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December 4, 2011

Gameday: Nebraska vs. Creighton

Nebraska Cornhuskers

vs. Creighton Bluejays
Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011 - 4:05 p.m. CT
TV: KMTV (Ch. 3 in Omaha) / RADIO: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network

Creighton Bluejays (6-0)
Streak: Won 6
Last Game: Defeated San Diego State 85-83
G Antoine Young (has led MVC in assist/turnover ratio last two seasons) Sr. 6-0 175
G Jahenns Manigat (made five 3-pointers in each of first two games this year) So. 6-1 175
G Grant Gibbs (has 26 assists to just four turnovers in last four games) So. 6-4 210
F Doug McDermott (one of 50 candidates for the Wooden & Naismith Awards) So. 6-7 220
C Gregory Echenique (had 15 points, 9 rebounds vs. Iowa) Jr. 6-9 270

Nebraska CornhuskersNebraska Cornhuskers (4-2)
Streak: Lost 1
Last Game: Lost to Wake Forest 55-53
G Bo Spencer (leads team with 15.5 ppg and assists with 4.0 per game) Sr. 6-2 196
G Brandon Richardson (second on team with 2.8 apg) Sr. 6-0 190
G Caleb Walker (averaging 7.8 ppg and 4.7 rpg) Sr. 6-4 205
F Brandon Ubel (leads team with 5.7 rpg) Jr. 6-10 235
F Jorge Brian Diaz (averaging 11.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 2.2 blocks per game) Jr. 6-11 244

Get to the line

There may not have been a more dooming stat for Nebraska in its loss to Wake Forest on Wednesday than at the free throw line. After going 3-of-4 from the charity stripe in the first half, the Huskers didn't shoot a single free throw in the second half. In a game that was decided by just two points, it's easy to see just how crucial those missed opportunities at easy points were when all was said and done. Nebraska will need all the scoring it can get against a potent team like Creighton, and getting to the free throw line will be one of the best ways to do it.
Contain McDermott

Creighton forward Doug McDermott will be the most versatile and talented player Nebraska will have faced all season, and he should be priority No. 1 in slowing down the Bluejays potent offense. Averaging 23.7 points per game this season, the sophomore has been able to beat teams in a number of different ways, both inside and facing the basket. In the past, the Huskers have done a good job of containing opposing star big men, but because McDermott is just as dangerous away from the basket as he is in the post, he could present some big challenges to NU's defense.
Make the plays

Nebraska has been in position to win in the final minutes of both of its losses to Oregon and Wake Forest, it just hasn't been able to make enough plays close out victories. Whether it be missing a game-winning shot, committing a costly foul or giving up a crucial offensive rebound, it's seemed that all the bounces have gone against the Huskers when the game has been on the line. On the other side, Creighton has gotten off to a 6-0 start by doing all the right things, especially during important stretches late in the game. Needless to say, Nebraska can't afford to miss any opportunities today.

Head coach Doc Sadler on whether his friendship with Creighton head coach Greg McDermott changes the tenor of the Huskers-Bluejays rivalry:

"Oh no. I want to beat his brains out. When you get to this level, competing against the coach is fun."
Senior guard Toney McCray on the importance of getting a win today:

"We've just got to go out there and just play. We worked too hard throughout the preseason and getting ready for this. Regardless of our record right now, we've got to go out there and play and make things happen for the team. Whether it's a top-ranked team or a low-ranked team, we don't have the luxury of taking any nights off right now."

Creighton 80-64

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