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December 28, 2013

Hoops Gameday: Nebraska at Cincinnati

Nebraska Cornhuskers

at Cincinnati Bearcats
Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013 - 11 a.m. CT
TV: ESPN2 / RADIO: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network

Cincinnati Bearcats (10-2, 0-0 AAC)
Streak: Won 3
Last Game: Defeated Chicago State 102-62
G Ge'Lawn Guyn (had 10 points in win over Chicago St.) Jr. 6-2 185
G Sean Kilpatrick (leads team with 18.9 ppg) Sr. 6-4 210
F Shaquille Thomas (had 14 points vs. CSU) Fr. 6-7 205
F Titas Rubles (averaging 7.9 ppg and 5.6 rpg} Sr. 6-6 218
F Justin Jackson (leads team with 7.7 rpg, second with 11.1 ppg) Fr. 6-7 249

Nebraska CornhuskersNebraska Cornhuskers (8-3, 0-0 Big Ten)
Streak: Won 2
Last Game: Defeated The Citadel 77-62
G Tai Webster (has scored just two points in past two games) Fr. 6-4 194
G Ray Gallegos (had career-high five assists vs. The Citadel) Sr. 6-2 182
G/F Terran Petteway (ranks sixth in the Big Ten with 16.8 ppg) So. 6-6 209
F Shavon Shields (averaging 18.0 ppg over last three games) So. 6-7 219
C Walter Pitchford (had nine points in 12 minutes vs. The Citadel) So. 6-10 234

Find ways to score

Nebraska's offense has been extremely good at times this season, but it's also gone through some serious cold stretches as well, particularly during the beginning portions of the second half lately. The Huskers definitely can't afford to have any extended scoring struggles against a Cincinnati team that boasts one of the stingiest defenses in the country. The Bearcats come into today's game ranked fourth nationally in scoring defense and have not allowed an opponent to score more than 67 points in a game this season, including hold five of 12 teams to less than 60 points.
Take care of the ball

Along with being as efficient as possible on offense in terms of shot selection, Nebraska must make it a point to take extremely good care of the basketball and not give up unforced turnovers to allow easy transition points for Cincinnati. The Huskers have been good about protecting the ball, as they currently rank 19th nationally in turnover margin (+4.2) and have not had a game with a negative turnover margin this season. Only problem is the Bearcats have been even better in that department, as they rank sixth with a margin of +5.4 and average 8.6 steals per game.
Be road warriors

The last time Nebraska played in a true road game didn't exactly go so well, as in-state rival Creighton jumped all over NU from the opening tip in a game that was never close. For the Huskers to have any chance at pulling off the win today to close out non-conference play, they'll have to come in with much more focus and confidence than they did against the Bluejays. Having now experienced playing in that type of hostile environment will definitely help them know what to expect this time around, but it's a hurdle Nebraska still needs to prove it can clear.

Head coach Tim Miles on the recent struggles of true freshman point guard Tai Webster:

"Our point guard play isn't where I want it to be. We don't shy away from that. We've got to make him feel better. We've got to make him feel more comfortable. We've got to spend more time with him and just get him going, because the competition's going to get plenty."
Miles on the growing process his team is going through early on this season:

"We knew there would be some period of acclimation, some adjustment. We're in it. The quicker we get out of it and feel better about it, we'll all feel good, but that's just where we're at right now."

Cincinnati 72-68

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