Photo Credit: Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications Photo Credit: Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Return Home for Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Sunday


Photo Credit: Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications Photo Credit: Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

The Nebraska men's basketball team returns to action Sunday afternoon as the Huskers host Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Tipoff between the Huskers and Golden Lions is set for 2:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on BTN and carried on the Huskers' Radio Network. Tickets for Sunday's game are available by visiting Huskers.com/Tickets, contacting the Nebraska Athletic Ticket Office at 800-8-BIGRED during business hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m., Mon.-Fri.) or at the Pinnacle Bank Arena Ticket Office beginning at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The Kids Zone in the North Concourse will be open prior to Sunday's, providing a family-friendly area prior to tipoff.
  

Game 4: Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Date: Sun., Nov. 20
Tipoff: 2:30 p.m. (CT)
Arena: Pinnacle Bank Arena (15,000)
Tickets: Huskers.com/Tickets

On the Air
Radio: Sunday's game will be carried on the Huskers Radio Network with Kent Pavelka and Jake Muhleisen on the call, including KLIN (1400 AM) in Lincoln, KXSP (590 AM) in Omaha and KRVN (880 AM) in Lexington and will also be available on Huskers.com and the Huskers app. The pregame show begins an hour before tipoff.

TV/Online: Sunday's game will be televised nationally on BTN with Cory Provus and Nick Bahe on the call. The game will also be available on the Fox Sports App.

The Huskers (2-1) look to rebound following a 70-50 loss at St. John's on Thursday night. Nebraska used a strong defensive performance and held the Red Storm to 24 percent shooting in the opening 20 minutes to build a 27-20 halftime lead, but shot just 25 percent in the second half and allowed 18 points off turnovers as St. John's took control in the final 20 minutes. Keisei Tominaga led the Huskers with 15 points off the bench on 5-of-8 shooting, while Juwan Gary led NU with 11 rebounds and added eight points and a trio of steals. Gary, who leads the Huskers with 7.7 rebounds per game, has 10+ rebounds in two of the Huskers' first three contests. Tominaga has been a solid contributor off the bench, averaging 11.3 points per game on 55 percent shooting, including 43 percent from 3-point range.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff enters the weekend with a 1-4 mark heading into a Friday night contest at Cleveland State. The Golden Lions are coming off a 94-68 loss to Kent State on Wednesday. Shaun Doss Jr. led Arkansas-Pine Bluff with a game-high 29 points on 9-of-16 shooting, including a trio of 3-pointers. Kent State hit 10 3-pointers and went 34-of-39 from the foul line in the win. UAPB has played a busy schedule as Sunday's game will be its sixth game in 13 days.

Following Sunday's game, the Huskers will head to Orlando for the ESPN Events Invitational. The Huskers will face Oklahoma in the opening round on Thursday and will play either Memphis or Seton Hall on Friday. 

Last Time Out
Keisei Tominaga led NU with 15 points, but St. John's used a pair of decisive runs early in the second half to post a 70-50 victory in the Gavitt Tipoff Games.

Tominaga hit 5-of-8 shots, including a trio of 3-pointers, but the Huskers shot just 29.7 percent from the field and committed 17 turnovers that led to 21 Red Storm points, including 18 after halftime.

Joel Soriano led St. John's with 17 points and 18 rebounds, while David Jones scored all 15 of his points in the second half for St. John's. Posh Alexander also finished in double figures with 13 points for the winners.

Nebraska led 27-20 at the break, but St. John's stormed out of the locker room and used a 14-3 spurt in the opening four minutes to a 34-30 lead and force a Husker timeout. The Red Storm hit 6-of-8 to open the half and converted three turnovers into six points in the run after shooting just 24 percent in the opening 20 minutes.  Nebraska cut the deficit to 38-33 on Tominaga's second 3-pointer of the night, but David Jones, who was held scoreless in the first half and battled foul trouble, hit consecutive 3-pointers to stretch the lead to 44-33 and the hosts were in control the rest of the night.

