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January 4, 2014

Hoops Gameday: Nebraska at Ohio State

Nebraska Cornhuskers

at Ohio State Buckeyes
Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014 - 6 p.m. CT
TV: Big Ten Network / RADIO: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network

Ohio State Buckeyes (14-0, 1-0 Big Ten)
Streak: Won 14
Last Game: Defeated Purdue 78-69
G Aaron Craft (averaging 9.4 ppg and team-high 5.0 apg) Sr. 6-2 195
G Lenzelle Smith Jr. (second on team with 13.4 ppg) Sr. 6-4 210
G Shannon Scott (had 18 points in win over Purdue) Jr. 6-1 185
F LaQuinton Ross (leads team with 13.8 ppg and 6.2 rpg) Sr. 6-8 220
C Amir Williams (average 9.6 ppg and team-high 6.9 rpg) Jr. 6-11 250

Nebraska CornhuskersNebraska Cornhuskers (8-5, 0-1 Big Ten)
Streak: Lost 2
Last Game: Lost to Iowa 67-57
G Tai Webster (had a career-high four steals vs. Iowa) Fr. 6-4 194
G Ray Gallegos (did not take a shot in 23 minutes vs. Iowa) Sr. 6-2 182
G/F Terran Petteway (had first career double-double with 20 points, 12 rebounds vs. Iowa) So. 6-6 209
F Shavon Shields (second on team in scoring, assists and rebounds) So. 6-7 219
C Walter Pitchford (had 13 points and career-high 12 rebounds vs. Iowa) So. 6-10 234

Get the offense going

Nebraska has had its spurts of productive offense throughout this season, but it's also had almost just as many stretches of ineffectiveness. The Huskers have to find a way to prevent going several minutes with only a handful of a points to show for it on the scoreboard. That goes without saying against a team like Ohio State, which comes into today's game boasting one of the stingiest defenses in college basketball. The Buckeyes are allowing an average of just 54.0 points and just 24.3-percent shooting from the field while committing the fewest fouls per game in the country (15.2).
Get to the rim

Because of Ohio State's tenacious defense, the many times disrupt offenses so well at the perimeter that open shots are few and far between. Nebraska has had a tendency to settle for low-percentage jumpers when they can't get their half-court game working, and unless the Huskers are shooting lights out from 3-point range, finding consistent sources of offense has been tough. That's why NU could do itself a big favor by attacking Ohio State's defense and hopefully drawing lots of fouls to not only get to the free-throw line, but to get OSU into early foul trouble.
Contain Craft

Nebraska has and will see plenty of top-caliber point guard this season, but there might not be one more overall productive and dangerous than Ohio State's first-team All-Big Ten senior floor general Aaron Craft. He's not the best scorer by any means at 9.4 ppg, but his ability as a defender and a distributor make him the engine that makes the Buckeyes go. In OSU's Big Ten opener win over Purdue, Craft nearly posted a triple-double with seven points, eight rebounds and 10 assists. If he can have a relatively quite game, it will be very good for the Huskers.

Nebraska head coach Tim Miles on senior guard Ray Gallegos being held scoreless for the second game this season at Iowa:

"I don't know if you read what (Iowa head coach) Fran (McCaffery) said, but he made seven threes (against the Hawkeyes) last year, and Fran said, basically, 'We're going to pick him up when he gets off the bus,' and they did."
Sophomore wing Terran Petteway on the play of sophomore forward Walter Pitchford in NU's loss to Iowa:

"I thought Walt had a hell of a game. He played his butt off, probably the best game he's had so far."

Ohio State 78-67

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