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January 11, 2012

Gameday: Nebraska vs. Penn State

Nebraska Cornhuskers

vs. Penn State Nittany Lions
Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012 - 7:30 p.m. CT
TV: Big Ten Network / RADIO: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network

Penn State (9-8, 1-3 Big Ten)
Streak: Lost 1
Last Game: Lost to Indiana 88-82
G Tim Frazier (leads team with 17.4 ppg and 6.8 apg) Jr. 6-1 170
G Jermaine Marshall(second-leading scorer at 10.4 ppg) So. 6-4 200
G Matt Glover (former Nebraska junior college recruit) So. 6-4 210
F John Graham (averaging 3.6 ppg and 3.3 rpg) RFr. 6-8 240
F Billy Oliver (scored 21 points in win over Purdue) Jr. 6-8 230

Nebraska CornhuskersNebraska Cornhuskers (8-7, 0-4 Big Ten)
Streak: Lost 4
Last Game: Lost to Illinois 59-54
G Bo Spencer (has scored in double figures 12 times this season) Sr. 6-2 196
G Brandon Richardson (had 10 points and 3 steals vs. Illinois) Sr. 6-0 190
G Caleb Walker (had team-high 7 rebounds against Illinois) Sr. 6-4 205
G Toney McCray (has led NU with 14.3 ppg and 6.8 rpg over last six games) Jr. 6-10 235
F Brandon Ubel (averaging team-high 6.7 rebounds this season) Jr. 6-10 235

Match the energy

It's hard to find a team that thrives more on playing scrappy and sometimes ugly basketball than Nebraska, but Penn State would rank right along side the Huskers in that description. Under head coach Patrick Chambers, the Nittany Lions have adopted a style of play that is driven off of stingy defense and relentless effort for the full 40 minutes. That's been Nebraska's bread and butter the past six years, and for the Huskers to pick up their first Big Ten Conference victory tonight, they're going to have to find a way to match PSU's energy and intensity on both ends of the court.
Adjust to PSU's defense

One thing that makes Penn State different from most any team Nebraska will face this season is the wide variety of looks the Nittany Lions give teams defensively. Penn State literally does a little bit of everything, utilizing a mixture of zones and man-to-man sets while pressing full, and half court presses at different points in the game. For a Nebraska team that ranks at the very bottom of the Big Ten in scoring offense, the Huskers are going to have their hands full once again against Penn State's ever changing defense.
Just win

Nebraska has all but dug itself completely out of reach of its post-season goals this season, but the door hasn't officially slammed shut just yet. With 14 more conference games left to go, the Huskers technically still have enough time to make one last run to try and pad their season resume enough to sneak into the NFL Tournament. However, any chance of that happening starts tonight in a game Nebraska simply has to win. This is the one match-up on NU's first eight Big Ten games that looked truly winnable going into the year, and if this is a team that's going to change its season around, it has to start tonight.

Senior point guard Bo Spencer on tonight being a must-win game for Nebraska:

"You can't really say that they're a must-win team, because I guess guys look at us and look at our record and say we're a must-win, even though we know we're much better than what our record shows. Teams have to prepare for each other every night, because on any night anyone can be beat. It just so happens we haven't got any of those victories."
Head coach Doc Sadler on Penn State:

"I really enjoy watching them," Sadler said. "They play as hard as any team that we're going to play all year. That's a credit to Pat and a credit to his players. They're shooting the ball - wow - the last two games they're shooting the ball the way you've got to shoot to beat Purdue by 20 and be down by two with 30-some seconds to go against Indiana. They're playing with great enthusiasm, they're playing with great energy, and they're making jump shots."

Nebraska 58-53

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