Rutgers revenge – Husker men’s hoops looks for more effort in round two

jkoller@klkntv.com

Fred Hoiberg said Nebraska basketball’s most disappointing performance of the Big Ten season came early on against Rutgers. On Saturday, the Huskers face the same test on the road, but now with the blueprint for what can’t happen and a motivation to reach a very different outcome. WATCH:

Game notes courtesy: UNL Media Relations

GAME 20: NEBRASKA AT NO. 24/25 RUTGERS
Date:     Saturday, Jan. 25
Time:     1:03 p.m. (CT)
Location:     Piscataway, N.J.
Arena:     Rutgers Athletic Center

NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS
2019-20 Record: 7-12 (2-6 Big Ten)
Head coach: Fred Hoiberg
    Record at Nebraska: 7-12 (1st year)
    Career NCAA Record: 122-68 (6th year)

RUTGERS SCARLET KNIGHTS
2019-20 Record: 14-5 (5-3 Big Ten)
Head coach: Steve Pikiell
    Record at Rutgers: 58-59 (4th year)
    Career Record: 250-215 (15th year)

BROADCAST INFO
Television: BTN
    Play-by-play: Lisa Byington
    Analyst: Shon Morris 

Online Broadcast: Fox Sports App

Radio: Learfield IMG College Husker Sports Network, including 590 AM (Omaha), 1400 AM (Lincoln) and 880 AM (Lexington)
    Play-by-play: Kent Pavelka
    Analyst: Jake Muhleisen

Online Radio: Available on Huskers.com, Huskers App, TuneIn.com/Huskers and TuneIn App. 
SiriusXM (Internet): Ch.  971        XM: Ch. 381

Huskers Head to No. 24/25 Rutgers Saturday afternoon
The Nebraska men’s basketball team concludes its two-game road trip on Saturday, as the Huskers take on No. 24/25 Rutgers. Tipoff at the Rutgers Athletic Center is slated for shortly after 1 p.m. (central) and the matchup will be carried nationally on BTN with Lisa Byington 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.

Nebraska (7-12, 2-6 Big Ten) looks to bounce back following an 82-68 loss at Wisconsin Tuesday evening. The Huskers’ 68 points were the third-highest total Wisconsin has given up in Big Ten play, but the Badgers scorched the nets with a school-record 18 3-pointers to pull away after Nebraska got within 66-61 with 7:35 remaining.

Dachon Burke Jr. paced four Huskers in double figures with a game-high 20 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the floor and a season-high eight rebounds. NU also got a strong performance from freshman Kevin Cross, who finished with 17 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, in 20 minutes off the bench.

Burke has been solid in his first season of action at Nebraska, averaging 12.2 points and ranking third in the Big Ten with 1.4 steals per game. He has a team-high three 20-point games following Tuesday’s effort at Wisconsin. 

Rutgers (14-5, 5-3) is nationally ranked for the first time since 1979, and comes off a tough 85-80 loss at No. 19 Iowa on Wednesday night. The Scarlet Knights got a career performance from Ron Harper Jr., as he finished with 29 points on 10-of-14 shooting and nine rebounds to pace three Scarlet Knights in double figures. Akwasi Yeboah (17) and Myles Johnson (10) also finished in double figures, as Rutgers rallied back from a nine-point deficit with four minutes remaining to take a 77-76 lead with 2:25 left before Iowa ran off five straight points to regain the lead for good. Rutgers has been tough at home, going 13-0 at the RAC this season.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT
With 129 assists this season, Cam Mack enters Saturday’s game with Rutgers needing just seven assists to crack Nebraska’s single-season top-10 list (Tyronn Lue, 136, 1996-97). Mack’s 6.8 assists per game ranks 11th nationally as of Jan. 22.

NUMBERS TO KNOW
3.0- Nebraska enters the weekend ranked second in the Big Ten in turnover margin at +3.0 per game. NU has committed 12 or fewer turnovers in each of the last 11 contests. 

3.30 – Cam Mack ranks fourth nationally among all power conference players with a 3.30-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in conference play. As of Jan. 22, only six power conference players have better than a 3.0-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in league contests.

No.

Name

School

Conf Asst-to-TO

1.

Jordan Goldwire

Duke

4.50

2.

Tyger Campbell

UCLA

3.70

3.

Quincy McKnight

Seton Hall

3.56

4.

Cam Mack

Nebraska

3.30

5.

