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February 22, 2012

Gameday: Nebraska vs. Purdue

Nebraska Cornhuskers

vs. Purdue Boilermakers
Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 - 5:31 p.m. CT
TV: Big Ten Network / RADIO: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network

Purdue (17-10, 7-7 Big Ten)
Streak: Lost 1
Last Game: Lost to No. 8 Michigan State 76-62
G Lewis Jackson (averaging 10.1 ppg and team-high 4.1 apg) Sr. 5-9 165
G Terone Johnson(scoring 7.5 ppg and 3.1 rpg) So. 6-2 207
G Ryne Smith (averages 9.3 ppg, has made team-high 68 3-pointers) Sr. 6-3 189
F Robbie Hummel (leads team with 16.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg and 34 blocks) Sr. 6-8 215
F Travis Carroll (averaging just 2.6 ppg and 3.0 rpg) So. 6-9 231

Nebraska CornhuskersNebraska Cornhuskers (12-13, 4-10 Big Ten)
Streak: Won 1
Last Game: Defeated Illinois 80-57
G Bo Spencer (scored 27 points in win over Illinois) Sr. 6-2 196
G Brandon Richardson (had 12 points and six assists vs. Purdue) Sr. 6-0 190
G Caleb Walker (had 13 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals vs. IU) Sr. 6-4 205
G Toney McCray (second on team with 10.1 ppg and 4.8 rpg) Sr. 6-6 215
F Brandon Ubel (leads team with 5.4 rebounds per game) Jr. 6-10 235

Take it on the road

Of Nebraska's four wins in Big Ten Conference play this season, only one (at Iowa on Jan. 26) has come away from the Bob Devaney Center. While the Huskers have played well in a few road games, they've been unable to find a way to seal the deal when it counts the most. Coming off Saturday's big win over Illinois, NU finally hits the road with some decent momentum when it takes on Purdue at Mackey Arena tonight. The only problem is the Boilermakers are one of the best teams in the country at protecting their home court, as they are 11-4 at home this season and at one point had won 27 straight home games.
Defend the 3

With Nebraska's lack of depth in the post at this point, its defensive strategy has primarily revolved around keeping opponents out of the lane and forcing them to shoot from the perimeter. That should still be part of the game plan tonight, but the problem is Purdue isn't exactly a power in the post either. In fact, the Boilermakers' tallest regular contributor is just 6-8, and they have actually thrived far more on their 3-point shooting and the versatile play of guys like senior forward Robbie Hummel. To avoid a repeat of its loss at Northwestern earlier this season - where the Wildcats hit 14 3-pointers, including 10 in the first half, en route to an 84-74 win - NU is going to have to step up and contest every perimeter shot on defense.
Keep it up

It's been a while since Nebraska has felt this good about itself heading into a game. The Huskers haven't looked better all season than they did in completely dismantling Illinois on Saturday, as they were hitting shots and running up and down the floor like a team with a newfound burst of energy. There may not be a whole lot left for NU to play for at this point, but there are still goals within reach for the rest of the season. Not only can the Huskers better their seed and first-round match-up in the Big Ten Tournament with a strong finish to their final four regular season games, they can also win their way into another NIT berth or, if they get really hot, even a trip to the Big Dance.

Head coach Doc Sadler on his impressions of watching Purdue on film this season:

"They will defend. Their toughness is something they are pretty proud of. And they've got guys who can shoot."
Senior guard Brandon Richardson on keeping the momentum going from Saturday's win over Illinois:

"We had a lot of effort and intensity. Everybody stepped up and took pride in their defense. We've just got to take the defensive game from Illinois to Purdue and hopefully we'll get the same outcome."

Purdue 75-69



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