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Huskers Look for Fifth Straight win Thursday Night

Photo Credit: NU Athletic Communications Photo Credit: NU Athletic Communications

Game 29: at Ohio State
Date:  Thursday, Feb. 29
Tipoff:  5:31 p.m. (central)
Location:  Columbus, Ohio
Arena:  Schottenstein Center

On the Air
Thursday's game will be carried on the Huskers Radio Network with Kent Pavelka and Jake Muhleisen on the call, including KLIN (1400 AM) in Lincoln, KXSP (590 AM) in Omaha and KRVN (880 AM) in Lexington and will also be available on and the Huskers app. The pregame show begins an hour before tipoff.

TV/Online: Thursday's game will be on FS1 with Chris Vosters and Robbie Hummel on the call. It will also be available online on the Fox Sports app.

The Nebraska men's basketball team looks to continue its late-season run on Thursday night, as the Huskers travel to Columbus, Ohio, for a matchup with the Ohio State Buckeyes. Tipoff at the Schottenstein Center is slated for 5:30 p.m. (central) with coverage on FS1 and the Huskers Radio Network.

Nebraska (20-8, 10-7 Big Ten) looks to extend a four-game win streak and make a push for the double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament. The Huskers got a career night from Juwan Gary and used a stifling defensive effort in a 73-55 win over Minnesota on Sunday. Gary finished with a career-high 22 points, including four 3-pointers, to pace four Huskers in double figures, as Brice Williams added 15 points and eight boards. The performance against the Golden Gophers capped a strong week for Gary, who averaged 18 points and seven rebounds in two Husker wins.

Defensively, Nebraska held Minnesota to a season-low 55 points on 33 percent shooting, marking the fourth straight opponent held to 70 or less. Over the month of February, the Huskers are allowing just 67.5 points per game and lead the country in adjusted defensive efficiency according to

The Huskers enter the week in fifth place with a 10-7 mark, a half game behind both Wisconsin and Northwestern, as the top four teams get double-byes in next month's Big Ten Tournament.

The Huskers will face a dangerous Ohio State team which has won two of its past three games since Jake Diebler took over on an interim basis. On Sunday, the Buckeyes stunned Michigan State, 60-57, on Dale Bonner's 3-pointer as time expired. Devin Royal led OSU with 14 points off the bench, as the Buckeyes held MSU to 40 percent shooting and enjoyed a 39-33 advantage on the glass.

About Ohio State
Under interim coach Jake Diebler, Ohio State is 16-12 on the season following Sunday's win over Michigan State. Diebler had been on the Buckeye coaching staff for five years, serving as associate head coach the past two seasons before he was promoted on Feb. 14.

OSU is keyed by a trio of sophomores who returned after playing significant roles in 2022-23. Bruce Thornton leads the Buckeye attack, as he is averaging 16.2 points and 4.2 assists per outing while posting a 3.7 assist-to-turnover ratio.  Roddy Gayle Jr. is averaging 13.7 ppg and 4.4 rebounds per game while Felix Okpara is at 6.1 ppg along with team highs in both rebounds per game (6.2 rpg) and blocked shots (2.3 bpg).  Minnesota transfer Jamison Battle has given the Buckeyes an elite shooting threat as he is averaging 14.2 ppg while shooting 44 percent from 3-point range. He did not play in Sunday's game due to an injury but is expected back for Thursday's game.

Series History: Ohio State leads the all-time series, 20-7, in a series that dates back to 1936. The Buckeyes are 16-5 against the Huskers since Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011-12, but Nebraska has won the last three matchups dating back to March 1, 2022. Thursday's game will be just the eighth time in 22 meetings that OSU has not been ranked at game time against the Huskers since Nebraska joined the Big Ten.

Last Meeting: Behind a career-high performance from Rienk Mast, Nebraska posted an 83-69 win over Ohio State on Jan. 23. Mast hit 13-of-17 shots from the field, including 6-of-8 behind the 3-point line en route to a career-high 34 point, 10-rebound, four-assist effort. Mast had 21 points in the second half on 9-of-10 shooting as his 34-point night topped his previous career high of 30 set in the 2023 MVC Tournament.

