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February 23, 2014

Hoops Gameday: Nebraska vs. Purdue

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Nebraska Cornhuskers

vs. Purdue Boilermakers
Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014 - 3:15 p.m. CT
TV: Big Ten Network / RADIO: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network

Purdue Boilermakers (15-11, 5-8 Big Ten)
Streak: Lost 1
Last Game: Lost to Michigan State 94-79
PROBABLE STARTERS
POS. NAME (STATS) YR. HT. WT.
G Ronnie Johnson (averaging 11.0 ppg and 3.6 apg) So. 6-0 178
G Terone Johnson (leads team with 11.9 ppg) So. 6-4 198
G Sterling Carter (scoring 4.8 ppg with 1.8 rpg) Sr. 6-0 193
F Jay Simpson (averaging 4.5 ppg and 3.7 rpg) RFr. 6-10 250
C A.J. Hammons (leads Big Ten with 3.0 bpg) So. 7-0 251

Nebraska CornhuskersNebraska Cornhuskers (15-10, 7-6 Big Ten)
Streak: Won 4
Last Game: Defeated Penn State 80-67
PROBABLE STARTERS
POS. NAME (STATS) YR. HT. WT.
G Tai Webster (had 10 points, five rebounds and three assists vs. PSU) Fr. 6-4 194
G/F Terran Petteway (leads Big Ten with 18.0 ppg) So. 6-6 209
F Shavon Shields (averaging 11.8 ppg, 5.3 ppg, 1.6 apg) So. 6-7 219
F David Rivers (has started past two games) So. 6-7 219
C Walter Pitchford (suffered knee bruise late against Penn State) So. 6-10 234




Handle Hammons
1

There's really no secret for the key to stopping Purdue this season, as containing 7-foot center A.J. Hammons is the clear top priority for every Boilermaker opponent. Despite some obvious deficiencies in terms of size in the post, Nebraska has done a decent job this year of keeping opposing big men in check. However, Hammons played a big role in Purdue's win over the Huskers earlier this season with 18 points and four blocked shots. With 6-10 forward Walter Pitchford playing through pain, it will be crucial for other guys like David Rivers and Leslee Smith to step it up against Hammons.
Keep attacking
2

One thing Nebraska has done a much better job of during its recent winning streak has been being far more aggressive with the basketball than it was early in the season. By driving the lane and attacking the basket, the Huskers have been able to get to the free throw line and create scoring opportunities much better, and that's paid off in a big way. Look for guys like Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields to continue to press the issue offensively, but also others like Tai Webster, who was 8-of-10 from the line against Penn State. It also wouldn't hurt to try and get Hammons into early foul trouble.
Keep it rolling
3

Nebraska has now won six of its past eight games and is over .500 in league play for the first time since joining the Big Ten. Whatever switch was flipped following that 0-4 start to the conference schedule, the Huskers have looked like a completely different team from what they were just a little more than a month ago. The key now is to make sure this wave of moment doesn't wash away too quickly. Nebraska still has a long way to go in order to clinch its first NCAA Tournament berth since 1998, and it simply cannot afford to stumble down the stretch, especially at home as five-point favorites.

Nebraska head coach Tim Miles on Nebraska's confidence after its four-game winning streak:

"I'm not quite there. I didn't love our body language and behavior against Penn State, even when we were taking a pretty commanding lead. That just shows some immaturity on our part, some inexperience. It's a long season."
Sophomore forward Shavon Shields on how far the Huskers have come as a team from earlier this season.:

"It's completely different, just from an attitude standpoint, from a togetherness standpoint, from an offensive standpoint. I think everybody sees it within and out of the program. It's just completely different."



Nebraska 66-60




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