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Huskers set for rematch vs. Georgia Tech in ACC/B1G Challenge

Huskers set for rematch vs. Georgia Tech in ACC/B1G Challenge
(Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications)

Nebraska returns to action after an extended layoff on Wednesday night, as the Huskers welcome Georgia Tech to Lincoln for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Tipoff from Pinnacle Bank Arena between the Huskers and Yellow Jackets is set for 6:15 p.m.

The matchup between the Huskers and Yellow Jackets will be carried nationally on ESPN2 with Kevin Brown and Jon Crispin on the call. The game can also be streamed via the web, smartphones, tablets and connected devices through the ESPN app and on ESPN.com.

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.

GAME 5: vs. GEORGIA TECH
Date: Wednesday, Dec. 9
Time: 6:15 p.m.
City: Lincoln, Neb.
Arena: Pinnacle Bank Arena

NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS
2020-21 Record: 3-1 (0-0 Big Ten)
Head coach: Fred Hoiberg
Record at Nebraska: 10-26 (2nd year)
Career NCAA Record: 125-82 (7th year)

GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS
2020-21 Record: 1-2 (0-0 ACC)
Head coach: Josh Pastner
Record at Georgia Tech: 66-69 (5th year)
Career Record: 233-142 (12th year)

BROADCAST INFO
Television: ESPN2
Play-by-play: Kevin Brown
Analyst: Jon Crispin
Online Broadcast: ESPN 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.
SIRIUS: N/A XM: 381 SiriusXM 971Nebraska was scheduled to play Florida A&M last Sunday, but the game was canceled because of COVID-19. The Huskers have been off since a 76-69 win over South Dakota on Dec. 1. Teddy Allen’s 23-point effort paced five Huskers in double figures, while the Huskers used a 19-6 spurt to break open a close game midway through the second half. Nebraska’s bench played a significant role in the win over the Coyotes, as Shamiel Stevenson, Kobe Webster and Yvan Ouedraogo combined for 24 points and 13 rebounds. Stevenson’s defense helped slow down USD’s Stanley Umude after he scored 17 of his 23 points in the first 26 minutes of the contest.

While Nebraska is averaging 80.8 points per game, the Huskers’ biggest improvements have been on the defensive end. NU has held its first four opponents to 37 percent shooting, compared to 41 percent in the first four games of 2019-20. The Huskers have held all four opponents to under 70 points after holding just five opponents in 32 games under that mark in 2019-20.

Georgia Tech comes to Lincoln with a 1-2 record following a 79-62 win over then No. 20 Kentucky on Sunday afternoon. In that game, Moses Wright’s 21 points and eight boards led five Yellow Jackets in double figures. Georgia Tech held Kentucky to 44 percent shooting and forced 21 turnovers which led to 33 points. Wright is averaging 24.0 points per game on 55 percent shooting and 10.7 rebounds per game to lead five players averaging double figures.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT
Junior forward Shamiel Stevenson is averaging 9.3 points on 63 percent shooting in the Huskers’ first four games. The Husker reserves are averaging 24.5 per game.

NUMBERS TO KNOW
11 – Number of Big Ten teams averaging 80+ points per game as of Dec. 6. NU currently averages 80.8 points per game.

22- Nebraska is 22nd nationally in tempo according to KenPom as of Dec. 6. The Huskers are one of two Big Ten teams (also Iowa) currently in the top 50. Last year, NU led the Big Ten and ranked 16th nationally, marking the highest finish of any Big Ten program in the KenPom database since the site began tracking in 2001-02.

41 – Nebraska’s 3-point attempts against Nevada was a single-game record, breaking the mark of 38 against Kansas in 2002. It ranked eighth in Big Ten history and was the most since Iowa took 42 attempts against Savannah State on Dec. 22, 2018.

48 – Steals by the Huskers, a total which ranks ninth nationally as of Dec. 6. The Huskers 12.0 steals per game ranks sixth nationally.