Wabissa Bede

Virginia Tech

3.20

6.

Connor McCaffery

Iowa

3.00

Min. 3.0 asst/gm

7.5 – Kevin Cross has been one of the Big Ten’s top scoring reserves this season. He ranks fifth 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

9.6

2.

Jacob Young

Rutgers

8.5

3.

Alan Griffin

Illinois

8.4

4.

David DeJulius

Michigan

7.8

5.

Kevin Cross

Nebraska

7.5

Min 12 games; 0 starts

8 – Nebraska has had eight of its 10 eligible scholarship players reach double figures this season, a total which includes former walk-on Charlie Easley. The Huskers have three players currently averaging double figures.

15 – Double figure scoring runs that Nebraska has had in 2019-20 following a pair of 10-0 runs at Wisconsin on Tuesday.

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 RUTGERS
Rutgers has made significant strides under fourth-year coach Steve Pikiell. A former player at UConn, Pikiell spent the previous 11 seasons at Stony Brook, leading the program to six postseason appearances in seven years, including an NCAA bid in 2016. Rutgers won 15 games in each of Pikiell’s first two years and reached the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament. Last year, the Scarlet Knights tied for 10th with a 7-13 conference mark. This year, Rutgers is 14-5 and in a tie for third in the Big Ten race with a 5-3 mark. Since consecutive losses to Pitt and Michigan State, Rutgers is 8-2 and has climbed to No. 24 nationally. Rutgers, which is 13-0 at home this year, holds teams to 60.1 ppg and just 37 percent shooting from the field.

The Scarlet Knights feature a young lineup with only one senior and four sophomores starting. The Scarlet Knights regained the services of Geo Baker, who had started Rutgers’ first 13 games before missing the first meeting with NU because of a left thumb injury. He has come off the bench since returning to action last week and averaged 10.4 points and a team-high 4.6 assists per game.  Ron Harper Jr. leads a balanced attack with 12.7 points per game, as he comes off a career-high 29-point performance at Iowa on Wednesday. Grad transfer Akwasi Yeboah (9.4 ppg) and Myles Johnson (9.2 ppg, 7.9 rpg) also average at least nine points per game, as Rutgers has six players averaging at least seven points per game.

Series History: Saturday’s matchup will be the 14th all-time meeting with the Scarlet Knights. Nebraska leads the all-time series 8-5 and has won seven of the 10 meetings since Rutgers joined the Big Ten. NU is 2-3 all-time in the RAC, posting wins in 2016 and 2018. Prior to the Scarlet Knights joining the Big Ten, the two teams split a home-and-home series in 2006 and 2007. The only other meeting was a 19-point Rutgers win at the 1999 Hoop and Quill Classic in St. Charles, Mo.

Last Meeting: Haanif Cheatham had 16 points, but Nebraska fell to Rutgers, 79-62 on Jan. 3.  Caleb McConnell led the way for the Scarlet Knights with 20 points, which included a perfect 8-for-8 from the floor. Myles Johnson added 18 points and 14 rebounds, while Ron Harper Jr. chipped in 11 points and 10 rebounds.

The big story was inside, as Rutgers outscored Nebraska 52-24 inside the paint and outrebounded the Huskers 48-31. Rutgers also had 12 second-chance points, while Nebraska had zero.  An 18-1 first-half scoring run gave the Scarlet Knights a 41-28 lead heading into the break, as the Scarlet Knights scored the last seven points of the half to break open a close contest.  Rutgers would increase that lead to 22 midway through the second half, as Nebraska would miss six out of its first seven shots. Nebraska was able to cut that lead to 15 but would get no closer.
 
LAST TIME OUT
Wisconsin used a record-breaking performance from beyond the 3-point line to pull away for an 82-68 win over the visiting Nebraska men’s basketball team Tuesday night at the Kohl Center.

The Badgers were 18-of-34 from the 3-point line, shooting 53 percent from beyond the arc. Wisconsin, which entered the game averaging only six 3-pointers per game in Big Ten play, hit 10 threes in the second half alone, to break open what was a one-point game at the half.  Nebraska was within 66-61 after a Kevin Cross 3-pointer with 7:34 left, but the Badgers ran off eight straight points, including 3-pointers by D’Mitrik Trice and Nate Reuvers to stretch the lead back to 13 and led by double figures the rest of the contest.

