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Huskers Return Home for Hoosiers

Huskers Return Home for Hoosiers
The Huskers look to improve to 15-1 at home on Tuesday vs. Indiana. Photo by Allyssa Hynes/Nebraska Communications

The Nebraska men’s basketball team looks to bounce back after a tough loss, as the Huskers return home to Pinnacle Bank Arena to take on the Indiana Hoosiers.

Tipoff at Pinnacle Bank Arena is set for shortly after 7 p.m.  (MT) and as of Monday morning, only a couple of single tickets were available for Tuesday’s game. Tickets, if available, can be purchased by visiting Huskers.com/Tickets, calling 800-8-BIGRED or at the PBA Ticket office beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s game will be televised nationally on BTN with Kevin Kugler and Stephen Bardo on the call. The game is available on BTN.com, BTN2Go and the Fox Sports Go app.
Fans can follow all of the action across the state of Nebraska on the IMG Husker Sports Network with Kent Pavelka and Jake Muhleisen on the call. The game will also be available on Huskers.com, on the Huskers app, on TuneIn Radio and on the TuneIn Radio app. The radio broadcast begins one hour prior to tipoff.

Nebraska (20-9, 11-5 Big Ten) rallied from an 11-point first-half deficit at Illinois, but was unable to close out the Fighting Illini on Sunday. Isaac Copeland led three Huskers in double figures with 17 points and five boards, while Isaiah Roby added 14 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots in a losing effort, as the Huskers saw their six-game Big Ten win streak snapped.

The Huskers enter the last week of the season looking to secure one of the four double-byes for the Big Ten Tournament next week at Madison Square Garden. Nebraska is currently tied with Michigan for fourth place with an 11-5 mark, and a win on Tuesday against the Hoosiers would put NU in a strong position for a top-four finish.
If the Huskers can win on Tuesday, the Huskers would match a school record for most conference wins in a season with 12. The only teams to win 12 games in conference play are the 1965-66 (Big Eight) and 1915-16 (Missouri Valley) squads.

Indiana (16-12, 9-7 Big Ten) brings a four-game win streak into Lincoln following an 84-82 win over Iowa on Saturday. Robert Johnson led Indiana with 29 points, including a school record nine 3-pointers, while Devonte Green had 19 points, including 4-of-5 from long range. In all, Indiana shot 56 percent, including 14-of-24 from beyond the 3-point line. Juwan Morgan leads the Hoosiers with 16.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.

OPENING NUMBER
3 – Consecutive double-doubles for Isaiah Roby, which is the longest double-double streak by a Husker since Aleks Maric had five straight in 2007-08.

NUMBERS TO KNOW
3 – Assists that Isaiah Roby needs to become the fourth Husker with 50 blocks and 50 assists in a season. Roby already has 55 blocks on the season, which is six away from 10th place on NU’s single-season blocks list.

1.26 – Nebraska’s 1.26-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio is on track to be one of the best in school history. Here are the top six seasons dating back to the 1978-79 campaign.

70 – Nebraska is 15-2 when scoring 70 or more points and 5-7 when held to under 70 points. Nebraska’s only two losses when scoring 70+ points was a one-point loss to Kansas and a two-point OT loss at Penn State.

SCOUTING INDIANA
First-year Coach Archie Miller has Indiana playing some of its best basketball of the season, as the Hoosiers come to Lincoln riding a four-game win streak following a two-point win at Iowa on Saturday. Miller, who guided Dayton to back-to-back Atlantic 10 titles in 2016 and 2017, spent six years coaching the Flyers and guided them to four NCAA Tournament appearances, including an Elite Eight bid in 2014.

The Hoosiers feature one of the Big Ten’s most improved players in Juwan Morgan, who has raised his scoring average from 7.7 points per game last year to a team-high 16.6 ppg in 2017-18. Morgan leads Indiana in scoring (16.6 ppg), rebounding (7.3 rpg), blocks (1.4 bpg) and steals (1.1 spg) and has a team-high eight double-doubles on the season. Senior guard Robert Johnson is the only other Hoosier who averages double figures at 13.9 and is coming off a career-high 29-point effort at Iowa when he tied a school record with nine 3-pointers. During Indiana’s four-game win streak, Johnson is averaging 18.3 ppg, including 58 percent from 3-point range. Devonte Green has emerged as a scoring option in recent weeks and is averaging 8.0 points per game, including an 18-point, six assist effort at Iowa.