The first half was a defensive clinic, as Nebraska held St. John's to 20 points on 23.5 percent shooting in taking a 27-20 lead into the locker room. Neither team led by more than three points for the first 10 minutes until Nebraska used a 14-4 run over a five-minute span to turn an 8-all tie into a 22-12 advantage. The Huskers capped the run with seven straight points, the last three coming off a 3-pointer from C.J. Wilcher with 5:07 left in the half. St. John's pulled within six with a 4-0 spurt, but Tominaga's 3-pointer pushed the lead back to nine. Tominaga had eight points off the bench hitting all three of his shots in the opening 20 minutes.
 
Worth Noting

  • Nebraska held St. John's to 20 points on 24 percent shooting in the first half. The 20 first-half points allowed marked the lowest by the Huskers since allowing 18 against Southwest Minnesota State in the 2018-19 season.
  • Keisei Tominaga led NU with 15 points at St. John's, his second double-figure effort off the bench this season. Prior to Thursday, the last Husker reserve to pace NU in scoring was C.J. Wilcher, who had 15 points in a loss to Northwestern on Feb. 5. It also marked the fourth time that Tominaga led the Huskers in scoring.
  • Juwan Gary matched his career high with 11 rebounds, as he also had 11 in the season opener against Maine. NU has had a player grab 10+ rebounds in three straight games, the longest stretch since a three-game span between Jan. 29-Feb. 6, 2019.
  • Nebraska finished with 18 offensive rebounds, the highest total since recording 21 offensive boards at Illinois on Feb. 2, 2019.
  • Nebraska shot just 29.7 percent from the field, the Huskers' lowest total since shooting 29.3 at Rutgers on Jan. 9, 2022.
  • With the loss, the Huskers fell to 1-4 in Gavitt Tipoff Games appearances, including an 0-3 record. Both program losses to St. John's have come in the Gavitt Tipoff Games.
  • Sam Griesel looks to bounce back after being held to a season-low six points on just four shots in the loss to St. John's. It marks the second time in the last 11 games he was held below 10 points. Griesel leads Nebraska in both scoring (15.3 ppg) and assists (3.3 apg).
  • Gary has been a force on the glass during the early portion of the season. The 6-foot-6 transfer from Alabama is tied for the team lead in rebounding at 7.7 per game. He is third in the Big Ten in offensive boards at 4.3 per game, including five in Thursday's loss at St. John's.
  • Nebraska's backcourt has been prolific at grabbing rebounds during the early portion of the year. Emmanuel Bandoumel is tied for the team lead in rebounding at 7.7 per game, a total which is 12th in the Big Ten. It is double his previous career best of 3.8 per game set last year. Sam Griesel is third on the team at 6.7 caroms per game through the first three contests.
  • Griesel led NU with 22 points in his Husker debut against Maine, marking his 14th career 20-point effort. His 22-point output was one of the highest-scoring debuts by a Husker in the last 50 years. In fact, three of the top four debuts have come in the last two seasons.
  • Gary posted his third career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds in the Huskers' opener with Maine.  His other two came at Alabama during the 2021-22 season. His eight offensive boards in that game were the most by a Husker since Yvan Ouedraogo had 10 against Northwestern in 2020. 

Looking at Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Arkansas-Pine Bluff continues a hectic two-week opening stretch on Sunday with the trip to Lincoln. UAPB is 1-4 on the season heading into a Friday night matchup at Cleveland State. The Golden Lions will play eight games in 15 days to open the season spanning six states (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Ohio and Nebraska). UAPB nearly pulled the biggest stunner on opening night, taking a 20-point lead on No. 15 TCU before the Horned Frogs rallied for a 73-72 win. The Golden Lions battled Oklahoma well before dropping a 66-58 contest in Norman. The Golden Lions, who were picked 11th in the preseason SWAC poll, have been led by fifth-year senior Shaun Doss Jr., who averages 20.8 points per game. Doss, who played his first three years at UAPB, transferred to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville before returning for his super senior season. Kylen Milton has averaged 13.0 points per game over the first five contests.

