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Huskers Close Stretch vs. Badgers Monday Night | KRVN Radio

Huskers Close Stretch vs. Badgers Monday Night

Huskers Close Stretch vs. Badgers Monday Night
Isaiah Roby and the Huskers travel to Wisconsin on Monday. Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Nebraska winds up a challenging eight-day stretch on Monday night, as the Huskers travel to Madison to take on the Wisconsin Badgers.

Tipoff from the Kohl Center is set for 7 p.m.  (MT) and the tilt between the Huskers and Badgers will be televised nationally on BTN with Brian Anderson and Stephen Bardo on the call. The game is available on BTN.com, BTN2Go and the Fox Sports Go app.

Fans can follow all of the action across the state of Nebraska on the IMG Husker Sports Network with Kent Pavelka and Jake Muhleisen on the call. The game will also be available on Huskers.com, on the Huskers app, on TuneIn Radio and on the TuneIn Radio app. The radio broadcast begins one hour prior to tipoff.

Nebraska (16-8, 7-4 Big Ten) enters the week in fourth place in the Big Ten race following a 98-84 win over Iowa on Saturday night. The Huskers shot 58 percent from the field, including 11-of-19 from 3-point range, and put up its highest point total in a conference game since 2002.

James Palmer Jr. led four Huskers in double figures with a game-high 28 points and five assists, while Isaac Copeland Jr. posted 23 points, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range, and a game-high 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.

Palmer, who was Big Ten player of the Week on Jan. 22, put together his best week of the season in helping the Huskers to a 2-1 week. He averaged 26.7 ppg on 51 percent shooting, including a career-high 34 points in the loss to No. 13 Ohio State. While Palmer, who is now fifth in the Big Ten in scoring at 17.2 ppg has been the headliner recently, Copeland has emerged as a go-to scorer as well. He averaged 18.0 points on 58 percent shooting, including 60 percent from 3-point range, and 8.3 rebounds per game last week. Copeland posted the first consecutive 20-point games his career, as he had 23 against both Rutgers and Iowa.

Monday’s game at Wisconsin wraps up a busy month of January, as the Huskers will have played 10 games in 28 games, including four in an eight-day stretch to close the month.

The Badgers (10-12, 3-6 Big Ten) have been through a tough part of their schedule, playing five of the last six games on the road, including a 76-61 loss at Michigan State on Friday. Wisconsin has played just three of its first nine Big Ten games at home heading into Monday’s meeting with NU. Ethan Happ leads the Wisconsin attack, as the All-Big Ten performer paces the Badgers in scoring (17.2 ppg), rebounding (8.5 rpg), assists (3.7 apg) and steals (1.5 spg).

OPENING NUMBER
11 – Isaac Copeland’s four 3-pointers helped NU shoot 11-of-19 from 3-point range against Iowa. It marked the Huskers’ best shooting from 3-point range (min. 10 attempts) since the 2012-13 season (.643 at Minnesota).

NUMBERS TO KNOW
1.20 – Nebraska’s assist-to-turnover ratio which is on pace to be its best in nearly 20 years. In fact, the last time Nebraska had more assists than turnovers was in 2009-10.

20.7 – Scoring average for James Palmer Jr. during January, as he has scored 18 or more points in eight of nines games this month. He had a career-high 34 at Ohio State on Monday and 27 against Iowa on Saturday.

70 – Nebraska is 12-2 when scoring 70 or more points and 4-6 when held to under 70 points. Nebraska’s only two losses when scoring 70+ points was a one-point loss to Kansas and a two-point OT loss at Penn State.

135 – Nebraska’s 135 blocked shots ranks ninth in school history and is the most since the 1999-2000 season, when NU also had 141 blocked shots.

SCOUTING WISCONSIN
Under third-year coach Greg Gard, the Badgers are 10-12 overall following a 76-61 loss at Michigan State on Friday. In that game, Ethan Happ had 23 points and seven rebounds, while Bravin Pritzl added 13 points, as Wisconsin shot just 36 percent, including 5-of-24 from 3-point range. The Badgers just wrapped a stretch of playing five of their last six games on the road dating back to Jan. 5. Wisconsin has been tough at home, posting a 9-3 record on the season, but are just 1-9 away from the Kphl Center.