Brad Davison hit four 3-pointers to pace the Badgers with 14 points, while Brevin Pritzl also knocked down four threes for all 12 of his points. D’Mitrik Trice had a trio of 3-pointers to add 11 points, while Nate Reuvers also scored 11.
Wisconsin’s record-breaking night spoiled a solid offensive outing for Nebraska, as the Huskers placed four players in double figures. Despite missing 10 of its last 11 shots, NU shot 43.3 percent from the field, including better than 55 percent in the first half.

Dachon Burke Jr. led all scorers with 20 points, his third 20-point effort this season and 13th of his career. Burke hit 10-of-14 shots and grabbed a season-high eight rebounds.  Kevin Cross added 17 points for Nebraska – including 10 in the second half – to post the highest-scoring Big Ten game of his career. Cam Mack finished in double figures for the 12th straight game, scoring 14 points and adding seven rebounds and six assists. Thorir Thorbjarnarson rounded out the Husker quartet in double figures with 12 points.
 
STORYLINES
• Rutgers will be the second ranked team the Huskers have faced this year. NU is 0-1 against ranked foes this season, including a loss to No. 21 Ohio State on Jan. 14. All-time, the Huskers are 4-10 against teams ranked No. 24 in the AP poll with wins over Kansas State (2008), Missouri (1999), at Kansas (1999) and Oklahoma (1995).

• ESPN’s BPI has Nebraska with the third-hardest strength of schedule remaining as of Jan. 23. In fact, 10 of the top 11 are from the Big Ten, while all 14 conference teams are in the top 25.

• Nebraska is in a stretch where it will play 14 straight games against teams currently ranked in the top 50 of the NET. In all, 12 of the 14 Big Ten teams are ranked in the top 55 of the NET as of Jan. 11.

• Dachon Burke Jr. plays in his home state for the first time as a Husker on Saturday. Burke, who hails from Orange, N.J., is second on the team in scoring at 12.2 points per game, including a team-high 13.6 ppg in conference play.

• Nebraska enters the Rutgers contest averaging 72.3 points per game, which matches NU’s highest average since the 1996-97 season.

• Nebraska has relied on its balance during the first half of the season. In its first 19 games, NU has put at least four players in double figures 14 times. The Huskers put five players in double figures three times, most recently against Iowa on Jan. 7. The Huskers currently have three players averaging double figures overall, and four in conference games.

• Despite being undersized and having just one player who had played in a Big Ten game entering the season, Nebraska’s play in Big Ten action is starting to resemble the team’s that Coach Hoiberg had at Iowa State, especially with ball movement and limiting turnovers. NU is in the top three in five offensive categories entering the weekend, including assist-to-turnover ratio and 3-point shooting.
 
Big Strides in Conference Play

Category

2019-20 (B1G)

2018-19 (B1G)

Times Leading Big 12 during Hoiberg’s tenure

3-Pt./GM

9.3 (1st)

6.8 (8th)

(3) 2011-12; 2012-13; 2014-15

Asst/GM

16.1 (3rd)

11.7 (10th)

(2) 2013-14; 2014-15

Asst-to-TO Ratio

1.7-to-1 (1st)

1.2-to-1 (5th)

(2) 2013-14; 2014-15

Turnover Margin

+3.0 (2nd)

+2.0 (4th)

(0) None

Turnovers/Gm

9.3 (2nd)

9.6 (3rd)

(1) 2014-15

as of Jan. 22
 
• Sophomore Cam Mack has made an impact in his first season at Nebraska. He is 11th nationally with 6.8 assists per game, which is on pace to be the most by a Husker since the 1984-85 season, and ranks 27th nationally with his 2.53-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Mack’s assist-to-turnover ratio is on pace to be one of the best in school history.
 
Best Assist/Turnover Ratios (Since 1979)

No.

Ratio

Player

Asst.-TO

Year

1.

3.05

Brian Carr

201-66

1985-86

2.

2.73

Jamar Johnson

123-45

1993-94

3.

2.58

Brian Carr

237-92

1984-85

4.

2.54

Jack Moore

109-43

1981-82

2.53

Cam Mack

129-51

2019-20

5.

2.52

Charles Richardson Jr.

179-71

2006-07

min. 3.0 assists/gm
 
• Cam Mack is the only Husker in the last 30 years to have multiple points-assists double-doubles in the same season as he has four this season, including three in Big Ten play. From 1989-90 to the end of the 2018-19 season, it had happened just five times. Mack’s consecutive points-assists double-doubles against Indiana and Purdue were the first since Brian Carr in December of 1985 (vs. UC-Irvine and Creighton).
 