102 -Nebraska’s 102 points against McNeese State was the first time NU topped the 100-point mark since the 2018-19 opener. It also marked the ninth time in school history that NU scored 100+ points in an opener.

125 – Fred Hoiberg picked up his 125th collegiate coaching win in Tuesday’s victory over South Dakota.

SCOUTING GEORGIA TECH
Georgia Tech comes into Wednesday’s game with a 1-2 record following a 79-62 win over No. 20 Kentucky on Sunday. The Yellow Jackets lost to Georgia State 124-120 in quadruple overtime on opening night before an 83-73 setback to Mercer put Georgia Tech at 0-2. In the win over Kentucky, the Yellow Jackets forced 21 turnovers and turned them into 33 points and put five players in double figures. Moses Wright had 21 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots, as Georgia Tech shot 52 percent from the field and put five players in double figures.

Josh Pastner is in his fifth season at the helm of the Georgia Tech program and guided the Yellow Jackets to an NIT finals appearance in his first season at the school, but the 22 wins that season were vacated by the NCAA Committee on Infractions. Georgia Tech finished 17-14 last season and was fifth in the ACC with an 11-9 mark. The Yellow Jackets were playing their best basketball down the stretch, winning six of its final seven games in ACC play. Prior to taking over at Georgia Tech, Pastner led Memphis to five postseason appearances in seven years at the school, including a pair of appearances in the round of 32.

The Yellow Jackets returned four starters and five of its top six scorers from a year ago, including the starting backcourt of Michael Devoe (12.7 ppg, 3.6 apg, 7.0 rpg) and Jose Alvarado (15.7 ppg, 4.3 apg, 5.3 rpg, 3.0 spg). Against Kentucky, Georgia Tech went with a three-guard lineup with Devoe, Alvarado and Bubba Parham (15.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg). Wright, who averaged 13.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game last year, leads the Yellow Jackets in both scoring (24.0 ppg), rebounding (10.7 rpg) and blocked shots (1.3 rpg).

Series History: Georgia Tech has won both previous meetings, including last season’s game. The only other meeting was a 66-49 Georgia Tech win in the first round of the 1983 Cotton States Classic in Atlanta. Dave Hoppen led NU with 19 points, but was the only Husker to finish in double figures.

Last season: Haanif Cheatham produced his first career double-double for the Huskers, but Georgia Tech’s Michael Devoe flirted with a triple-double to lead Georgia Tech to a 73-56 victory. Cheatham paced the Huskers with 14 points and 11 rebounds, the first double-figure rebounding game of his career. Cam Mack, Jervay Green and Thorir Thorbjarnarson all added 11 points for Nebraska, but the Huskers shot just 32 percent from the field – including 25 percent in the second half – and were 8-of-18 from the free throw line. Nebraska (4-4) also committed 18 turnovers which led to 18 Yellow Jacket points. Devoe put up 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for Georgia Tech, while Moses Wright added 18 points and nine rebounds for the Yellow Jackets, who used a 21-6 spurt to take control.

LAST TIME OUT
Teddy Allen scored 16 of his 23 points in the second half, as Nebraska improved to 3-1 on the season with a 76-69 win over South Dakota on Tuesday evening.

Allen and Kobe Webster combined for 13 points in a 19-6 second-half run, turning a 48-43 lead into an 18-point cushion with 6:01 remaining. Allen’s 23 points led five Huskers in double figures, while Webster had eight of his 11 points off the bench in the second half.

Trey McGowens (13), Shamiel Stevenson (11) and Dalano Banton (10) also finished in double figures, as Nebraska shot just 40 percent, but went 21-of-30 from the foul line and out-rebounded the Coyotes, 48-38, as Lat Mayen pulled down a career-high 12 boards.

A.J. Plitzuweit finished with 24 points, including four 3-pointers, while Stanley Umude finished with 23 points and added 11 rebounds and five assists for South Dakota, which shot just 35 percent in falling to 0-3 on the season.
Allen, who played just six minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, got going offensively in the opening minutes, scoring NU’s first seven points of the second half. Leading 48-43, the Huskers seized momentum with nine straight points, including seven from Webster and Dalano Banton to stretch the lead to 57-43. A putback from Nikola Zizic ended a nearly four-minute scoring drought for USD, but a Webster 3-pointer began a 9-4 spurt that extended the lead to 18 after an Allen jumper with just over six minutes remaining.

