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January 12, 2014

Hoops Gameday: Nebraska at Purdue

Nebraska Cornhuskers

at Purdue Boilermakers
Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014 - 11 a.m. CT
TV: Big Ten Network / RADIO: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network

Purdue Boilermakers (10-5, 0-2 Big Ten)
Streak: Lost 2
Last Game: Lost to Minnesota 82-79
G Ronnie Johnson (averaging 11.2 ppg and 3.9 apg) So. 6-0 178
G Terone Johnson (had team-high 18 points against Minnesota) So. 6-4 198
G Rapheal Davis (scoring 4.7 ppg with 3.2 rpg) So. 6-5 211
F Basil Smotherman (averaging 8.5 ppg and 3.0 rpg in Big Ten play) Fr. 6-5 222
C A.J. Hammons (leads team with 7.1 rpg and 3.6 bpg) Sr. 7-0 251

Nebraska CornhuskersNebraska Cornhuskers (8-7, 0-3 Big Ten)
Streak: Lost 4
Last Game: Lost to Michigan 71-70
G Tai Webster (had just two points in 28 minutes vs. Michigan) Fr. 6-4 194
G Ray Gallegos (had four 3-pointers and 14 points vs. Michigan Sr. 6-2 182
G/F Terran Petteway (scored team-high 16 points in loss to Wolverines) So. 6-6 209
F Shavon Shields (has been battling lingering knee injury last 3 games) So. 6-7 219
C Walter Pitchford (scored 12 points against Michigan) So. 6-10 234

Defend the post

While it's no surprise given Nebraska's lack of depth in the front court going into the season, the Huskers have really struggled defending the low post since the start of Big Ten Conference play. Even without all-conference center Mitch McGary, Michigan scored a staggering 40 of its 71 points in the paint in Thursday's win over NU, with center Jordan Morgan (4.4 ppg) having his best game of the season with 15 points. Against a elite big man like Purdues' A.J. Hammons, the Huskers have to do a better job of preventing easy baskets inside.
Secure the ballt

Turnovers continue to be an issue for Nebraska this season, and its most recent loss to Michigan was just the latest example. The Huskers turned the ball over 13 times, which directly resulted in 21 points for the Wolverines in a game that came down to the final possession. Purdue has two very opportunistic guards in Ronnie and Terone Johnson, and you can bet the Boilermakers are going to turn up the pressure defensively to try and force NU into making even more mistakes.
Find a way

After its 31-point loss at Ohio State last weekend, only losing by one point to last year's national runner-up could be seen as a moral victory for Nebraska. That's not how the Huskers are looking at it, though, as they are still left searching for their first Big Ten victory and trying to snap a four-game losing streak. While the Boilermakers are good, it's not as if they're unbeatable for NU by any means. Playing on the road has been tough for Nebraska this season, but a win in West Lafayette today could do wonders for turning this year around.

Nebraska head coach Tim Miles on junior guard Deverell Biggs:

"That's just a patience thing with Deverell, and it's going to come. There's no doubt about it. Right now, I feel that instead of just leaving him out there to just make mistakes, we can't give up possessions, so I'm going to bring him out to talk to him and let him go back out. He could've easily got five, six, seven more minutes without any issues. You really got to play good defense. You can't just get beat consecutively like that. If they feel like they can take advantage of you, you'll be trouble. I thought Deverell was really good when he was in there, and he was doing both. And he'll improve. I don't think there's any question about it. Junior college kids can practice all they want. , but until you get out there in the bright lights, it takes some time to develop. He's going to learn a lot every night out."
Senior guard Ray Gallegos on how the Huskers can bounce back from their four-game losing losing streak:

"We've just got to take it to practice. Go over there (to Purdue), scout and just stick to the game plan with them. We'll be ready to play."

Purdue 74-69

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