GAME NOTES: Perilously close to the bottom of the Big Ten Conference standings, the Nebraska Cornhuskers try to show some signs of life this afternoon as they host the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Nebraska has won just once in the last month, although that victory was an upset of 17th-ranked Ohio State (68-62) at home earlier this week, However, just three nights ago the team was turned away by a Penn State squad which had yet to claim a league victory, but came away with a 58-54 triumph at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Losers of six of their last seven games, the Huskers are only 1-5 in conference at the moment, but at least they are playing at home where they've won all but one of their nine matchups in 2013-14.
As for the Golden Gophers, they were an impressive 13-3 to begin the campaign, but in the last couple of weeks they've split four outings. Suffering setbacks to the likes of Michigan, Michigan State and Iowa in conference play, Minnesota is coming off a much more favorable 81-68 victory against Wisconsin earlier this week.
Minnesota leads the all-time series by a 49-13 margin, although the program had a four-game series win streak snapped last March when Nebraska slipped by in a 53-51 final.
Against Wisconsin, a team which is known for its defense, the Golden Gophers erupted for 58.9 percent shooting from the field, 4-of-7 beyond the arc and a perfect 11-of-11 at the free-throw line. Maurice Walker came off the bench to tally 18 points and nine rebounds, matching the scoring output of DeAndre Mathieu, while Malik Smith and Austin Hollins accounted for 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Minnesota is being paced in the scoring department by Andre Hollins with his 15.4 ppg, stemming from an impressive 84.2 percent showing at the free-throw line, while Austin Hollins checks in with 11.8 ppg and is second on the unit in rebounding with better than six per game.
If there was a team in the Big Ten that Nebraska should have defeated it would have been Penn State, but that wasn't the case earlier this week when the Nittany Lions held serve on their home floor in a four-point decision. Terran Petteway tried to keep the Huskers in the mix with his 15 points and six rebounds, while Ray Gallegos accounted for another 10 points, but the latter shot only 4-of-12 from the field as the squad finished at a meager 35.8 percent overall.
The Cornhuskers are generating only 61.0 ppg against conference foes, shooting 40.4 percent from the field and 30.5 percent behind the 3-point line. Petteway is responsible for 17.2 ppg and 6.7 rpg in those six battles, but at the same time he has also turned the ball over 24 times, against only 11 assists. Deverell Biggs, playing just 23.2 minutes per game as a reserve, produces 10.8 ppg as the only other double-digit scorer.
Nebraska, which traditionally plays a majority of home games during the first half of the season, won't stand a chance in this meeting if the squad plays anything like it did versus Penn State.
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