South Dakota chipped away and got within 69-59 after a Plitzuweit 3-pointer capped a 6-0 spurt with 2:57 left, but Banton’s 3-point play with 2:29 left stretched the Husker lead back out to 13.

ACC/BIG TEN CHALLENGE PRIMER
The 2020-21 season marks the 22nd edition of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Big Ten is 6-12-3 all-time in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, but 6-2-3 over the past 11 years. In case of a tie, the Cup remains with the conference that won the event most recently. Last year, the Big Ten won eight of the 14 matchups in 2019.

• Nebraska is 5-4 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge since joining the Big Ten in the 2011-12 season and joins Purdue (11-8) and Penn State (10-9) as the only three Big Ten programs with winning records.

• Nebraska is 2-2 in home challenge games including a win in 2017, which was NU’s most recent home game in the challenge.

• Of Nebraska’s four losses, two have been by two points (55-53 to Wake Forest in 2011; 60-58 at Clemson in 2016) and another came in overtime (77-72 in 2015).

HUSKERS GET JUMP ON OPPONENTS
Nebraska has shown the ability to get off to fast starts. NU has outscored its four opponents by a combined score of 40-16 prior to the first media timeout. South Dakota was the first team to take a lead against Nebraska in the opening segment of the game. Against North Dakota State on Nov. 28, the Huskers jumped out to a 16-4 lead in the first segment and never trailed against the Bison.

Fast Starts
Opponent Score Timeout (Time)
vs. McNeese State 11-3 U-16 TO (15:56)
vs. Nevada 7-2 U-16 TO (14:42)
vs. North Dakota State 16-4 U-16 TO (14:27)
vs. South Dakota 6-7 U-16 TO (15:24)
STEALS = BASKETS
Nebraska’s length on the defensive end has been disruptive during the early portion of the campaign. The Huskers enter the week ranked sixth nationally with 12.0 steals per game, a total which leads the Big Ten. NU has taken advantage of those turnovers, averaging 23.0 ppg off of opponent turnovers in the first four games.
• Nebraska had 10+ steals in each of its first three games, marking the first time since the 2016-17 season and just the second time since 2010.
• Teddy Allen (3.5 spg, first) and Dalano Banton (2.0 spg, fourth) rank among the Big Ten leaders in steals.
• Allen is one of four players nationally – and two from power conferences – with a pair of five-steal games as of Dec. 6.
• Nebraska is one of 30 teams nationally averaging more than 10.0 steals per game.

A UNIQUE POINT GUARD
It is not often that you a see a point guard handling jump ball duties, but Dalano Banton is not your typical point guard, and NU coach Fred Hoiberg is finding ways to incorporate Banton’s unique skills. The 6-foot-9 sophomore provides a unique focal point to the Huskers’ attack and is averaging 13.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. He comes into the Georgia Tech game ranking among the Big Ten leaders in assists (fifth), steals (fourth), assist-to-turnover ratio (3.8-to-1, ninth) and rebounding (19th). Banton, a former top-100 recruit, has reached double figures in all four games and nearly posted a triple double with 12 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in the win over North Dakota State. In the loss to Nevada, Banton led NU in scoring (17), rebounding (seven) and assists (five).

TEDDY BUCKETS
Junior college transfer Teddy Allen has lived up to his billing as an elite scorer. The 6-foot-6 junior guard leads Nebraska and ranks seventh in the Big Ten in scoring at 19.0 points per game while also chipping in 5.3 rebounds and 3.6 steals per game. His 19.0 ppg leads all Big Ten newcomers.