Nebraska shot nearly 50 percent from the field and hit 14 3-pointers, including four by C.J. Wilcher, who came off the bench and added 16 points and three assists. Brice Williams gave NU a trio of double-figure nights with 14 points and seven rebounds. Nebraska dished out 19 assists and had just six turnovers in the win.

Worth Noting
• Nebraska has already exceeded its win total from last season (16) and the 20 wins this season are the most by the Huskers since the 2018-19 season. Under Fred Hoiberg, NU has increased its win total in each of the past three years, the first time that has happened in the program since the mid-1960s (1963-64 to 1965-66).

• Nebraska picked up its 20th win of the season with the win over Minnesota on Feb. 25. It is the 14th 20-win season in program history. It also marked just the seventh time in school history that NU has won at least 20 games during the regular season (also 1919-20, 1965-66, 1977-78, 1990-91, 1992-93, 2017-18).

• Nebraska enters Thursday's game with a 20-8 record, which matches the Huskers' best 28-game mark since joining the Big Ten in the 2011-12 season (also 19-8 in 2017-18).  The last time NU had a better record after 28 games was a 23-5 mark in 1990-91.

• Nebraska is one of 23 teams nationally that ranks in the top 50 both offensive and defensive efficiency in KenPom as of Feb. 26. The Big Ten has four teams in the top 50 in both - Nebraska, Purdue, Michigan State and Wisconsin, as the Big Ten, Big 12 and Big East has four teams apiece.

• The Huskers are 17-1 inside Pinnacle Bank Arena this season, which matches the single-season record for home wins in a season (also 1982-83, 2007-08 and 2010-11). A win on Sunday against Rutgers would give NU its best home winning percentage since 1965-66 and a perfect conference home record for just the 10th time in school history and second time since World War II (also 1965-66 and 2017-18).  All of the other seasons with a perfect conference record were between 1908 and 1921.

• NU goes for its 11th Big Ten win of the season on Thursday, as NU has 13 seasons with at least 10 conference wins, including 2023-24. It is the first time Nebraska has finished .500 or better in Big Ten play for the first time since the 2017-18 season and third time since joining the conference in 2011-12.

•  The 2023-24 season marks just the fourth time in school history that both the Husker men and women have won 10-or-more conference games, as the Husker women are 11-6 heading into Sunday's regular-season finale at Illinois. The others took place in 2017-18 (Big Ten), 2013-14 (Big Ten) and 1997-98 (Big 12).

• Nebraska enters the Minnesota game averaging 77.1 points per game to rank fourth in the Big Ten in scoring offense as of Feb. 26. It is an increase of more than nine points per game from last year and NU's highest scoring average since 1995-96 (80.2 ppg). NU has climbed from 149th to 38th nationally in offensive efficiency in KenPom as of Feb. 26. NU's highest average since joining the Big Ten is 73.3 points per game in 2021-22.

• Nebraska has already broken several long losing streaks to teams this season. The Feb. 10 win over Michigan snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Wolverines. It marked the fifth streak of at least seven games snapped this season: Michigan State (11 games); Michigan (eight games); Kansas State (seven games); Indiana (seven games) and Northwestern (seven games).

•  Nebraska leads the Big Ten and ranks 26th nationally with 9.4 3-pointers per game as of Feb. 26. NU has 255 3-pointers this season, a total which is third on NU's single-season chart. The Huskers are just 15 3-pointers away from matching the school record set in 2018-19 (36 games).

• A few Huskers are approaching milestones heading into Thursday's game at Ohio State. Keisei Tominaga:  Has 955 career points and can make a big jump on NU's scoring chart this week...Needs 45 points to become the 31st player in school history to reach 1,000 points at Nebraska. C.J. Wilcher: Is eight points from 800 for his career and 750 points at Nebraska...Is 20 points away from cracking the top-60 scorers on NU's career list.  Josiah Allick: Is 10 points away from 1200 career points and 15 rebounds away from 750 of his career...Brice Williams: Is 10 rebounds away from 500 for his 39 points away from 1,200 for his career.