Nebraska leads the all-time series 5-0, in a series that dates back to 2004, but the teams have not played since a 67-44 Husker win on Nov. 24, 2015. Nebraska is 27-1 all-time against the current members of the SWAC.

Trio of Transfers Making Impact
Nebraska added three Division I transfers in the offseason in Sam Griesel (North Dakota State), Emmanuel Bandoumel (SMU) and Juwan Gary (Alabama). The trio combined for nearly 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in their college careers before enrolling at NU and have made major contributions early on. They've combined for 32.3 points and 22.1 rebounds per game in NU's first three contests.

Griesel has reached double figures twice in three games and tops NU in both scoring (15.3 ppg) and assists (3.4 apg). In the opener against Maine, he had 22 points, nine rebounds and three assists, while adding 18 points in the win over Maine.
Bandoumel has been steady, averaging 9.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game to rank first on the team in scoring and second in assists. He enjoyed his best game against Omaha with 18 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in NU's game-opening 11-0 run.
Gary has been a solid contributor in the frontcourt, as he averages 7.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. He posted a double-double against Maine with 14 points and 11 boards, while he matched his career high with 11 rebounds in the loss to St. John's.

If history is any indication, it will be likely that one of these three will pace NU in scoring, as a newcomer has topped the Husker scoring chart in each of the three seasons under Fred Hoiberg. Of the eight players who have averaged double figures under Hoiberg, all eight have been in their first year of competition at Nebraska.

With the absence of Derrick Walker, who has not played in NU's first three games, the Huskers have relied on their newcomers. Of the 12 players who have seen the floor this year, only three had played a game with the Huskers before the 2022-23 campaign
 
Tominaga Continues Strong Play
After a summer with the Japanese National Team, junior Keisei Tominaga continued his strong play during the opening stretch of the season. Tominaga, a 6-foot-2 guard, is second on the team in scoring at 11.3 points per game while shooting 55 percent from the field. He had been in double figures in two of the last three games, including a team-high 15 points against St. John's. He opened the year with a 19-point effort off the bench in the win over Maine. In that game, he hit 7-of-12 shots from the field, including a trio of 3-pointers, and added two rebounds and a blocked shot in 20 minutes.

Last summer, Tominaga was with the national team, making his debut in the FIBA World Cup Asia qualifier in early July and then starred for Japan in the 2022 Asia Cup. In seven games with the Senior National Team, Tominaga averaged 15.9 points per game while shooting 39.3 percent from the 3-point line. His best performance came against Australia in the Asia Cup quarterfinals, when he poured in 33 points on 12-of-20 shooting, including 8-of-15 from 3-point range. His performance helped Japan to its best Asia Cup finish since 2015.

Wilcher Breaks Out
One of the biggest highlights of Nebraska's win over Omaha was the return to form of sophomore C.J. Wilcher. The 6-foot-5 guard led NU with 20 points, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range. Wilcher, who had just seven points in the opener against Maine, was one of the Huskers' top players down the stretch last season, shooting 60 percent from the field, including 50 percent from 3-point range over NU's final five games. In Big Ten play last season, he shot a team-best 43.0 percent from beyond the arc.
This season, Wilcher is second on the team in scoring at 11.3 points per game while shooting 43 percent from the field. He is tied for the team lead with six 3-pointers.
 
Welcome Back Wilhelm
Although he is one of NU's four returnees, sophomore Wilhelm Breidenbach is looking to regain his stride after missing most of his freshman year following knee surgery last December. Breidenbach is NU's first big off the bench right now and is averaging 3.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. He enjoyed his best game of the year in the opener against Maine, as the 6-foot-10 forward tied or set career highs in points (nine), rebounds (seven) and assists (three) in 17 minutes off the bench.
 
Revamped Husker Coaching Staff
In addition to nine new faces on the Husker roster (six scholarship players and three walk-ons), the Husker staff also has several new faces this season.

