Nebraska MBB: Huskers Take on No. 3 Kansas

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Posted By: Sports

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Courtesy: UNL Media Relations

GAME 10: AT NO. 3 KANSAS
Date: Saturday, Dec. 10
Time: 2:15 p.m.
Location: Lawrence, Kan.
Arena: Allen Fieldhouse

NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS
2016-17 Record: 5-4
Head coach: Tim Miles
Record at Nebraska: 68-71 (5th year)
Career Record: 351-291 (22nd year)

NO. 3/3 KANSAS JAYHAWKS
2016-17 Record: 8-1
Head coach: Bill Self
Record at Kansas: 393-84 (14th year)
Career Record: 600-189 (24th year)

BROADCAST INFO
Television: ESPN
Play-by-play: Adam Amin
Expert Analysis: Miles Simon
Online: BTN2Go

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.

OPENING NUMBER
13 – Rebounds by Ed Morrow Jr. against Creighton on Wednesday. Morrow’s 13 caroms matches the most by a Husker under Tim Miles. The last time a Husker had more than 13 rebounds was Ryan Anderson, who had 14 against Oregon State on Dec. 12, 2009.

Huskers Take on No. 3 Kansas
Nebraska will face its second top-10 opponent of the week on Saturday afternoon, as the Huskers travel to Lawrence, Kan., for a matchup with the Kansas Jayhawks.

Tipoff from historic Allen Fieldhouse is set for 2:15 p.m. and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN with Adam Amin and Miles Simon on the call. It will also be available on the WatchESPN app.

Fans can listen to Saturday’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.

Saturday’s game between the Huskers and Jayhawks marks Nebraska’s first regular-season meeting against a Big 12 Conference opponent since Nebraska joined the Big Ten on July 1, 2011. The Huskers and Jayhawks were two of the founding members of the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1907 and remained in the same conference, except for the 1919-20 season when the Huskers competed as an independent, until the 2010-11 campaign.

The Huskers (5-4) look to bounce back from a disappointing 77-62 loss to No. 10 Creighton on Wednesday night. The Huskers were done in by 32.4 percent shooting, including just 3-of-22 from 3-point range. Nebraska was within 41-37 when Tai Webster picked up his fourth foul with just under 15:00 left, but the Bluejays went on an 11-0 run to pull away.

Webster was one of the bright spots for the Huskers, finishing with a game-high 20 points and six rebounds, and the 6-foot-4 senior from Auckland, New Zealand, is enjoying a strong senior year. Webster, the only senior on the NU roster, comes into Saturday’s game averaging 17.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per contest to pace three Husker players in double figures.

Kansas (8-1) comes into Saturday’s game on an eight-game win streak since a 103-99 loss to Indiana in the season opener. The Jayhawks average 87.8 points per game and are led by Frank Mason III, who averages 20.8 points per game to pace three Jayhawks in double figures. Kansas has won its last 47 home games, including 45 at Allen Fieldhouse.

NUMBERS TO KNOW

1999 – Nebraska’s last win in Allen Fieldhouse, a 64-59 win over No. 24 Kansas on Feb. 10, 1999.

4 – Number of wins Nebraska has all-time against teams ranked third in the AP poll. The Huskers are 4-15 all-time vs. No. 3 ranked teams.

8.1 – Ed Morrow’s rebounds per game is on pace to be the highest rebounding average by a Husker since Aleks Maric averaged 10.2 rebounds per game in 2007-08. Morrow is averaging 9.2 rebounds per game over his last six contests.

9 – Number of 20-point games by Huskers in 2016-17 (Webster-4; Watson-4; McVeigh-1). Entering this season, the entire returning roster combined for two, both coming from Webster in 2015-16.

SCOUTING KANSAS
Kansas comes into Saturday’s game with an 8-1 mark following a 105-62 win over UMKC on Wednesday. In that game, Frank Mason III scored 30 points, including 6-of-7 from 3-point range to pace four Jayhawks in double figures. KU went 15-of-27 from 3-point range and shot 56 percent from the field in the victory.