Allen, who averaged 31.4 points per game at Western Nebraska Community College last season, has been in double figures in all four games and posted 20-point games against both North Dakota State (22) and South Dakota (23). He now has five career 20-point games, as he had three as a freshman at West Virginia in 2017-18. Against South Dakota, Allen scored 16 of his points in the second half after playing just six first-half minutes because of foul trouble.

HOIBERG HOPES FOR SECOND-YEAR TURNAROUND
Nebraska Coach Fred Hoiberg is looking to orchestrate a turnaround similar to his second season at Iowa State. That Cyclone team was similar to the 2020-21 Huskers, as they featured several sit-out transfers from the previous year and added them to a pair of returning starters. The Huskers, like the Cyclones in 2011-12, have two starters back, and added several transfers.

School Year One Starters R/L Sit-Outs Newcomers Year Two
ISU (2011-12) 16-16 (3-13) 2/3 4 3 23-11 (12-6)
NEB (2020-21) 7-25 (2-18) 2/3 3 7 TBD
HUSKERS LOOK TO PUSH PACE
When Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg talks about playing with pace, he means it. His first Nebraska team led the Big Ten and was the only conference program in the top-50 nationally in tempo in 2019-20. It was the highest finish of any Big Ten program in the KenPom database since the site began tracking in 2001-02.

In six seasons as a college head coach, his teams have ranked in the top-50 in tempo five times – that matches the entire number of times that a Big Ten program has done it since the 2001-02 campaign. Prior to Hoiberg’s arrival, the last time a Husker team was in the top-100 nationally in tempo according to KenPom was in 1999-2000 under Danny Nee.

Pace Under Hoiberg
Year Hoiberg-Coached Team Big Ten Leader
2010-11 Iowa State (34th) Iowa (100th)
2011-12 Iowa State (128th) Iowa (70th)
2012-13 Iowa State (30th) Iowa (95th)
2013-14 Iowa State (12th) Iowa (29th)
2014-15 Iowa State (10th) Minnesota (47th)
2019-20 Nebraska (16th) Same
2020-21 Nebraska (22nd) Same
HUSKERS ADD EXPERIENCED NEWCOMERS
Nebraska adds an influx of veterans in 2020-21, gaining the services of seven scholarship players with previous Division I experience. The group has combined for nearly 3,000 points along with over 1,000 rebounds and 600 steals during their careers and includes multi-year starters Kobe Webster (Western Illinois) and Trey McGowens (Pittsburgh). The Huskers also gain the services of three players (Dalano Banton, Shamiel Stevenson and Derrick Walker) who had to sit out the 2019-20 campaign after transferring to Nebraska.

• Nebraska’s top six scores after three games are all newcomers, including five averaging double figures. In fact, 91.3 percent of the Huskers’ offense has come from players who did not play at Nebraska in 2019-20.

• All 18 of the Huskers’ double-figure efforts this season have been by players in their first season of competition at NU.

• Nebraska will add additional experience in mid-January when Derrick Walker becomes eligible in January. Walker is serving a 14-game suspension from a violation of NCAA rules that occurred while Walker was a member of the Tennessee basketball program in 2018-19.

Looking at Nebraska’s Transfers
Player School Points Rebounds Assists Steals
Delano Banton Western Kentucky 105 92 65 14
Shamiel Stevenson Pittsburgh 288 148 36 19
Derrick Walker Tennessee 92 107 16 9
Kobe Webster Western Illinois 1417 336 287 77
Trey McGowens Pittsburgh 764 213 173 127
Lat Mayen TCU 36 21 4 4
Teddy Allen West Virginia 244 96 19 13
Division I Totals 2,946 1,013 600 263
THOR EMERGED AS SCORING THREAT
Senior Thorir Thorbjarnarson emerged as a key part of the Huskers’ attack in 2019-20. He started the Huskers’ final 24 games and is NU’s top returning scorer at 8.8 points per game while also chipping in 4.8 rebounds per contest. He shot 46 percent from the field and 37 percent from 3-point range, finishing 14th in the Big Ten in 3-point percentage after making just six 3-pointers in his first two seasons.