Husker Points/Assists Double-Doubles (Last 30 years)

No.

Pts.

Asst.

Opponent

Cam Mack

15

10

vs. Iowa, 1/7/20

Cam Mack

11

12

vs. Purdue, 12/13/19

Cam Mack

15

10

at Indiana, 12/13/19

Cam Mack

13

11

vs. Southern Utah, 11/11/19

Glynn Watson Jr.

10

10

vs. Cal State Fullerton, 12/20/18

Lance Jeter

10

10

vs. Kansas, 2/5/11

Lance Jeter

12

12

at Kansas State, 2/7/10

Sek Henry

11

11

at TCU, 11/21/09

Tom Wald

11

11

vs. Appalachian State, 12/31/94

  • Nebraska enters Saturday’s game second in the Big Ten in turnover margin with +3.0 per game. The Huskers have forced an average of 14.1 turnovers per game to rank third in the Big Ten while averaging 11.1 turnovers per game to also rank third in the Big Ten and 16th nationally. During his tenure at Iowa State, Hoiberg’s teams ranked in the top three in the Big 12 in fewest turnovers per game in four of his five seasons at the school.

    • It is not surprising that Nebraska has relied on its 3-point shooting, as Hoiberg’s Iowa State teams led the Big 12 in 3-pointers in four of his five seasons at the school. The Huskers are on pace to average 8.4 3-pointers per game, a total which would rank second in school history and be the most since the 2001-02 campaign.

    Most 3-Pointers/Game in School History

No.

School

Games

3-Pointers/Game

1.

2001-02

28

9.54

2019-20

19

8.42

2.

2006-07

31

7.87

3.

2018-19

36

7.50

  • Freshman Yvan Ouedraogo leads the Huskers in rebounding at 6.3 per game, which would be the highest season average by a Husker freshman in 15 years (Aleks Maric, 6.3 rpg in 2004-05). Ouedraogo’s 14 rebounds vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 29 were the most by a Husker freshman since 2004 (15, Maric vs. UAB) and tied for the third-highest total by a Husker freshman in the last 20 years.

    • The Huskers have played three overtime games in 2019-20, posting a 1-2 record. NU’s single-season record is four, set five times, most recently in 2007-08. As of Jan. 17, Nebraska has played in three of the Big Ten’s nine overtime games in 2019-20, including the first meeting with Indiana.

    • Freshman guard Charlie Easley was put on scholarship for the spring semester. Easley has played in 14 games as a backup guard, including each of Nebraska’s seven Big Ten contests. He had a career-high eight points in Saturday’s loss to Indiana.

    • Nebraska returns a national-low 1.9 percent of its scoring from last season and the 50 returning points is the lowest by any power conference team since 2009 according to noted statistician Ken Pomeroy.

    SETTING A FAST PACE
    Not only are the Huskers adjusting to a whole new roster, but playing at a significantly faster pace than in previous years. The Huskers are 13th nationally in offensive tempo, as their average possession is 15.2 seconds per possession as of Jan. 21.
    • The only power conference schools that play at a faster pace are St. John’s (10th) and Alabama (11th). 

    • In his five full seasons as a college coach, Hoiberg’s teams have ranked in the top 20 in offensive tempo four times, including top-10 rankings in both 2014 and 2015. 

    • Hoiberg’s first Iowa State team in 2010-11 jumped from 67th to 20th nationally in offensive pace and ranked in the top 40 nationally in adjusted tempo in four of his five seasons in Ames, including top-15 nationally in his last two campaigns.

    • In the KenPom era (1997-present), only one Husker team has ranked among the top 100 nationally in adjusted tempo – the 1999-2000 Huskers under Danny Nee. The Huskers’ quickest offensive tempo in the last decade was in 2017-18 when the Huskers were 140th in offensive tempo.

    MACK DELIVERS AS HUSKERS’ LEAD GUARD
    Junior college transfer Cam Mack was the cornerstone of the Huskers’ recruiting class, and has lived up to the billing during the first half of the year. Mack was the No. 3 JUCO recruit in the country last year at Salt Lake CC and has made an impact in his first season at Nebraska.

    Mack, who was listed as the top JC point guard recruit in the country, enters the Rutgers contest averaging 13.0 points per game while leading the Huskers in assists (6.8) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.5-to-1).

