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January 16, 2013

Hoops Gameday: Nebraska vs. Purdue

Nebraska Cornhuskers

vs. Purdue Boilermakers
Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2012 - 8:00 p.m. CT
TV: Big Ten Network / RADIO: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network

Purdue Boilermakers (8-8, 2-2 Big Ten)
Streak: Won 1
Last Game: Defeated Penn State 60-52
G Ronnie Johnson (had team-high 13 points in win over Penn State) Fr. 6-0 170
G Terone Johnson (leads team with 13.1 points per game) Jr. 6-2 199
G Rapheal Davis (averaging 5.0 points and 2.8 rebounds per game) Fr. 6-5 210
G/F D.J. Byrd (averages 9.9 ppg with a team-high 34 3-pointers) Sr. 6-5 228
C A.J. Hammons (had 12 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks vs. PSU) Fr. 7-0 280

Nebraska CornhuskersNebraska Cornhuskers (9-8, 0-4 Big Ten)
Streak: Lost 4
Last Game: Lost to Michigan State 66-56
G Dylan Talley (averaging team high 13.6 ppg and 5.5 rpg) Sr. 6-5 216
G Ray Gallegos (shooting 9-of-44 from 3-point range in Big Ten play) Jr. 6-2 181
G/F Shavon Shields (had 9 points and 6 rebounds vs. Michigan State) Fr. 6-6 215
F David Rivers (had team-high 18 points in first career start vs. MSU) So. 6-7 191
C Andre Almeida (ranks 10th in Big Ten with 1.2 blocks per game) Sr. 6-11 314

Get fouled and convert

Coming into tonight's game, Nebraska ranks dead last in the Big Ten with just 15 made free throws on only 28 attempts in four conference games. For those counting at home, that's an average of only seven free throw attempts per game. On the season, the Huskers are averaging just over 14 shots from the charity stripe per contest. Considering how desperately NU needs to find a way to put points on the board, it could certainly help itself out in a big way by not only getting to the line at least twice as much as it has been, but then also converting once it gets there.
Set up Gallegos

Looking strictly at the numbers, all signs point to junior guard Ray Gallegos falling into a bit of a slump since the start of Big Ten play. He's still second on the team with 13.3 ppg, but he's been dismal from beyond the arc the last four outings, shooting just 9-of-44 from 3-point range (20 percent). However, the numbers don't tell the whole story. Many of Gallegos' shots have been difficult and highly contested looks because teams know to lock in on where he is on the court at all times. With no one else besides Dylan Talley proving to be any kind of consistent scoring threat, the Huskers have been unable to set up Gallegos with many good perimeter shots. They'll need to find a way to draw defenses away from Gallegos in order to help get him into a rhythm.
Protect home court

Nebraska is finally through the four-game gauntlet to open league play, and while it's 0-4 record is nothing to celebrate, the team has performed far better than anyone could have imagined against some of the Big Ten's best. Aside from the conference opener against Ohio State, the Huskers have given ranked foes like Michigan and Michigan State all they can handle on the road and nearly knocked off first-place Wisconsin at home. Though you can't take anyone lightly in the Big Ten, NU has its best opportunity yet to finally pick up that elusive first conference win tonight.

Head coach Tim Miles on his thoughts on Purdue:

"I think they're an aggressive team. They're so good defensively. They concern me with their defense. I think they're really disruptive to offensive flow, and we need as little disruption as possible to our flow. I think that's really what makes Purdue, Purdue. I think they're a fearless team and a bunch of fighters, and I think that can really cause trouble for teams. So we're going to have to handle that. We're going to have to handle that well."
Senior guard Dylan Talley on the kind of crowd he expects at the Devaney Center tonight:

"We hope they (show up). I'm sure they will. They supported us through rougher times than this, so I don't see why they won't tomorrow night. They're pretty loyal fans, so I expect it'll be a good crowd."

Nebraska 58-55

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