January 5, 2009

Dagunduro steps up game offensively

Nebraska has had plenty of players go on brief hot streaks this season, but none have been quite as sizzling as Ade Dagunduro.


Over the course of the past four games, no player in the history of Husker basketball has been on a roll quite like the senior guard from Inglewood, Calif. Highlighted by his season-high 18 points against Maryland Eastern Shore on Saturday, Dagunduro has now scored in double figures in five straight games.


During the past four games combined, he's made 26-of-32 shots (81.3 percent) from the floor. In NU's loss to Maryland-Baltimore County, Dagunduro was the lone bright spot, as he tied the school record by hitting all nine of his field goals in the game.




PREGAME NOTES


Tip: 7:05 p.m. CST

Where: Devaney Sports Center 13,595

Head Coach: Doc Sadler 3rd yr (46-30 overall)

Radio: Husker Sports Radio Network stations (Play-by-play: Kent Pavelka. Color: Matt Davison.)


TV: none

Series: First meeting






Maybe most impressively, Dagunduro set the school record by making 15 consecutive shots over the course of NU's previous three games coming into Saturday's win over UMES. As the Huskers prepare for tonight's home game against Florida A&M at 7 p.m., he'll be looking for even more of the same.


"I've just tried to be in 100-percent attack mode," Dagunduro said. "Whether that be attacking to get my teammates a shot, or attacking to get myself a shot, no matter what, when I'm in aggressive mindset, good things have fortunately been happening."


When you ask Dagunduro about his red-hot shooting over the past month, he always takes the modest approach and deflects the bulk of the credit to his teammates, especially his point guards.


In a way, point guards like Sek Henry and Cookie Miller and the rest of his teammates have played a big role in Dagunduro's recent success. When looking at the chart of his shots the past few games, it's obvious that the majority of his shots have been lay-ups and shots near the basket, meaning he's getting set up for high-percentage shots on passes from his teammates.






Florida A&M (2-9, 0-1 MEAC)

7:05 p.m.


Nebraska (9-3, 0-0 Big 12)

No TV






























PROJECTED STARTERS



Nebraska 9-3




Pos

#

Name

Yr

Pts/reb

G

5

Sek Henry (6-3, 200)

Jr

9.0/3.7

G

4

Steve Harley (5-11, 180)

Sr

13.3/3.6

G

11

Ade Dagunduro (6-5, 200)

Sr

10.5/3.5

G

44

Ryan Anderson (6-4, 205)

Jr

5.2/3.7

F

30

Toney McCray (6-6, 205)

Fr

7.4/3.8





Florida A&M 2-9




Pos

#

Name

Yr

Pts/reb

G

24

Joe Ballard (6-0, 190)

Sr

6.2/3.0

G

15

Brandon Bryant (6-3, 170)

Jr

9.8/1.9

G

12

Dale Hughes (6-2, 200)

Fr

9.1/1.8

F

3

Lamar Twitty (6-4, 205)

Sr

10.8/3.6

C

21

Cecil Bent (6-9, 290)

Fr

4.0/2.4






Even so, he's still been the one getting open and making shots. On Saturday, Dagunduro hit his first eight shots from the field, including his lone 3-pointer. In fact, he didn't finally miss until he came up short on a contested lay-up with just 4:55 left to go in the game.


"We have been running some more plays for me, but I'd it's mostly because of our point guards just finding me and making it easier for me to have easy opportunities," he said.


Dagunduro's hot streak couldn't have come at a much better time, either. After two straight road losses to Arizona State and Oregon State, the Huskers suffered their worst blow in years when UMBC came into the Devaney Center and handed them their third loss of the season.


This being his final collegiate season, Dagunduro said he put it upon himself to step up his game and get Nebraska back on track, specifically on the offensive end. With their Big12 Conference opener against Missouri less than a week away, it looks as if the Huskers are finally starting to regain the momentum they showed in their 6-0 start to the season.


"I'm not sure what game in particular it was, but I knew I wasn't doing a good enough job of scoring points," Dagunduro said. "One day the coaches came up to me and were like, 'Look, you're a senior. We're going to need you to score.' From that point on, I've been trying to make the extra effort to be more assertive on offense."


WHAT TO LOOK FOR:


This being Nebraska's final tune-up before the start of the Big 12 Conference schedule, it's important that the Huskers put on another solid performance to build even more momentum going into Saturday's game against Missouri.


They played about as well as they have all season in Saturday's win over Maryland Eastern Shore, especially on the offensive end. To have consecutive strong outings would do wonders for the Huskers' confidence, which took a pretty good hit after losing at home to Maryland Baltimore County.


WHO'S HOT FOR THE HUSKERS


Obviously no player is hotter than Dagunduro for Nebraska right now, but junior forward Chris Balham is steadily coming into his own. After two of his best performances of the season the past two weeks, Balham has provided a nice option in the post.


His minutes have still be limited while his injured knee continues to heal, but Balham gave the Huskers seven points and three rebounds in just 14 minutes against UMES on Saturday. Against South Carolina State, Balham had seven points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes.


WHO'S HOT FOR THE RATTLERS


Senior forward Lamar Twitty is undoubtedly Florida A&M's leader on the floor, and he's the only the Rattler to average more than 10 points per game this season. Though he scored just one point in a loss to Ole Miss, he's put up some big numbers against big competition.


Against Texas A&M, Twitty dropped a season-high 27 points. That was also only a couple weeks after he scored 20 in the Rattlers loss to Florida and 12 in a loss to Arkansas.

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