Wisconsin, which replaced four starters from a Sweet 16 squad, have battled through injuries throughout the 2017-18 campaign. Guards D’Mitrik Trice and Kobe King are out because of injuries, while only Happ and Khalil Iverson have started all 22 games. Happ is one of the Big Ten’s top players, as he leads Wisconsin in scoring (17.2 ppg), rebounds (8.5 rpg) and assists (3.8 apg), while freshman Brad Davison averages 11.5 points per game and is shooting 36 percent from 3-point range with a team-high 38 3-pointers.

SERIES HISTORY
Monday’s matchup is the 28th meeting between the two programs, and Wisconsin holds a 14-13 all-time lead. The series dates back to the 1903-04 season, as Nebraska won the first meeting, 25-22 over the Badgers in Lincoln before Wisconsin took five of the next six meetings from 1907 to 1955.  Nebraska then won eight straight games before the Badgers won the next five meetings, including the first four in Big Ten play, before the Huskers topped the No. 9 Badgers in the final regular-season game in 2013-14.

The Huskers are 3-8 against Wisconsin since joining the Big Ten (2-8 in regular season; 1-0 in Big Ten Tournament), as the Huskers took the first meeting, 63-59 on Jan. 9. NU is 0-4 at the Kohl Center since joining the Big Ten and is looking for its first win in Madison since a 75-63 win in 1990.  Wisconsin has been ranked in either the AP or coaches poll in six of the last eight meetings, including four times in the top-10.

LAST MEETING VS. WISCONSIN
James Palmer Jr. had 18 points and Nebraska opened up a double-digit lead early in the second half then held off three Wisconsin surges to take a 63-59 win on Jan. 9.

Nebraska led by as many as 13 early in the half, but saw the lead shrink to five as Wisconsin made five of six field goals. The Huskers went back up by 10 at 50-40 when Thomas Allen hit a pair of free throws after a Wisconsin technical foul with 7:22 left. The Badgers’ Ethan Happ then scored seven straight against one Nebraska free throw to cut the lead to 51-47 with 4:45 left. Three Nebraska free throws and a Palmer jumper, the Huskers’ last field goal of the game, put Nebraska back up by nine. The Huskers led 62-53 after Isaac Copeland’s free throw with 11 seconds left. But Wisconsin’s Brevin Pritzl bombed in a long 3-pointer with just over 2 seconds left, Nebraska turned the ball over and Brad Davison hit another long-range 3 to pull Wisconsin to 62-59 with a second left. Evan Taylor’s free throw then sealed the win for NU.

Nebraska won the game at the free-throw line. The Huskers were 21 of 28 from the line, including 18 of 24 in the second half. Isaac Copeland had 12 points for Nebraska. Happ had 19 points and 11 rebounds for Wisconsin, while Davison added 15 points.

LAST TIME OUT
James Palmer Jr. led the Huskers with a game-high 28 points, and Nebraska made 11 3-pointers and shot nearly 58 percent on the way to a 98-84 victory over Iowa.

Isaac Copeland scored 23 points and added 11 rebounds to post his second double-double of the season. Isaiah Roby scored a career-high 17 points, while Jordy Tshimanga rounded out four Huskers in double figures with a season-high 11 tallies.

Nebraska finished the game 11-19 from behind the arc, including four 3-pointers from Copeland and three from Palmer.  Nebraska’s 98 points were its most since scoring 104 points in a 104-94 win over UTSA earlier this season on Dec. 20, 2017. The Husker output on Saturday was its most in a conference game since scoring 99 points in a 99-82 win over Kansas State on Feb. 9, 2002.

After the Huskers took a 46-34 lead into the locker room at halftime, NU was slow to start the second half as Iowa went on a 20-8 run to start the half to cut the Nebraska lead to 56-54. Palmer led an 11-0 run with back-to-back threes, while Roby knocked in a triple of his own to give the Huskers a 67-54 advantage and the Big Red never looked back as Iowa would not cut the lead to single digits for the rest of the game.

ABOUT NEBRASKA
*-Nebraska is in the midst of playing four games in eight days, including three games on the road (at OSU, at Rutgers, at Wisconsin). The win over Iowa marked the only home contest in a 22-day span, as the Huskers are in the middle of a stretch where they play four of five games on the road. The good news for the Huskers is that four of their final five games are at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

*-Nebraska is one of 19 Division I programs – including 10 from power conferences – as of Wednesday’s games to have both its men’s and women’s teams win at least 15 games this season.  Of those 19 programs, Nebraska was the only one with a losing record in both men’s and women’s basketball in 2016-17.

