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March 14, 2013

Hoops Gameday: Nebraska vs. Purdue

Nebraska Cornhuskers

vs. Purdue Boilermakers
Thursday, March 14, 2013 - 5:30 p.m. CT
TV: ESPN2 / RADIO: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network

Purdue Boilermakers (15-16, 8-10 Big Ten)
Streak: Won 1
Last Game: Defeated Minnesota 89-73
G Ronnie Johnson (averaging 9.6 ppg and 4.0 apg) Fr. 6-0 170
G Terone Johnson (leads team with 13.5 points per game) Jr. 6-2 199
G Rapheal Davis (named Big Ten Freshman of the Week last week) Fr. 6-5 210
G/F D.J. Byrd (hit four 3-pointers in second half in win over Nebraska) Sr. 6-5 228
C A.J. Hammons (averaging 10.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg and 2.0 blocks per game) Fr. 7-0 280

Nebraska CornhuskersNebraska Cornhuskers (14-17, 5-13 Big Ten)
Streak: Lost 1
Last Game: Lost to Iowa 74-60
G Dylan Talley (named honorable mention All-Big Ten) Sr. 6-5 216
G Ray Gallegos (set school record for minutes played this season) Jr. 6-2 181
G/F Shavon Shields (averaged 8.0 ppg and 5.1 rpg as a true freshman) Fr. 6-6 215
F David Rivers (scoring 5.9 ppg with 3.4 rpg) So. 6-7 191
F Brandon Ubel (did not play in first meeting with Purdue due to injury) Sr. 6-10 235

Lean on Ubel

Nebraska had a very noticeable absence the first time it took on Purdue in Lincoln back on Jan. 16, as senior forward Brandon Ubel was held out with a fractured elbow injury that forced him to miss two games. The void he left in the post, especially on the defensive end of the floor, played a huge role in Purdue's 65-56 victory. Freshman center A.J. Hammons controlled the paint all game, racking up 14 points, eight rebounds and six blocks for the Boilermakers. Having him back this time around will be a great boost for the Huskers.
Defend the 3

With Nebraska having to pay so much attention to Hammons in the post, Purdue's shooters were left with numerous open looks from beyond the arc in the first game. The Boilermakers hit six 3-pointers in the win, including four by senior guard D.J. Byrd, all of which came in the second half to hold off a late NU rally. While shutting down Hammons should be priority No. 1 for the Huskers, they'll also have to make a conscious effort to contest as many 3-point shots as possible to keep Purdue from getting hot from long range.
Make your run

The last chance at a run at either the NIT or even the NCAA Tournament begins tonight, as Nebraska must pull out a win to have shot at qualifying for either tournament. For the majority of the latter portion of the regular season, the talk amongst the Huskers has been about trying to build momentum up going into the Big Ten Tournament. The time is now for them to put that run together in Chicago, as it will likely end up that they will need no fewer than two wins in the tournament in order to reach their post-season goals.

Head coach Tim Miles on senior Dylan Talley earning honorable mention All-Big Ten:

"You look at that honorable mention group, and that's quite a squad. I'd put that team on the floor every day of the week and we'd do just fine. I think it says a lot about the strength of our league and I think it says a lot about him to be considered."
Freshman guard/forward Shavon Shields on the competition in the Big Ten this season:

"Every night is a dogfight. Every night is physical. Every night you're probably going to play an NBA player. It's fun to compete against the best people."

Purdue 65-58

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