• In Big Ten play, he averaged 10.6 ppg while leading NU in field goal percentage (.455) and 3-point percentage (.364). He was also second in rebounding (5.5 rpg) and assists (1.7 apg).

• His 9.1 ppg increase in conference play from last season was the third-largest jump in the Big Ten this season, trailing only Big Ten Player of the Year Luka Garza and NBA draft pick Daniel Oturu.

• Thorbjarnarson has gotten off to a slow offensive start, averaging just 2.8 points in NU’s first four games, but has made other significant contributions which don’t often show up in the box score. He is fourth on the team in minutes and the Huskers have a +44 when he’s been on the floor in 2020-21. The senior is third on the team in steals (1.5 spg) and averages 3.0 rebounds per game.

LIGHTER OUEDRAOGO LOOKS FOR BIGGER ROLE
One of the biggest changes on the Husker roster is a new slimmed down look for sophomore Yvan Ouedraogo. The 6-foot-9 forward went home in March and worked on his body during the pandemic. The 18-year old dropped nearly 20 pounds while back home and that has greatly improved his game during fall practice.

• He has come off the bench in the early going, averaging 4.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in nearly 19 minutes of action. He has grabbed at least seven rebounds in two of the Huskers’ four games. In the win over South
Dakota, he grabbed five rebounds and blocked a pair of shots in 18 minutes of work.

• Ouedraogo made 30 starts as a true freshman, averaging 5.7 points and a team-high 6.3 rebounds per game in just over 21 minutes per game. He finished third among Big Ten true freshmen in rebounding in 2019-20.

• He became the third freshman to lead NU in rebounding in a season, joining Aleks Maric (6.3, 2005-06) and John Turek (6.2, 2001-02). Ouedraogo set NU’s freshman rebounding record with 203, breaking the mark of 169 by Aleks Maric.

• He played some of his best basketball down the stretch, averaging 6.8 points on 49 percent shooting and 7.6 rebounds per game over Nebraska’s last nine games.

• Ouedraogo’s best performance of the ypoints (11), rebounds (19) and minutes (38). His 19 rebounds were the most ever by a Husker freshman and most by any Husker since 2007.

• Ouedraogo’s three double-doubles tied for the most ever by a Husker freshman, as he also had double-doubles against Illinois (11 points/10 rebounds) on Feb. 24 and vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (11 points/14 rebounds) on Dec. 29.

FROM COLLEGE TO THE NBA AND BACK AGAIN
Nebraska’s Fred Hoiberg is in an exclusive club, as he was one of just 10 current Division I coaches to coach in both Division I and in the NBA in 2020-21. He spent three-plus seasons with the Chicago Bulls, guiding the Bulls to the NBA Playoffs in 2016. Hoiberg’s 270 regular-season NBA games rank second among the 10 former NBA coaches in the collegiate ranks. Hoiberg also brings five years of NBA front office experience, as he worked with the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2005 to 2010.

Coach, School NBA Head Coach, Years
John Calipari, Kentucky New Jersey, 1996-99
Leonard Hamilton, Miami Washington, 2000-01
Fred Hoiberg, Nebraska Chicago, 2015-18
Lindsey Hunter, Mississippi Valley State Phoenix, 2013
Lon Kruger, Oklahoma Atlanta, 2000-03
Larry Krystkowiak, Utah Milwaukee, 2007-08
Eric Musselman, Arkansas Golden State, 2002-04; Sacramento, 2006-07
Terry Porter, Portland Milwaukee, 2003-05; Phoenix 2008-09
Rick Pitino, Iona New York, 1987-89; Boston, 1997-2001
Darrell Walker, Arkansas Little Rock Toronto, 1996-98; Washington, 1999-2000
HUSKERS SIGN TALENTED TRIO
The three-member class that the Nebraska basketball program signed earlier this month has been lauded as one of the nation’s top recruiting classes.

