a Husker in nine seasons. Webster reached double figures 16 times in 2015-16 after accomplishing the feat just seven times in his first two seasons and closed the year by averaging 14.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game at the Big Ten Tournament.
MORROW ENJOYS BREAKOUT SEASON
Sophomore Ed Morrow Jr. has enjoyed a breakout season. One of the "Five Most Improved Players" in the Big Ten by BTN analyst Shon Morris, Morrow has raised his scoring average from 4.1 points to 10.4 points per game on 55 percent shooting, while ranking among the Big Ten leaders with 8.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. Morrow comes into the Iowa game ranked sixth in the Big Ten in rebounding, ninth in blocked shots and 14th in field goal percentage.
- Morrow’s 8.4 rebounds per game is on pace to be the highest average by a Husker sophomore since Venson Hamilton averaged 8.4 caroms per outing in 1996-97. Only seven Husker sophomores since the 1953-54 season have averaged at least eight rebounds per game.
- Reached double figures seven times this year after reaching double figures just four times in 2015-16.
- Earned his third double-double of the season with 12 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots in the win over No. 16 Indiana on Dec. 28. In that game, Morrow had two big offensive putbacks in the final two minutes to preserve NU’s lead.
- Grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds vs. Gardner-Webb on Dec. 18. It was the highest total by a Husker since the 2006-07 season. He also matched his then-career high with four blocked shots in the game.
- Turned in a strong effort at No. 3 Kansas, finishing with 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting and seven rebounds.
- Snagged a then-career-high 13 rebounds against No. 10 Creighton on Dec. 7.
- Earned his second career double-double at Clemson on Nov. 30, grabbing a then-career-high 12 rebounds and adding 10 points and three blocked shots.
- Collected his first career double-double against Dayton, scoring 19 points on 9-of-11 shooting and grabbing 10 rebounds in the 80-78 win.
- Reached double figures in the loss to Virginia Tech, scoring 13 points and grabbing seven boards, as he averaged 13.3 points and 8.0 rebounds during the three games at the Wooden Legacy.
- Morrow’s mother, Nafeesah Brown, was a standout basketball player for the Huskers in the mid-1990s, as she averaged 16.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game during her Husker career. As a senior, she averaged 20.2 points and 10.1 rebounds per game in earning first-team All-Big Eight honors.
WATSON IS POINT OF IT ALL
Glynn Watson Jr. has continued his emergence as one of the best young guards in the Big Ten. The 6-foot sophomore enters the Iowa game averaging 13.9 points, 2.9 assists and a Big Ten-best 2.2 steals per game. Watson comes from a basketball family, as his older brother Demetri McCamey was a first-team All-Big Ten performer at Illinois, but has quickly made his own name at Nebraska.
- Watson is second on the team in scoring and assists and ranks among the conference leaders in scoring (11th) and steals (first).
- Reached double figures nine times, including five 20-point efforts, after not scoring more than 17 points in a game as a freshmen.
- Finished with 17 points, five rebounds and three steals in the Huskers’ win at Maryland.
- Keyed NU’s win over No. 16 Indiana with 26 points, five steals and four assists, as he had 19 second-half points.
- Paced NU with 20 points, matched his career high with six rebounds and added four steals and four assists at Clemson.
- Played well at the Wooden Legacy, averaging 16.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.3 steals and 3.0 assists per game.
- Established a career high with 27 points on 10-of-18 shooting against No. 14 UCLA, scoring 21 of his 27 points in the second half as Nebraska rallied back and cut a 15-point deficit to two.
- Keyed NU’s win over Dayton with 20 points, a career-high five steals and three assists while hitting a pair of game-winning free throws with 8.8 seconds left when the Huskers trailed 78-77.
- He opened the season with a then-career-high 23 points along with six assists and five rebounds in NU’s win over Sacramento State on Nov. 13.
- Prior to Watson’s effort in the opener, Shavon Shields was the last Husker with a 20-point, six-assist effort as he had 21 points and seven assists against Delaware State on Nov. 19, 2015. The last Husker guard to do that was Jamel White against Western Kentucky during the 2006-07 season.
As a freshman, Watson played in all 34 games and made 16 starts for the Huskers. He averaged 8.6 points per game and was in double figures 15 times.
- Watson was one of five Husker freshmen to finish his initial campaign on NU’s top-10 list for both freshmen points and assists, joining Eric Piatkowski (1991), Tyronn Lue (1996), Cookie Belcher (1997) and Jake Muhleisen (2002).
- Finished fourth among Big Ten freshmen in both assists and steals per game in 2015-16.
- His 2.44-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in 2015-16 was the best by a Husker guard in nearly a decade and the fourth-best over the last 30 years.
TAKING ON A CHALLENGING SCHEDULE
Nebraska has faced a daunting 2016-17 non-conference schedule. The Huskers are 8-6 on the season and have played the second-toughest schedule in the country according to the NCAA’s RPI as of Jan. 2.
- Nebraska’s non-conference schedule ranks seventh nationally and is the only Big Ten team in the top-10.
- Nebraska has played seven games against top-50 RPI teams which is the most in the nation. Only five teams (NU, Florida State, Michigan State, Minnesota and Texas Southern) have played at least six games against current RPI teams.
- The Huskers’ Division I opponents are a combined 110-46, as the .705 winning percentage ranks second nationally. Nebraska and Florida (.715) are the only schools who have played teams with a combined .700 winning percentage.
- NU’s remaining opponents have a .731 winning percentage.
- The Big Ten has 11 of its 14 teams in the top-100 of the RPI, including seven top-50 teams, through Jan. 2
- Five of NU’s six losses have come against teams ranked or receiving votes in this week’s polls.