SERIES HISTORY
Nebraska and Indiana meet for the 18th time on Tuesday, and ninth since the Huskers joined the Big Ten in 2011-12. Indiana leads the all-time series, 12-5, but the Huskers are 4-4 against the Hoosiers since Nebraska joined the Big Ten. Nebraska snapped Indiana’s three-game winning streak with an 87-83 win over the No. 16 Hoosiers in Bloomington last season. Indiana has been ranked in four of the eight matchups since NU joined the Big Ten.

LAST MEETING VS. INDIANA
Glynn Watson Jr. and Tai Webster combined for 47 points, as Nebraska opened Big Ten play with an 87-83 victory over No. 16 Indiana at Assembly Hall. The Huskers shot 48 percent, including 9-of-18 from 3-point range, in snapping Indiana’s 26-game home win streak dating back to the 2014-15 season.

Watson scored 19 of his game-high 26 points in the second half, as Nebraska overcame a seven-point deficit with 56 percent shooting from the floor after halftime. Trailing 42-35, 3-pointers from Webster and Watson got the Huskers back into the contest before the Huskers turned the momentum. Watson keyed a 10-2 spurt to give NU the lead, scoring five points and adding an assist, as his 3-pointer with 14:33 left staked NU to a 51-47 lead. The Huskers eventually got the lead to eight points on two occasions, the last after a Webster basket with 9:46 left to make it 63-55, but the Hoosiers would rally. Indiana used a 15-3 run to take a 70-68 lead and would eventually lead 73-70 after a Robert Johnson 3-pointer with 4:39 left before NU would come back behind its backcourt. A Webster basket after a Watson steal cut it to one before Watson’s 3-point play with 3:10 remaining gave the Huskers the lead for good at 75-73. The Huskers stretched the lead to four on an Ed Morrow Jr. tip-in, as he finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots. The Hoosiers cut the lead to one twice, but the Huskers held on in the final two minutes as they picked up their second win in Bloomington since 2014.

LAST TIME OUT
Isaac Copeland scored 17 points to pace three Huskers in double figures, but Nebraska could not overcome Illinois’ hot-shooting first half and Leron Black’s career day, as the Huskers fell 72-66 on Sunday at the State Farm Center, putting a stop to a six-game winning streak.

Illinois closed the game on a 14-5 run over the final six minutes, as the Huskers dropped to 20-9 on the season and 11-5 in the Big Ten Conference.

Isaiah Roby recorded his third-consecutive double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while James Palmer Jr. had 13 tallies, as he has scored in double-figures in 27 of Nebraska’s 29 games this season.

Trailing 43-36 at halftime after allowing Illinois 62 percent shooting in the first half, Nebraska turned to a 2-3 zone defense and started the second half on a 16-4 run to grab a 52-47 lead with 14 minutes to play.
Illinois would not go away, as a 6-0 run capped by a Mark Smith three gave the lead back to Illinois, before a Trent Frazier triple put Illinois on top 56-54. The two teams traded baskets down the stretch, with neither team leading by more than three points over the final 10 minutes until Frazier’s free throw with 25.4 seconds left. The second half featured six ties and eight lead changes.

20 WINS AND COUNTING
With the win over Maryland on Feb. 13, Nebraska picked up its 20th win of the season. It marked just the sixth time in its 122-year history and first since the 1992-93 season. Only two teams in program history have won more regular-season games than the 2017-18 Huskers.

Nebraska now has 13 20-win seasons in school history, as this marks Nebraska’s first since the 2007-08 campaign. It is the first time Head Coach Tim Miles has enjoyed a 20-win season since the 2011-12 campaign at Colorado State, when his Rams went 20-12 and earned an NCAA Tournament appearance.

ABOUT NEBRASKA

*-The Huskers enter the final week of the season as winners in eight of their last 10 games dating back to Jan. 15. Sunday’s loss snapped a six-game conference win streak for Nebraska, the longest conference win streak since 1998.

*-Nebraska comes into Tuesday’s game with a 20-9 record which is the best 29-game mark since the 1993-94 season when the Huskers were 20-9 entering the NCAA Tournament following its Big Eight Tournament title.