*-NU comes into Monday’s game with a 16-8 record, eclipsing its best 24-game start in the Big Ten era. The 16-8 mark matches the Huskers’ best 24-game mark in over 20 years, as NU was 16-8 after 24 games on four other occasions (2010-11, 2008-09, 2005-06, 1998-99) in that span. The last time NU had a better 24-game mark came in the 1991-92 season when NU with 17-7 after 24 games.

*-Of Nebraska’s last five losses dating back to Dec. 9, NU lost twice in the last 30 seconds (vs. No. 13 Kansas, at PSU) and had two others where NU was within a point in the last four minutes (at Creighton, at No. 13 OSU).

*-James Palmer Jr. enjoyed one of the most prolific scoring performances in school history at No. 13 Ohio State on Jan. 22 with his 34-point effort against the Buckeyes. Not only was it the highest-scoring game in Big Ten Conference action this season, but it marked the second-highest scoring effort in a road game in school history and the most on the road by a Husker since 2006.

*-Palmer has shown the ability to get to the foul line, as he leads the Big Ten with 142 attempts through Saturday’s games. He is ahead of Maryland’s Anthony Cowan Jr. (149) and Minnesota’s Jordan Murphy (145).

*-Nebraska’s defense has been its calling card in Big Ten action. The Huskers are second in field goal defense (.398) and held nine of their last 10 opponents under 45 percent. Iowa became just the first foe since Dec. 9 to shoot 50 percent vs. the Huskers. Last Monday, the Huskers limited No. 13 Ohio State to its lowest scoring total and second-lowest shooting total in Big Ten action while holding Rutgers to .338 shooting on Wednesday.

*-While Nebraska is 10th in the Big Ten in scoring defense at 69.2 points per game, a closer look shows that Nebraska already played four teams that are in the top 25 nationally in scoring offense (Michigan State, Purdue, Creighton, Kansas). NU held three of the four teams at least 10 points below their scoring average.

*-The Huskers are averaging 73.3 points per game and is on track for one of the best offensive seasons in recent years. NU’s 73.3 points per game marks only the sixth time in the last 22 years that NU has averaged at least 73.0 points per game through the first 23 games.  The Huskers are 12-2 this year when scoring at least 70 points, including seven games of at least 80 points (7-0).

*-Nebraska’s 98 points against Iowa marked the Huskers’ highest total in a conference game since scoring 99 against Kansas State on Feb. 9, 2002.

*-Nebraska’s biggest offensive strength has been a balanced attack with three players averaging double figures, led by James Palmer Jr., who averages a team-high 17.2 points per game to lead all Big Ten newcomers in scoring. Palmer is currently on track to enjoy one of the top first-year seasons in school history, as the top three first-year scorers have been in Tim Miles’ six seasons at Nebraska.

*-Nebraska relies on a pair of transfers in James Palmer Jr. (Miami) and Isaac Copeland (Georgetown), as the duo combines for more than 30 points per game. In all, 47.8 percent of the Huskers’ offense this year has been by players in their first year in the program.

Palmer has reached double figures 22 times, including a season-high 34 points at No. 13 Ohio State on Jan. 22, and is third in assists (2.6 apg). Copeland leads the Huskers in rebounding at 6.5 per game and is second in both scoring (13.0, second) and blocked shots (27, second). He has a team-high two double-doubles, including a 23-point, 11-rebound effort against Iowa and a 20-point, 11-rebound performance at Creighton on Dec. 9.

*-Glynn Watson Jr. is in his third season guiding the Husker offense and is among NU’s leaders in both scoring (10.9 ppg, third), assists (3.2, first) and steals (1.5, first). The 6-foot guard will make his team-high 70th career start on Monday and has a 2.1-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio this season. Watson is just 43 points from 1,000 for his career and is 10 steals away from 10th place on Husker career charts.

*-Glynn Watson Jr. and Jack McVeigh at the only two current Huskers who have played in the Kohl Center, a 71-61 loss to the Badgers on Feb. 10, 2016. McVeigh earned his first career start that evening, as Shavon Shields was out with a concussion and had eight points, while Watson led NIU with 16 points in a losing effort.

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