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Huskers set to host Hawkeyes at PBA

Huskers set to host Hawkeyes at PBA
(Isabel Thalken/Nebraska Communications)

The Nebraska men’s basketball team finishes a five-game homestand when the Iowa Hawkeyes visit Pinnacle Bank Arena Tuesday evening.

Tipoff is set for shortly after 8 p.m. and a limited number of 100 Level tickets are available for purchase by visiting Huskers.com/Tickets, calling the NU Athletic Ticket Office at 800-8-BIGRED or at the Pinnacle Bank Arena box office beginning 90 minutes prior to tipoff.

GAME 15: NEBRASKA VS. IOWA
Date: Tuesday, Jan. 7
Time: 8:07 p.m.
Location: Lincoln, Neb.
Arena: Pinnacle Bank Arena
Tickets: Huskers.com/Tickets

NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS
2019-20 Record: 6-8 (1-2 Big Ten)
Head coach: Fred Hoiberg
Record at Nebraska: 6-8 (1st year)
Career NCAA Record: 121-64 (6th year)

IOWA HAWKEYES
2019-20 Record: 10-4 (1-2 Big Ten)
Head coach: Fran McCaffery
Record at Iowa: 184-136 (10th year)
Career Record: 435-313 (23rd year)

BROADCAST INFO
Television: BTN
Play-by-play: Kevin Kugler
Analyst: Stephen Bardo
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. 372 XM: Ch. 372Tuesday’s matchup will be carried nationally on BTN with Kevin Kugler and Stephen Bardo 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 (6-8, 1-2 Big Ten) looks to bounce back following a 79-62 loss to Rutgers on Friday night. The Huskers shot just 31.7 percent while Rutgers shot 54 percent and out-rebounded the Huskers 48-31. Senior guard Haanif Cheatham had 16 points, while sophomore guard Cam Mack added 11 points, six assists and five rebounds for the Huskers.
Cheatham has been steady in his first season as a Huskers, scoring a team-high 13.3 points per game while shooting a career-best 52.3 percent from the field. He has reached double figures in nine of the Huskers’ last 10 contests, including a pair of 20-point performances.

Iowa (10-4, 1-2) comes off a tough 89-86 loss at No. 21 Penn State Saturday afternoon snapping a four-game win streak. Junior Luka Garza had 34 points on 13-of-19 shooting and 12 rebounds, while Joe Weiskamp added 23 points and 10 boards in a losing effort. Iowa shot 47 percent, but had 15 turnovers which led to 20 Nittany Lion points.

Garza has been one of the best big men in the country during the first half of the season, leading the Big Ten in scoring (22.5 ppg) and ranking second in rebounding (10.1 rpg). In conference play, Garza is averaging 33.0 points per game.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT
Cam Mack leads the Big Ten with 9.3 assists per game in conference games. Mack is also sixth in Big Ten games with a 3.1-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

NUMBERS TO KNOW
.462 – Thorir Thorbjarnarson is fourth in the Big Ten in 3-point percentage entering Tuesday’s game. He is 18-of-39 from long range this season after going a combined 6-of-28 behind the 3-point stripe in his first two years.

+3.1 – Nebraska enters the week tied for the Big Ten lead in turnover margin at +3.1 per game. NU has committed 12 or fewer turnovers in each of the last six contests, including a season-low seven turnovers against Rutgers.

3 – Double-figure assist games for Cam Mack, which is the most by a Husker since Brian Carr had five in the 1985-86 season.

6.2 – Rebounds per game for freshman Yvan Ouedraogo, which is fourth among all Big Ten freshmen. His rebounds per game is on track to be the highest by a Husker freshman since Aleks Maric grabbed 6.3 rebounds per game in 2005-06.

8 – Nebraska has had eight of its nine eligible scholarship players reach double figures this season. The Huskers have three players currently averaging double figures.

15.1 – Nebraska is 11th nationally and second among power conference schools in average possession length.

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 IOWA
Iowa, which was ranked 23rd in last week’s AP poll, is 10-4 on the year following an 89-86 loss to No. 21 Penn State in Philadelphia Saturday afternoon. The Hawkeyes were led by junior Luka Garza’s 34-point effort while Joe Wieskamp added 23 points, including 5-of-10 from 3-point range in the loss which featured 24 lead changes before Penn State pulled ahead late.

On the year, the Hawkeyes have been steady since an early-season loss to DePaul, as Iowa’s only losses since Nov. 11 have been against unbeaten San Diego State, at Michigan and at Penn State. Iowa has neutral-site wins over Texas Tech and Cincinnati as well as wins at Iowa State and Syracuse. Tuesday’s game ends a stretch where Iowa has played just one home game since Dec. 9.

Iowa is an explosive offensive team, as the Hawkeyes averaged 81.1 points to rank among the Big Ten leaders. Iowa is among the Big Ten leaders in 3-point percentage (.367), 3-pointers per game (8.4) and assists per game (17.9) despite battling injures during the first two months of the year.

Garza is one of the Big Ten’s premier players, leading the conference in scoring at 22.5 points per game while grabbing 10.1 rebounds per game to rank second in the Big Ten. Sophomore Joe Wieskamp (13.5 ppg) and redshirt freshman CJ Frederick (10.3 ppg) also average double figures and both shoot over 40 percent from 3-point range.