The trio of Wilhelm Breidenbach, Bryce McGowens and Keisei Tominaga has NU ranked 19th in the ESPN.com team ranking while also earning top 30 spots by both 247Sports and Rivals. The class is rated fourth in the Big Ten by all three outlets, and Nebraska is one of three Big Ten programs – joining Michigan and Michigan State – in signing a five-star recruit in the class of 2021.

NU’s class features a pair of top-100 recruits in McGowens and Breidenbach, who are two of the three-highest-rated players Nebraska has signed in the 247 composite database, which compiles all of the major recruiting sites into one list. McGowens, a five-star recruit, is the highest ranked prospect Nebraska has signed since the current national recruiting sites began nearly 20 years ago.

On the ESPN100, McGowens ranked No. 33 nationally and is the highest-ranked recruit NU has signed out of high school, while Breidenbach’s No. 53 ranking would have previously tied Ed Morrow Jr. in 2015 for the highest-ranked Husker recruit in ESPN’s database. He was ranked as high as No. 23 nationally by both Rivals and 247 Sports.

HUSKER NOTEBOOK
• Nebraska is 45-11 (.804) against non-conference foes since moving into Pinnacle Bank Arena in 2013-14.

• The Huskers are 15-17 all-time against the ACC Conference, while Wednesday’s game will be the first against an ACC foe in Lincoln since 2017.

• Nebraska’s 2020-21 roster features players from six countries (United States, Canada, Iceland, England, France and Australia). Nebraska’s six international players tie for eighth nationally and ties for third among power conference programs (Arizona and Washington State-7 apiece).

• Nebraska is a bigger and more experienced team in Hoiberg’s second season. Last year, Nebraska ranked among the least experienced Division I programs and was one of the smallest teams in the Big Ten according to data from KenPom. This season, the Huskers have made significant improvements in both areas.

Adding Size and Experience
Personnel 20-21 (Rank) B1G Rank 2019-20 (Rank) B1G Rank
Experience: 2.00 yrs (71) 4th 1.41 yrs (267) 9th
Average Height: 78.2″ (24) 5th 77.0″ (142) 13th
• Nebraska enters the weekend ranked sixth in the Big Ten and 79th nationally with 8.8 3-pointers per game. It is not surprising that Nebraska 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 averaged 7.9 3-pointers per game last season to rank second in school history. It marked NU’s highest per game total since the 2001-02 season. NU finished with 253 3-pointers, which ranked third in school history.

Most 3-Pointers/Game in School History
No. School Games 3-Pointers/Game
1. 2001-02 28 9.54
2. 2019-20 32 7.90
3. 2006-07 31 7.87
4. 2018-19 36 7.50
• Nebraska signed a pair of top-20 junior college prospects for the second straight season. Junior guard Teddy Allen was rated eighth by JUCORecruiting.com, while forward Lat Mayen was tabbed 18th nationally by the publication. The Huskers were one of three programs nationally to sign a pair of top-20 JUCO recruits (St. John’s and Southern Miss).
• Nebraska played in four overtime games in 2019-20, matching the Huskers’ single-season record. It marked the sixth time that NU played in four overtime contests (also 2007-08, 1996-97, 1986-87, 1979-80 and 1955-66). The Huskers, who went 1-3 in OT games, played a quarter of all overtime games by Big Ten teams in 2019-20. The Huskers are 63-50 all-time in overtime games in program history entering the 2020-21 season.

CUTOUTS ON SALE FOR 2020-21 SEASON
Husker fans can get their pictures in Pinnacle Bank Arena for the entire 2020-21 season by purchasing Nebraska Basketball fan cutouts at shop.fancutouts.com/products/nebraska-basketball. Nebraska Basketball fan cutouts are only $55 and all proceeds from the season-long campaign will support Husker student-athletes and allow Nebraska Athletics to address the areas of greatest need during this challenging time.

• At the end of the basketball season, fans will have the opportunity to pick up their cutouts free of charge. Fans who wish to have their cutouts shipped after the season will be charged an additional $25 per order at the time of purchase

• All sales are final. Cutout locations may be subject to change throughout the season depending on permissible fan capacity.

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