The Nebraska men’s basketball team returns to Big Ten action Friday night, as the Huskers welcome the Rutgers Scarlet Knights to Lincoln. Tipoff at Pinnacle Bank Arena is set for 7 p.m. and a limited number of tickets are available for purchase by visiting Huskers.com/Tickets or at the Pinnacle Bank Arena box office beginning 90 minutes prior to tipoff.
Nebraska (6-7, 1-1 Big Ten) comes off a solid defensive performance in a 73-52 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 29. In that game, the Huskers held the Islanders to 32 percent shooting and forced 15 turnovers which led to 24 Husker points. Nebraska used a 22-4 first-half run to take control and put the game away in the second half with an 11-0 spurt after the visitors pulled within 10 points.
Senior guard Haanif Cheatham paced four Huskers in double figures with 17 points, including 8-of-9 shooting from the foul line, while freshman Yvan Ouedraogo added 11 points and a career-high 14 rebounds for his first career double-double. Cheatham leads the Huskers in scoring at 13.1 points per game while shooting 53 percent from the field. Ouedraogo is pulling down a team-high 6.4 rebounds per game, including 9.5 per game over the Huskers’ last four contests.
Rutgers (10-3, 1-1) comes to Lincoln on a four-game win streak after a 94-49 win over Caldwell on Monday night. The Scarlet Knights shot 52 percent, including 10-of-23 from 3-point range, and put five players in double figures. Jacob Young came off the bench for a game-high 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting and added eight rebounds and six assists. On the season, sophomore Ron Harper Jr. leads a balanced attack at 11.8 points per game, while the Scarlet Knights have six players averaging at least seven points per game.
DID YOU KNOW
• The matchup with Rutgers features three of the Big Ten’s top four steals leaders in Rutgers’ Geo Baker (first, 1.8 spg) and Nebraska’s Cam Mack (1.5, third) and Orange, N.J. product Dachon Burke Jr. (1.5, third).
• Friday’s game against Rutgers begins a stretch where Nebraska will play 15 of its final 18 regular-season games against teams in the top 55 of the NET. In all, 12 of the 14 Big Ten teams are ranked in the top 55 of the NET and in the Kenpom rankings.
• Yvan Ouedraogo’s 14 rebounds vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 29 were the most by a Husker freshman since 2004 (15, Aleks Maric vs. UAB) and tied for the third-highest total in the last 20 years. Ouedraogo is the third Husker to have a double-double this season.
• The Huskers have already played three overtime games in the first 12 games of 2018-19, posting a 1-2 record. NU’s single-season record is four, set five times, most recently in 2007-08. As of Jan. 1, Nebraska has played in three of the Big Ten’s seven overtime games, while the Huskers’ three overtime games is third nationally and leads all power conference teams.
• Despite the longer 3-point line this season, Nebraska’s two returnees are shooting significantly better from beyond the arc than at any point of their career. Both players are averaging more than a 3-pointer per game, which are the highest rates of their career.