SERIES HISTORY
The Hawkeyes lead the all-time series, 20-12 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 is 5-8 against the Hawkeyes since joining the Big Ten and the home team has won the last six meetings dating back to 2016. NU is 10-5 in Lincoln against the Hawkeyes, including 3-1 in Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Last Meeting: Nebraska erased a 16-point second-half deficit and scored 16 points in the final 47 seconds of regulation to force overtime in an eventual 93-91 victory over Iowa in the regular-season finale. Nebraska trailed 74-65 with 50 seconds remaining, but James Palmer Jr. and Glynn Watson Jr. hit four 3-pointers over the next 38 seconds to pull within 80-79 with 23 seconds left. After Iowa connected on 1-of-2 free throws, Palmer tied the game with a driving layup with 12 seconds remaining. In overtime, Amir Harris’ layup with 10 seconds left gave NU the lead before Thorir Thorbjarnarson blocked Ryan Bohannon’s potential game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.

STORYLINES
• Tuesday’s game features two of the highest tempo teams in the Big Ten, as Nebraska ranks 11th nationally and leads the Big Ten while Iowa is fourth in the Big Ten and in the top 50 nationally in average offensive possession.

• Nebraska Head Coach Fred Hoiberg and Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery squared off five times when Hoiberg coached at Iowa State. ISU went 4-1 against Iowa in that stretch, including a pair of games decided by three points.

• Two of the past three contrests in Lincoln between the Huskers and Hawkeyes have gone into overtime, including last year’s 93-91 Husker victory.

• Nebraska is in a stretch where it will play 15 of its final 18 regular-season 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 50 of the NET as of Jan. 6.

• With three players averaging double figures, Nebraska has relied on its balance. In its first 14 games, NU has put at least four players in double figures 10 times. The Huskers put five players in double figures against Washington State on Nov. 25 and at Creighton on Dec. 7.

• Nebraska enters Tuesday’s game tied for first in the Big Ten in turnover margin at +3.1 per game. The Huskers have forced an average of 14.7 turnovers per game to rank fourth in the Big Ten while averaging 11.6 turnovers per game to rank third in that category. 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 14 8.40
2. 2006-07 31 7.87
3. 2018-19 36 7.50
• One of the biggest points of emphasis for Hoiberg and his staff has been to shoot better from 3-point range, and that work has paid off. Over the last 11 games dating back to Nov. 22, NU is shooting 36 percent from 3-point range and averaging 9.0 3-pointers per game after shooting just 23 percent in the first three games of the season.

Huskers’ 3-Point Improvement
Category Before Nov. 22 Since Nov. 22
Games 3 11
3 Pt. Pct. .231 .360
3-Pointers/Gm 6.0 9.0
Att./Gm 26.0 25.0

• Sophomore Cam Mack has made an impact early in his Husker career. He is 13th nationally with 6.5 assists per game, which is on pace to be the most since the 1985-86 season, but also ranks 51st nationally in assist to turnover ratio. His 2.28-to-1 ratio is on pace to be the best by a Husker guard in move than a decade.

Best Assist/Turnover Ratios (Since 1979)
No. Ratio Player Asst.-TO’s 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
5 2.52 Charles Richadson Jr. 179-71 2006-07
– 2.28 Cam Mack 91-40 2018-19minimum 3.0 assists/gm

• Yvan Ouedraogo’s 14 rebounds vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 29 were the most by a Husker freshman since 2004 (15, Aleks Maric vs. UAB) and tied for the third-highest total in the last 20 years. Ouedraogo is the third Husker to have a double-double this season.

• Cam Mack’s triple-double against Purdue on Dec. 15 was the first by a Husker in school history and the only one by a Big Ten player this season. As of Jan. 6, only 15 players have had a triple-double this season.

• Cam Mack is the only Husker in the last 30 years to have multiple points-assist double-doubles in the same season as he had one against Southern Utah on Nov. 9 and at Indiana on Dec. 13 in addition to his triple double against Purdue. In fact, it is only the seventh time in the last 30 years that a Husker has had a points-assists double-double. His consecutive points-assists double-double was 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 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
• The Huskers have already 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. 6, Nebraska has played in three of the Big Ten’s eight overtime games, while the Huskers’ three overtime games is third nationally and leads all power conference teams.

• Nebraska has 12 double-figure scoring runs this season, including a pair of double-figure runs against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

• Nebraska’s 14 first-year players on the roster matches TCU for the most in the nation in research done by the Utah SID John Vu. Only four teams (TCU-14, Nebraska-14, East Carolina-13 and Utah-12) have at least 12 newcomers on their 2019-20 rosters. 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.

Fewest Returning PPG from 2018-19
No. School Returning PPG Pct. of Scoring
1 Nebraska 2.0 PPG 1.9%
2. Tulane 10.8 PPG 12.2%
3. South Dakota St. 15.8 PPG 16.9%
4. Virginia Tech 13.3 PPG 18.1%
5. Washington 13.9 PPG 19.8%Courtesy: Virginia Tech SID office

• Dachon Burke Jr. enters the Iowa game with 983 career points, including his two seasons at Robert Morris. He needs 17 points to become the third Husker to reach the 1,000-point mark this season, joining Matej Kavas (Nov. 22) and Haanif Cheatham (Dec. 29).

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