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Huskers Looking for Best Start Since 2008-09

by Nov 17, 2023Nebraska Mens Basketball

Nebraska Oregon State
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska men’s basketball will be on the road for the first time this season when they tip with Oregon State (3-0) at 3 p.m. Saturday in a neutral site game at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The Huskers will look to improve their record to 5-0 this season, which would be the program’s best start since the 2008-09 team opened the season at 6-0. 

The last time Nebraska played a neutral site game at the Sanford Pentagon was the 2018-19 season, a 79-56 win against Oklahoma State. 

Leveling Up

Oregon State comes into the matchup with a 3-0 record after an 81-71 overtime win over Appalachian State on Tuesday night. 

Saturday will mark the first time this season that both the Huskers and Beavers will face a power conference opponent. 

The Huskers are coming off an 84-63 win over Stony Brook on Wednesday night, their best shooting performance of the season. Nebraska shot a season-high 55 percent from the field and had four players in double figures in matching its highest offensive output of the season. 

Juwan Gary came off the bench for 19 points and seven rebounds in his season debut, while Brice Williams scored 16 of his 17 points in the second half and added nine rebounds. Keisei Tominaga (16) and Rienk Mast (14) also finished in double figures, as Nebraska scored 80 or more points for the third time in four games.

One of the struggles Nebraska has had this season is putting two halves of good offensive output together. 

“I thought we shared it really well in the second half,” Coach Fred Hoiberg said after the 84-53 win over Stony Brook Wednesday night. “Our second half for whatever reason, offensively, has not been very good to this point … I think you saw what we are capable of in the second half.”

Scouting Oregon State

The Beavers are averaging 81.3 points per game to their opponents’ 65.7 in their three wins. 

Sophomore Jordan Pope had 25 points and seven rebounds in their overtime win over Appalachian State. The 6-foot-2 guard is leading the Beavers in scoring (19.0 points per game) and shooting just under 43% from distance in their three wins. 

Tyler Bilodeau, a 6-foot-9 sophomore, is the team’s leading rebounder (9.3 per game) and second-leading scorer with 15.0 points per game. 

Senior guard Dexter Akanno is the third player to average double figures with a 14-points-per-game average. 

Oregon State returned three starters and 10 letter-winners from the 2022-23 team that went 11-21, including 5-15 in the Pac-12. 

In addition to Pope and Biloudeau, K.C. Ibekwe started Oregon State’s first two games and had 10 points and eight boards in the win over Appalachian State. Another sophomore who started most of last season was Michael Rataj. The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 6.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. He has not played this season due to a shin injury.

Nebraska is 4-6 all-time against Oregon State but has not played the Beavers since a 50-44 win in Lincoln on Dec. 12, 2009. Seven of the 10 meetings in the series took place between 1940 and 1969.

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