The Nebraska men’s basketball team looks for its second straight win on Friday night, as the Huskers host the Southern Jaguars. Tipoff at Pinnacle Bank Arena is slated for 7 p.m.
Nebraska (1-2) got off the schneid in its last performance, posting a 90-73 win over South Dakota State on Nov. 15. Sophomore Cam Mack’s 24-point effort paced four Huskers in double figures, as the Huskers shot 57 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes to build a 24-point halftime lead. Dachon Burke Jr. and Haanif Cheatham had 17 points apiece for NU, while Kevin Cross had 10 points off the bench as Nebraska scored 90 or more points in regulation for the first time since last December.
Mack has been the catalyst to the Huskers’ attack in the early going, as the junior college transfer leads the Huskers in scoring (16.0 ppg), assists (6.0 apg) and steals (1.7 spg). NU has enjoyed a balanced attack with three players averaging double figures while three others have at least 5.0 points per game. NU has been solid on the defensive end, holding opponents to 41 percent shooting and forcing over 18 turnovers per game in the early going.
Southern comes in with a 2-2 mark following a 121-55 victory over Ecclesia College on Monday night. The Jaguars’ two losses have come at Murray State and at New Mexico State.
Southern comes to Lincoln with a 2-2 record after a 121-55 win over Ecclesia on Monday night. Damiree Burns had 33 points on 14-of-19 shooting off the bench to pace four players in double figures. The Jaguars’ two losses have come at Murray State and at WAC favorite New Mexico State. In that game, Southern was within six with 3:09 left before NMSU closed the game on a 15-5 spurt for the win.
Head Coach Sean Woods is in his second year at Southern after previously serving as the head coach at Morehead State (2012-16) and Mississippi Valley State (2008-12). He guided each of those schools to postseason bids, including an NCAA bid at Mississippi Valley State in 2012. Woods played collegiately at Kentucky, where he started three seasons, including the 1991-92 team that lost to Duke in the Elite Eight, and had his No. 11 retired by the school.
The Jaguars returned just one starter and four players from last season’s team. Siena transfer Ashanta Shivers averages 10.5 points per game and is shooting 39 percent from 3-point range, while Cal State Bakersfield transfer Darius Williams is averaging 8.0 points and 7.0 boards per game. Damiree Burns leads SU in scoring at 11.8 points per game but did not take a shot in the Jaguars’ first two games. Cal State Fullerton transfer Amel Kuljuhovic is averaging 8.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
Series Record: Nebraska has won both of the all-time meetings between the two schools, including 81-76 victory in the most recent meeting on Dec. 20, 2016. In that game, Jeriah Horne led four Huskers with 18 points, as he hit 7-of-9 shots from the field, including four 3-pointers. Nebraska is 23-1 all-time against current members of the SWAC.
LAST TIME OUT
Cam Mack poured in a career-best 24 points and was one of four Huskers in double figures, helping Nebraska defeat South Dakota State, 90-73, on Nov. 15.
NU used a strong first-half performance to take control, shooting 57 percent in leading by as many as 31 in the opening half minutes to take a 51-27 lead into the locker room.
The Huskers raced off to a 12-2 start, as Dachon Burke Jr. and Hannif Cheatham combined for nine early points for the Big Red, as both players finished with 17 markers. Kevin Cross was the fourth Husker to post double figures with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting off the bench.
SDSU was within 26-14 before the Huskers blitzed the Jackrabbits with a 19-2 spurt. NU held the visitors to one field goal in a five-minute span, as the Huskers took their largest lead of the half at 45-14 on a Yvan Ouedraogo putback.
Nebraska held the Jackrabbits to 27 percent shooting, including 1-of-13 from 3-point range, in the first half and never led by fewer than 17 the rest of the evening.
DID YOU KNOW
• Fred Hoiberg and Southern Coach Sean Woods faced off one time as college players, as Kentucky beat Iowa State 106-98 in the second round of the 1992 NCAA Tournament. Woods had 18 points and nine assists in that game, while Hoiberg, a freshman on that ISU team, had two points, but led the Cyclones with eight rebounds.
• Hoiberg’s 2011-12 team at Iowa State played a Woods-coached team at Mississippi Valley State, escaping with a 67-65 win on Dec. 31, 2011 at Hilton Coliseum.
• Through Tuesday’s action, Cam Mack and Michigan State’s Cassius Winston are the only Big Ten players in the top 10 in both scoring and assists.
• Cam Mack is one of only four power conference players – and the only one in the Big Ten – averaging at least 15.0 points, five rebounds and five assists per game as of Nov. 19.