  • Assistant Coach Adam Howard comes to Nebraska after spending the last four seasons at South Alabama, helping the program to 75 wins in that span after the program had seven straight losing seasons. Last year, South Alabama won 21 games, the school's highest total since 2008. Howard also coached at Troy, Tennessee, Southern Miss and Morehead State after playing collegiately at Western Kentucky.
  • Assistant Coach Ernie Zeigler comes to Lincoln after spending six years on Ben Howland's staff at Mississippi State. The Bulldogs had four postseason appearances between 2018-22. Zeiger spent six seasons as the head coach at Central Michigan (2007-12) and previously served stints at UCLA, Pittsburgh, Kansas State, Detroit and Bowling Green.
  • Emmanuel Tommy joined the staff as Director of Player Development. He was an assistant coach at Alabama A&M last season and had worked on the administrative side at both McNeese State and South Alabama.
  • Two familiar faces in new positions are graduate managers Michael Bania and Payden Borders, both of whom worked as managers in the Husker program. Both graduated from Nebraska last May.

Pushing the Pace
One trait of a Fred Hoiberg coached team is to play at a fast pace. The Huskers have led the Big Ten in pace in each of the last three seasons according to KenPom, including top-20 rankings in 2019-20 (16th) and 2021-22 (19th). NU has been the only Big Ten team to rank in the top-50 in any of the past three seasons.

  • In his eight seasons as a college head coach, Hoiberg's teams have ranked in the top-50 in tempo six times, including four times in the top-20.
  • Prior to Hoiberg's arrival, the last time a Husker team was in the top-100 nationally in tempo according to KenPom was in 1999-2000 under Danny Nee.

 Playing with Pace (Adjusted Tempo per KenPom)

Year Hoiberg-Coached Team Big Ten Leader
2010-11 Iowa State (34th) Iowa (100th)
2011-12 Iowa State (128th) Iowa (70th)
2012-13 Iowa State (30th) Iowa (95th)
2013-14 Iowa State (12th) Iowa (29th)
2014-15 Iowa State (10th) Minnesota (47th)
2019-20 Nebraska (16th) Same
2020-21 Nebraska (35th) Same
2021-22 Nebraska (19th) Same

 
Walker Looks to Continue Efficient Shooting
Nebraska returns one of the most efficient big men in college basketball in Derrick Walker. The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 9.6 points per game on 68.3 percent shooting from the field in 2021-22. He broke NU's single-season field-goal percentage that was held by Larry Cox since the 1975-76 season. Walker was the only Big Ten player and one of just 14 players in Division I to shoot at least 65 percent and average at least eight points per game last season. Walker has not played in NU's first three games this season.
  
Husker Roster Has International Flavor
Nebraska's 2022-23 roster will once again have an international flavor, as it will feature a quartet of international players in Emmanuel Bandoumel (Canada), Blaise Keita (Mali), Keisei Tominaga (Japan) and Oleg Kojenets (Lithuania). During Fred Hoiberg's four seasons at Nebraska, the Huskers have had players from nine countries (Australia, Canada, England, France, Iceland, Japan, Lithuania, Mali and Slovenia).
 
Three Huskers on NBA Rosters in 2022-23
Nebraska is well represented on NBA Opening Night rosters with Isaiah Roby (San Antonio), Dalano Banton (Toronto) and Bryce McGowens (Charlotte). The group is joined by Tyronn Lue, who begins his third season as head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers.

  • Nebraska's three active NBA players is the most since the 2007-07 season (Eric Piatkowski, Mikki Moore and Lue)
  • McGowens became the 15th former Husker to make his NBA debut on Oct. 19, as he saw action in Charlotte's win over San Antonio.
  • Five members of the 2021-22 team are playing professionally, including Bryce McGowens (NBA), Trey McGowens (G League), Lat Mayen (Australia), Alonzo Verge Jr. (Poland) and Kobe Webster (Netherlands).
  • In all, 25 former Huskers are playing professionally around the world, including 10 players from Hoiberg's three Husker teams.