Bill Self is in his 14th season at the helm of the Jayhawk program and has guided KU to 12 straight Big 12 titles and a national champuionship in 2007-08. He picked up his 600th career win in Wednesday’s victory over UMKC. This year’s team bounced back from an overtime loss to Indiana to win eight straight games, including a win over No. 1 Duke at the Champions Classic in New York City. The Jayhawks feature three players on the Naismith Trophy Watch List in Mason, Devonte’ Graham and freshman Josh Jackson. Mason is among the Big 12 scoring leaders at 20.8 points per game and averages a team-high 5.3 assists per game, while Graham averages 13.7 points and 5.1 assists per outing. Jackson, the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2016, averages 14.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.6 caroms per contest and has been in double figures in his last seven outings.

SERIES HISTORY
Kansas leads the all-time series, 170-71, in a series that dates back to 1900, and have won the last 17 meetings back dating back to a 78-67 KU win on March 3, 2004. Nebraska’s last win in the series was a 74-55 victory over No. 12 Kansas on Feb. 15, 2004, a victory that snapped a nine-game losing streak in the series. The Huskers are 7-51 all-time at Allen Fieldhouse and last earned a win there in 1999. Nebraska coach Tim Miles is 0-1 against Kansas, as his Colorado State team lost 76-55, to the Jayhawks at the Sprint Center on Dec. 11, 2010.

LAST TIME OUT
Tai Webster scored 20 points, and Ed Morrow Jr. grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds, but it was not enough as the Huskers fell to No. 10 Creighton, 77-62 on Wednesday.

Webster scored 12 of his 20 tallies after the break, even though he dealt with foul trouble for most of the second half. The senior guard picked up his fourth foul with 14:55 left in the game and Creighton clinging to a 41-37 lead, but the Bluejays scored the next 11 points and outscored the Huskers 36-25 the rest of the way.

Glynn Watson Jr. scored nine points and Jack McVeigh added seven for the Big Red, who held Creighton to its lowest point total of the season. NU was done in by shooing just 32 percent, including 3-of-22 from long range.

TAKING ON A CHALLENGING SCHEDULE
Nebraska’s schedule has been one of the nation’s toughest in 2016-17. The Huskers are 5-4 on the season with a No. 4 strength of schedule according to the NCAA as of Dec. 8.

  • Nebraska’s game against Kansas completes a week where the Huskers will face consecutive top-10 teams in non-conference action for the first time in school history.
  • Saturday’s game at No. 3 Kansas will mark only the fifth time in program history where the Huskers will play a road non-conference game against a team in the top five of the AP poll, and the first since a loss to No. 2 Indiana on Dec. 21, 1974. The other three times NU played a top-five team on the road all came between 1949 and 1960.
  • The last time NU faced a top-five non-conference opponent outside of Lincoln was on Dec. 18, 1999, when the Huskers lost to No. 4 Arizona in Las Vegas.
  • The 2016-17 season marks the third time Nebraska has faced multiple top-10 teams prior to the start of conference play. In both of the other two instances (1950-51 and 1954-55), NU played a conference opponent as part of the Big Seven Holiday Tournament in Kansas City.
  • It is the second straight season that NU will face multiple ranked teams during non-conference action. Prior to last season, it has not happened since the 2002-03 season.
  • The three ranked non-conference teams will mark the fifth time since the AP poll began that NU has faced three ranked opponents before the start of conference play (also 1954-55, 1957-58, 1958-59 and 2015-16). The school record is four set by the 1954-55 squad. In 1954-55 and 1957-58, at least one of the games came in the Big Seven Holiday Classic in Kansas City.
  • The four teams NU has lost to (UCLA, Creighton, Clemson, Virginia Tech) are a combined 30-3 as of Dec. 7.
  • Nebraska has 22 wins in program history against top-10 teams, with the most recent one coming against Wisconsin on March 9, 2014.

NEBRASKA-KANSAS TIES
While no current Husker has faced Kansas, Nebraska Coach Tim Miles has faced Kansas once before, as his Colorado State team lost to the Jayhawks in 2010. NU’s graduate assistant Wes Eikmeier had five points and an assist in 29 minutes in that contest.

  • Nebraska Director of Operations Teddy Owens is the son of former Kansas Coach Ted Owens. The elder Owens coached at Kansas from 1964-83, leading the Jawhawks to a pair of Final Fours (1971, 1974) and six conference titles.
  • Nebaska Director of Player Relations and Development Ali Farokhmanesh starred on Northern Iowa’s Sweet 16 team that knocked top-seeded Kansas out of the 2010 NCAA Tournament. In that game, Farokhmanesh had 16 points, including a game-sealing 3-pointer with 35 seconds left in regulation.
  • Freshman Jeriah Horne is from Overland Park and played his high school basketball at The Barstow School in Kansas City.