*-NU picked up its 11th conference win of the season last Tuesday vs. Maryland, marking just the fifth time that the Huskers have won 11-or-more conference games in a season. Tim Miles is the only coach in school history to have multiple teams win 11 or more conference games.

*-The 2017-18 season marks just the third time in school history that both the Husker men and women have won 10-or-more conference games. The others came in 2013-14 (Big Ten) and 1997-98 (Big 12). The Husker women will be going for win No. 20 on Thursday against Penn State.

*-Nebraska is 14-1 at Pinnacle Bank Arena this season with the only loss coming in a one-point setback against then-No. 13 Kansas on Dec. 16. The 14 home wins is already NU’s highest total since going 15-1 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in the 2013-14 campaign. Nebraska’s last two games are at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Nebraska also has a Big Ten-leading nine game home win streak dating back to Dec. 20.

*-Husker assistant coach Michael Lewis played collegiately at Indiana for four seasons (1997-2000) and ranks second in school history in assists with 545.

*-Six of Nebraska’s 29 career 1,000 point scorers are from the state of Indiana (Carl McPipe-Hammond; Tom Baack-Ft. Wayne; Jack Moore-Muncie; Brian Carr-Muncie; Brian Banks-Hammond and Herschell Turner-Indianapolis).

*-Of Nebraska’s six losses dating back to Dec. 9, NU lost twice in the last 30 seconds (vs. No. 13 Kansas, at PSU) and had three others where NU was within a point in the last four minutes (at Creighton, at No. 13 OSU, at Illinois).

*-Nebraska’s defense has been its calling card in Big Ten action. The Huskers are second in field goal defense (.409) in conference play and held 12 of their last 14 opponents under 45 percent. On Sunday, Illinois shot 62 percent in the first half, but just 27.3 percent in the final 20 minutes.

*-The Huskers are averaging 73.3 points per game and is on track for one of the best offensive seasons in recent years. NU’s 73.3 points per game is NU’s best average through the first 29 games since 1995-96.

*-Nebraska’s 98 points against Iowa marked the Huskers’ highest total in a conference game since scoring 99 against Kansas State on Feb. 9, 2002.

*-Nebraska relies on a pair of transfers in James Palmer Jr. (Miami) and Isaac Copeland (Georgetown), as the duo combines for more than 30 points per game. In all, 48.0 percent of the Huskers’ offense this year has been by players in their first year in the program.

*-Nebraska’s biggest offensive strength has been a balanced attack with three players averaging double figures, led by James Palmer Jr., who averages a team-high 17.7 points per game to lead all Big Ten newcomers in scoring. Palmer is currently on track to enjoy one of the top first-year seasons in school history, as the top three first-year scorers have been in Tim Miles’ six seasons at Nebraska.

*-Palmer is averaging 19.6 points per game in Big Ten play, and is threatening to be the first Husker to average at least 20 points per game in conference play since current Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue averaged 21.8 points per game in 1997-98.

*-Palmer has shown the ability to get to the foul line, as he leads the Big Ten with 198 attempts through Sunday’s games. Maryland’s Anthony Cowan Jr. is second with 173. Palmer now ranks fifth on NU’s single-season free throws made list with 148. He is 10 away from fourth place (Dave Hoppen, 158, 1984).

*-Copeland has performed at an all-conference level over the past month, averaging 16.0 ppg on 58 percent shooting and 5.9 rebounds per game in Nebraska’s last seven contests.

*-Since returning to the team after missing two games in January, Jordy Tshimanga has provided a spark off the bench. He is averaging 5.0 points per game on 68 percent shooting and 3.9 rebounds per game.

*-Nebraska’s 11-point deficit at Wisconsin on Jan. 29 was its largest comeback of the season (previous high was seven at Northwestern on Jan. 2) and the seventh time under Tim Miles that Nebraska has overcome a 10-point deficit. Over the past two years, NU has won three road games while overcoming a double-digit deficit, matching NU’s total from the previous 20 years.

*-Palmer enjoyed one of the most prolific scoring performances in school history at No. 13 Ohio State on Jan. 22 with his 34-point effort against the Buckeyes. It marked the second-highest scoring effort in a road game in school history and the most on the road by a Husker since 2006.

*-Duby Okeke ranks 10th among all active Division I players with 191 career blocked shots. Okeke had a season-high four blocked shots against Rutgers on Feb. 10.

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