Homegrown Huskers
The 2022-23 roster features four in-state products in Sam Griesel (Lincoln), Sam Hoiberg (Lincoln), Henry Burt (Omaha) and Cale Jacobsen (Ashland). Griesel is the Huskers' first scholarship recruit since Jake Muhleisen in the early 2000s. Before joining NU, Griesel made two other appearances in PBA in his college career.  While at North Dakota State, he started both games for the Bison in the 2020 Golden Window event at PBA, averaging 9.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. He had nine points and 12 rebounds in a 79-57 loss to the Huskers. No current Husker played against Griesel in that contest.
 
Huskers to be Tested in 2022-23
Nebraska will have a challenging schedule this upcoming season. The Huskers will play a minimum of 25 power conference teams during the season, including five (St. John's, Creighton, Boston College, Kansas State and Oklahoma) in non-conference action. Depending on the results of the ESPN Events Invitational, NU could see as many as seven power conference teams during non-conference action, including six away from home.

  • Nebraska will play at least 13 games in the regular season against ranked teams or teams receiving votes in the AP or Coaches Preseason poll. The Huskers will face No. 9/9 Creighton, No. 13/14 Indiana, No. 22/22 Michigan and No. 23/23 Illinois while six other teams (Purdue, Michigan State, Ohio State, Iowa, Rutgers, Wisconsin) received votes. NU could also face Memphis during the ESPN Events Invitational in Orlando.
  • Nebraska has 16 regular-season games against teams that reached postseason play in 2021-22. The Big Ten had nine NCAA teams in 2021-22, and Nebraska will face that group a combined 13 times (Illinois-2, Iowa-2, Michigan State-2, Purdue-2, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State, Rutgers and Wisconsin). In non-conference action, NU will face Creighton in Omaha and will face Oklahoma in the ESPN Events Invitational opener. The Huskers will also square off against either Seton Hall or Memphis the following day.

McGowens Becomes Highest Drafted Husker since 1998
Bryce McGowens became the second Husker drafted in as many years, as he was the No. 40 pick of the Charlotte Hornets in the 2022 NBA Draft last June. He was the highest Husker drafted since Tyronn Lue went No. 23 overall in 1998. McGowens averaged 16.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game in 2021-22, earning third-team All-Big Ten honors from both the coaches and media.

  • McGowens' 16.8 points per game ranked third nationally among true freshmen in 2021-22. The top two true freshmen in scoring were Paolo Banchero (Duke) and Jabari Smith (Auburn) and those two were picked first and third, respectively, in the 2022 NBA Draft.
  • With Dalano Banton (No. 46 in 2021) and McGowens, Nebraska has players selected in consecutive NBA Drafts for the first time since 1998 and 1999.
  • McGowens was one of nine Big Ten players selected in the 2022 NBA Draft. The nine picks were the most of any conference and the highest total since 10 Big Ten players were selected in the 1990 NBA Draft.

Huskers Annually Rank Among NCAA Attendance Leaders
Since moving into Pinnacle Bank Arena, the Huskers have been among the national leaders in attendance. The Huskers have ranked in the top 15 in attendance every year since 2013-14, ranking in the top 10 on three occasions including last year.

  • Nebraska is one of eight schools in the country to average 15,000+ fans per contest in each of the last seven seasons (2014-20, 2022), joining Kentucky, Syracuse, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas and Creighton. The NCAA did not count attendance figures during the 2020-21 season because of Covid-19.

Huskers Add Top-30 Recruiting Class
For the second straight season, Nebraska pulled in a top-30 national recruiting class, as the 2022 class was rated No. 28 by Rivals. The class included incoming freshmen Ramel Lloyd Jr. and Jamarques Lawrence, as well as junior college transfer Blaise Keita. It also included Denim Dawson, who signed with Nebraska in November and enrolled for the start of the spring 2022 semester.
Lloyd was ranked No. 88 nationally by ESPN and was a top-100 recruit in the 247Sports Composite rankings, while Lawrence was ranked among the top 150 players by Rivals at the end of his senior season. Keita was ranked as the No. 1 overall JUCO player by 247Sports and No. 4 by JUCORecruiting.com.  The Huskers' 2021 freshmen class was ranked as high as 13th nationally by ESPN and also earned top-25 recognition by 247Sports and Rivals.
 
