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February 29, 2012

Gameday: Nebraska vs. Iowa

Nebraska Cornhuskers

vs. Iowa Hawkeyes
Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012 - 8:05 p.m. CT
TV: ESPNU / RADIO: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network

Iowa (15-14, 7-9 Big Ten)
Streak: Lost 1
Last Game: Lost to Illinois 65-54
G Matt Gatens (averaging 25 ppg in last three games) Sr. 6-5 212
G Josh Oglesby (averaging 6.2 points and 1.6 rebounds per game) Fr. 6-5 185
G/F Roy Devyn Marble (had 10 points and 6 assists in loss to Illinois) So. 6-6 194
F Zach McCabe (averaging 7.5 ppg and 4.4 rpg) So. 6-7 232
F Aaron White (scoring 10.3 ppg and team-high 5.5 rpg) Fr. 6-8 225

Nebraska CornhuskersNebraska Cornhuskers (12-15, 4-12 Big Ten)
Streak: Lost 2
Last Game: Lost to No. 6 Michigan State 62-34
G Bo Spencer (suffered ankle injury vs. Michigan State) Sr. 6-2 196
G Brandon Richardson (averaging 3.5 assists in last four games) Sr. 6-0 190
G Caleb Walker (NU is 5-1 when he scores in double figures) Sr. 6-4 205
G Toney McCray (second on team with 9.8 ppg and 4.5 rpg) Jr. 6-6 215
F Brandon Ubel led team with 13 points in loss to Michigan State) Jr. 6-10 235

Attack the basket

In Nebraska's 79-73 win over Iowa in Iowa City earlier this season, the Huskers turned things around offensively by attacking the basket by driving right at the Hawkeye defense. Senior guard Brandon Richardson was the spark behind that strategy, as he suddenly became an scoring machine by getting into the lane and putting up a career-high 25 points in the win. With the inexperience Iowa has down low, the Huskers would be well served to go right back to that formula and put the Hawkeyes into foul trouble.
Stick with the zone

Since losing Jorge Brian Diaz for the season to injury, Nebraska has had to use much more zone defense in order to better defend the low post in recent weeks. As it turns out, the switch has worked out relatively well for the Huskers. While Purdue was able to shoot right over NU's zone, No. 6 Michigan State had a lot of trouble offensively on Saturday, especially in the first half. The Huskers need to force Iowa to beat them with jump shots and continue to limit the number of touches teams get in the lane against them.
Do it for the seniors

For Richardson and fellow seniors Toney McCray, Bo Spencer and Caleb Walker, tonight will be the last time they'll ever suit up for a game as Huskers at the Devaney Center. While there might not be a whole lot left for the Huskers to play for at this point, they should find more than enough motivation to send the four seniors out on a high note with one final home victory. Especially for fifth-year seniors like Richardson and McCray, who have been through more hard times than any player on the roster, one last win would be a great sendoff.

Head coach Doc Sadler on what Nebraska's players can gain from their disappointing season:

"I think athletics are supposed to teach you life-long lessons. Again, this isn't going to be the worst thing that happens to them or me. I think if we handle it the way we've handled it and learn from it, then it's going to help us somewhere down the road."
Senior guard Brandon Richardson on the Huskers continuing to give their all:

"At the end of the day, you play for pride, you play for character, you play for the program. I'm proud of our guys sticking in there. Opportunity is a huge word, and it's not going to be easy by any means, but we can still take ownership and make the best out of the opportunity we have. You always play to the end. If you keep fighting, you never know what can happen."

Nebraska 64-62

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