YOUTH IS SERVED
With seven freshmen and sophomores in the Huskers’ current 10-man rotation, it is not surprising that most of the scoring and minutes have come from the underclassmen. Through the first nine games, 69 percent of NU’s minutes and 67 percent of the Huskers’ 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 weekend fourth in the Big Ten in scoring at 17.2 points per game and also chipping in 5.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.3 steals per game.

  • Webster is the only Big Ten player – and one of 31 players nationally – averaging at least 17 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game.
  • Webster cracked NU’s top-60 scoring chart on Wednesday with his 20-point outing and could climb quickly on NU’s career scoring list. With 743 career points, he could climb from 59th to 52nd with 22 points on Saturday. Webster is now two assists from reaching 200 for his career.
  • He has been exceptional against NU’s best foes, as he is averaging 19.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game in NU’s two games against ranked opponents.
  • He is the only Husker to score double figures in each of NU’s nine contests in 2016-17 and has been in double figures in 11 of his last 12 games dating back to the 2016 Big Ten Tournament (the other game was a nine-point effort in the win over Wisconsin).
  • Webster now has four 20-point games this season after reaching that mark twice in his first three seasons, including a career-high 23 points against both Virginia Tech and Louisiana Tech.
  • 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.

TRAVELS WITH TAI: SUMMER EDITION
Senior guard Tai Webster spent the summer helping New Zealand qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics. In the FIBA Qualifying Tournament in Manila, he averaged 16.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game, ranking in the top six in all three categories. Webster also had a pair of double-doubles, matching current New York Knicks forward Maurice Ndour for the most in the tournament. Webster spent all of June and the first week of July with the New Zealand program, as the team trained in Japan, China, Latvia and Lithuania. In addition, he served as a counselor at the adidas Nations Camp in Los Angeles.

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 Kansas game averaging 13.2 points, 3.0 assists and a Big Ten-best 2.1 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 (18th) and steals (first).
  • Has already posted four 20-point games in NU’s first eight contests after not scoring more than 17 points in any game as a freshman.
  • Paced NU with 20 points, matched his career high with six rebounds and added four steals and four assists at Clemson.
  • He 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.

THIEVERY IS ELEMENTARY FOR WATSON
Sophomore guard Glynn Watson has been a defensive terror as of late. Over the last six games, he has averaged 2.5 steals per game, including three games of at least four steals.

  • He leads the Big Ten in steals at 2.1 per game and is one of only two Big Ten players averaging at least two steals per game entering the weekend.
  • Watson has two of the three highest single-game totals in the Big Ten this year, as he had five against Dayton (Nov. 24) and Virginia Tech (Nov. 27).
  • If Watson can keep up this pace, he can become only the sixth Husker to average at least two steals per game, joining Cookie Belcher, Erick Strickland, Eric Johnson, Venson Hamilton and Brian Carr.
  • Watson is also one of 27 players nationally and one of three from power conferences averaging 13 points, 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game.

RETURNING TO DEFENSIVE ROOTS
Some of the biggest strides Nebraska has made have come on the defensive side of the ball in 2016-17. Nebraska allowed 69.0 points per game last year, but enters Saturday’s game with Kansas ranked fourth in the Big Ten at 64.1 points per game.

  • According to KenPom, NU’s adjusted defensive efficiency is 41st nationally, which is impressive considering that NU has already faced five of the top 40 most efficient offenses in the country through Thursday’s games: UCLA (fourth); Creighton (ninth), Virginia Tech (18th); Clemson (28th) and Dayton (37th).
  • Nebraska has held three teams (Louisiana Tech, Clemson and Creighton) to season lows, while three other teams (UCLA, Virginia Tech and South Dakota) were limited to their second-lowest totals of the the year.
  • The Huskers have held six of their eight Division I opponents to 10 or more points below their season average and six teams to 1.00 point per possession or less.
  • Nebraska has held five of their nine opponents to under 40 percent shooting while only two teams (UCLA and Creighton) has shot over 45 percent this season.
  • Under Miles, NU is 42-14 over the past four-plus seasons when holding opponents to under 40 percent shooting.