All in the Family
Several members of the 2022-23 Huskers have family members who have played basketball at the college or professional levels. The list is led by Fred Hoiberg, who played in the NBA for a decade after a standout career at Iowa State. In addition, Ramel Lloyd was a Parade All-American who scored over 1,600 points at the college level at Syracuse and Long Beach State. Both Aleh Kojenets and Jurga Paliaukaite played at UNC Wilmington, while Paliaukaite holds the UNC Wilmington women's record with 10 blocked shots in a game.  Keisei Tominaga's father didn't play college basketball, but was a center on the Japanese national team at the 1998 FIBA World Championship and played professionally in Japan for a decade.
 

Player Relative College (Sport)
Sam Hoiberg Fred (Father) Iowa State/NBA (MBB)
  Jack (Brother) Michigan State/UT-Arlington (MBB)
Oleg Kojenets Aleh (Father) UNC Wilmingon
  Jurga Paliaukaite (Mother) UNC Wilmington
Keisei Tominaga Hiroyuki (Father) Played Internationally for Japan
C.J. Wilcher Sergio (Father) Morgan State (MBB)
Ramel Lloyd Jr. Ramel Sr. (Father) Syracuse/Long Beach State (MBB)
Emmanuel Bandoumel Djim (Brother) Idaho State (MBB)

 
NBA Coaches: Back to School
Fred Hoiberg is one of eight active NCAA coaches to have coached in the NBA, as he spent three-plus seasons with the Chicago Bulls from 2015 to 2018. Hoiberg's 270 regular-season NBA games rank third among the eight former NBA coaches in the collegiate ranks. Hoiberg is also one of former 23 former NBA players as Division I head coaches in 2022-23.
 
Division I Coaches with NBA Head Coaching Experience

Coach, School NBA Head Coach, Years
John Calipari, Kentucky New Jersey, 1996-99
Leonard Hamilton, Miami Washington, 2000-01
Fred Hoiberg, Nebraska Chicago, 2015-18
Eric Musselman, Arkansas Golden State, 2002-04; Sacramento, 2006-07
Rick Pitino, Iona New York, 1987-89; Boston, 1997-2001
Reggie Theus, Bethune-Cookman Sacramento, 2007-09
Darrell Walker, Arkansas Little Rock Toronto, 1996-98; Washington, 1999-2000
Mike Woodson, Indiana Atlanta 2004-2010; New York, 2011-14

 
Eli Rice Signs with Nebraska
Nebraska Men's Basketball Coach Fred Hoiberg announced Nov. 9 that Eli Rice (Gallatin, Tenn.) has signed a National Letter-of-Intent to play for the Husker basketball program in 2023-24.  Rice is a 6-foot-7, 195-pound guard who will play for IMG Academy's postgraduate team this season after spending his senior year at Beech (Tenn.) High School. A three-star recruit by 247Sports, Rivals and On3, he was rated No. 194 nationally in the 247Sports composite rankings and among the top-25 recruits in the state of Florida by 247Sports.

Rice, who turned 18 in August, starred at Beech High School in 2021-22, averaging 17.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 blocks per game. He helped Coach Kip Brown's team to a 34-2 record, including a 33-game win streak, and the school's first appearance in the state tournament since 2010.  For his efforts, Rice was named to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association's all-state high school boys basketball team in Class 4A and was named the Sumner County Player of the Year.
 
Single-game Tickets Now on Sale
Single-game tickets for the 2022-23 schedule are now on sale. A select number of 300 Level seats are available for $7 apiece for non-conference games and $10 each for each of the Huskers' 10 Big Ten matchups, including games with Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Ohio State and Iowa.

The single-game tickets are one of several options to purchase Husker basketball tickets for the 2022-23 season. In addition, the Six-Game Mini-Plan which allows fans to pick 300 Level seats for any six games during the 2022-23 season for just $30 while supplies last.

To purchase, visit Huskers.com/Tickets or call the Nebraska Athletic Ticket Office at 800-8-BIGRED during business hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m., Mon.-Fri.).



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