    • He is third in the Big Ten in assists per game and assist-to-turnover ratio while ranking 11th in steals. 

    • Mack is tied for the national lead with four games with at least 10 points and 10 assists. In fact, only nine players in Division I have at least three double-doubles with points and assists this season as of Jan. 22.

    • His 6.8 assists per game is on pace to rank second in school history, trailing only Brian Carr, who averaged 7.9 assists per game in 1984-85.

    • Mack has been even better in Big Ten play, leading the conference in assists (8.6 apg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (3.3-to-1) in conference games only.  He has four double-doubles in eight Big Ten contests. 

    • He recorded the first triple-double in program history against Purdue on Dec. 15 with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists, setting season bests in both rebounds and assists in NU’s 70-54 win. 

    • He’s reached double figures 17 times, including a season-high 24-point performance against South Dakota State on Nov. 15 and a 20-point, nine-assist effort against Indiana on Jan. 18.

    • Mack is seven assists away from 10th place on NU’s single-season chart and his 129 assists is the most by a Husker in the Big Ten era.

    • Last season at Salt Lake CC, Mack averaged 19.1 points, 7.6 assists and 5.9 rebounds per game, ranking fifth nationally in assists per game. He totaled nine double-doubles and three triple-doubles as a freshman and dished out 10-or-more assists nine times.

    CHEATHAM MAKES IMPACT ON BOTH ENDS
    Fifth-year senior Haanif Cheatham has been one of the leaders for a young Husker team. The guard from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will make his 100th collegiate appearance and 92nd career start against Rutgers on Saturday. Cheatham began his career at Marquette before spending the 2018-19 season at Florida Gulf Coast, where he played 10 games before shoulder surgery.  After a slow start, Cheatham has been one of NU’s most consistent offensive threats. Over the last 15 games, he is averaging 13.6 points per game while typically guarding the opponent’s top scoring threat on the wing. He is second on the team in field goal percentage (.486) and third on the team in assists (30).

    • He looks to bounce back after being held to just two points on Tuesday at Wisconsin, the first time he’s been held under nine points since Nov. 22.

    • Cheatham has reached double figures in 12 of the Huskers’ last 15 games, including a 21-point, six-rebound performance at Indiana on Dec. 13. He had six straight double-figure efforts from Nov. 25-Dec. 13, the second-longest streak of his collegiate career. 

    • He went over 1,000 career points with a 17-point performance against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 29.

    • Cheatham posted his first career double-double with 14 points and a career-high 11 rebounds at Georgia Tech on Dec. 4.

    • He was in double figures all three games of the Cayman Islands Classic, averaging 19.0 ppg including a career-best 26-point effort against South Florida to garner all-tournament honors.

    A former top-100 recruit out of high school, he was named Marquette’s top defensive performer in each of his two full seasons at Marquette.

    THOR EMERGES AS SCORING THREAT
    Junior Thorir Thorbjarnarson emerged as a vital part of the Huskers’ offensive attack and one of the most improved players in the Big Ten. On the season, the 6-foot-6 guard is fifth on the team in scoring at 8.3 ppg, while shooting 50 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point range.

    • Thorbjarnarson is fourth in the Big Ten in 3-point percentage (.439) after shooting just 21.4 percent from 3-point range in his first two seasons. 

    • In conference play, he is third on the team in scoring at 12.1 ppg, while ranking second in rebounding (5.5 rpg) and third in assists (1.9 apg). He is shooting a team-best from the field (.515) and 3-point range (.425). 

    • His 10.6 ppg increase in conference play from last season is fourth among Big Ten players, and is one of five players who has increased their conference scoring average by at least 10 ppg this season.

    • He has been on a roll as of late, reaching double figures eight times in NU’s last 12 games after not reaching double figures in his first 41 contests at Nebraska. Since Dec. 4, he has tied or set a career high in points four times.

    • He nearly had a double-double in the win over Iowa, finishing with 17 points, including three 3-pointers, and a season-high nine rebounds. He tied his season high originally set at Indiana on Dec. 13.

    •Thorbjarnarson played one of his best all-around games against Indiana on Jan. 18, finishing with 13 points, nine rebounds, three steals and three assists in 37 minutes of work.

    BURKE SHOWS SCORING TOUCH
    The other returnee from the 2018-19 season, Dachon Burke Jr. waited in the wings after transferring from Robert Morris. A 6-foot-4 guard, Burke has quickly shown the skills to flourish in Fred Hoiberg’s attack, averaging 12.2 points, 4.2 rebounds per game and 1.4 steals per game. 

    • He is third in the Big Ten in steals and paces the Huskers in blocked shots (13) and is second in scoring.

    • Burke has three double-figure performances this year, including a 25-point effort against Indiana on Dec. 13, a 21-point performance against South Florida on Nov. 27 and a 20-point, eight-rebound outing at Wisconsin on Jan. 21.

    • He has eight games with at least two steals, including a five-steal effort against George Mason on Nov. 25.
    Two years ago, Burke was one of the best players in the Northeast Conference, averaging 17.6 points per game while adding 5.8 rebounds and a conference-best 2.1 steals per contest to earn second-team all-conference recognition.

    OUEDRAOGO ADDS NAME TO SHORT LIST OF TRUE FROSH
    Freshman Yvan Ouedraogo became the first true freshman to start a season opener at Nebraska since 2013 and has been a mainstay of the Husker lineup. 

    • He is one of the youngest players in the country, as he won’t turn 18 until after the 2020 Big Ten Tournament. 

    • Ouedraogo has started all 19 games for the Huskers, averaging 5.8 points and a team-high 6.3 rebounds per game in just over 21 minutes per game. He is third among Big Ten true freshmen in rebounding.

    • He is on track to be the third freshman to lead NU in rebounding in a season, joining Aleks Maric (2005-06) and John Turek (2001-02), while Ouedraogo’s 6.3 rebounds per game would match Maric for the highest average by a Husker freshman. 

    • Ouedraogo has played some of his best basketball recently, averaging 6.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game over the Huskers’ last 10 contests dating back to Dec. 13. He has grabbed seven or more rebounds eight times in that stretch.

    • He reached double figures for the third time this season at Ohio State, finishing with 10 points and five boards. 

    • He picked up his first career double-double against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 29 with 11 points and 14 rebounds. His double-double was the first by a Husker freshman since Shavon Shields in 2013 and Ouedraogo became just the 10th NU freshman to ever record a double-double. 

    • His 10 rebounds against Indiana on Dec. 13 marked the second-highest rebounding total for a Husker freshman in his first conference game, trailing only Dave Hoppen in 1983.

    • He enjoyed his best offensive effort of the season with 11 points, including six in overtime, and four rebounds against Southern on Nov. 22. He snared a team-high 12 rebounds against South Dakota State on Nov. 15.

    • He is just the 11th true freshman and 13th freshman overall to start a season opener in the last 25 years at Nebraska, joining a group which includes 1,000-point scorers Tai Webster, Ryan Anderson, Cookie Belcher and Tyronn Lue. 

    • Ouedraogo played for the French U-18 squad at the 2019 European Championships in July, as France went 6-1 and finished fifth in the competition.

    CROSS LIFTS BENCH PRODUCTION 
    Freshman Kevin Cross has been a key contributor for the Huskers. The 6-foot-8 freshman from Little Rock, Ark., has been the first Husker off the bench in all 19 games and is averaging 7.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. 

    • Cross is sixth among Big Ten true freshman in scoring and fourth in rebounding as of Jan. 22.

    • He has been in double figures six times off the bench, which is the most by a Husker since the 2015-16 campaign.

    • Cross enjoyed one of his best efforts of the season at Wisconsin, finishing with 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting in 20 minutes. He also had a season-best three steals against the Badgers.

    • He has improved his rebounding in recent weeks, averaging 4.5 rebounds per game over the Huskers’ last 10 contests dating back to Dec. 13. He has grabbed five-or-more rebounds 10 times this season.

    • Cross is fifth on the team with 19 3-pointers and also sixth on the team in assists while playing just 18 minutes per game.

    • Against Iowa, Cross had eight of his 11 points in the second half and added five rebounds.

    • Cross hit a season-high three 3-pointers as part of his nine-point, five-rebound effort against Northwestern.

    • He played a complete game in the win over Washington State on Nov. 25, scoring 14 points, grabbing a season-high eight rebounds and blocking two shots in 27 minutes.

    • Against Southern Utah on Nov. 9, Cross had a season-high 19 points, which is the most by a Husker freshman since the 2016-17 season. It was also the most by a Husker freshman since Shavon Shields also had 19 against Michigan State in 2013.

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