• With the win over No. 6 Wisconsin on Feb. 1, Nebraska has two top-10 wins for the first time since 2013-14 and the sixth time in school history (2023-24, 2013-14, 1993-94, 1991-92, 1990-91 and 1957-58).  The 1957-58 team was coached by Jerry Bush, the grandfather of current Husker Head Coach Fred Hoiberg.

•  The Huskers have been one of the most consistent teams in the Big Ten for the last year. NU is 26-11 over the last 37 games dating back to Feb. 1, 2023, which ranks second only to Purdue in the Big Ten in winning percentage and wins in that span.

• Nebraska enters Thursday's game ranked fourth in the Big Ten in free throw shooting at 76.0 percent.  It is on pace to be one of NU's highest season percentages in school history and the highest since the 2011-12 team set a school record with a .766 free throw percentage.  In Big Ten play, Nebraska is shooting 78.4 percent from the line as a team.

• While NU's offense garners much of the headlines, the Huskers' defense has made significant strides this season. The Huskers are sixth in scoring defense (65.9 ppg) and is holding opponents to 39.7 percent shooting to lead the Big Ten. NU has held eight straight foes to under 43 percent dating back to Jan. 27 and has jumped to 33rd nationally in defensive efficiency from 69th last season.

• The Huskers are 25-6 under Fred Hoiberg when scoring at least 80 points, including 20-3 over the last three seasons. All three losses have come in overtime (104-100 in 4OT at NC State on Dec. 1, 2021; 87-82 in OT at Rutgers on Jan. 17, 2024; 87-84 at Illinois on Feb. 4, 2024). NU had won its last 17 games when reaching the 80-point plateau before the OT loss at Rutgers.

• Nebraska's bench has provided a spark, averaging a conference-best 22.6 points per game as of Feb. 26. The Huskers' leading scorer has come from the bench eight times (Hoiberg-Lindenwood; Wilcher-five times; Gary-Stony Brook; Allick-Iowa), and NU has had 25 double-figure efforts from its bench in 2023-24.

Numbers to Know
1911-12 - Nebraska has beaten its last four conference opponents by 15 or more points, the first time that has happened since winning four straight Missouri Valley Conference games by at least 15 points in 1911-12.  

9.4 - NU leads the Big Ten with 9.4 3-pointers per game as of Feb. 26, an average which is on pace to challenge the single-season school record for 3-pointers per game (9.5/gm, 2001-02). The Huskers are 10-4 this season when hitting at least 10 3-pointers.

11.0 - Jamarques Lawrence is averaging 11.0 points per game on 51 percent shooting since moving to the bench on Feb. 7. He had 19 points, including 5-of-5 shooting from 3-point range at Indiana on Jan. 21 and had 11 points in the win over Minnesota on Feb. 25.

19 - Nebraska has won its 19 games dating back to last season when holding an opponent to 70 points or less. This season, NU is 15-0 following the win over Minnesota on Feb. 25.

.974 - Keisei Tominaga's free throw percentage in Big Ten play, as he is 37-of-38 from the foul line in conference play. Last year, Tominaga was a 78 percent free throw shooter in Big Ten action. 

9 - Nine members of the Husker men's basketball team were named to the NU Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll for the fall semester announced on Feb. 22. The group includes Josiah Allick, Henry Burt, Jeffrey Grace III, Sam Hoiberg, Rienk Mast, Eli Rice, Keisei Tominaga,  C.J. Wilcher and Brice Williams.  Mast was one of 72 Huskers across all sports with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

2 - Rienk Mast became only the second Husker in the last 25 years to post a 30-point, 10-rebound game with his performance against Ohio State on Jan. 24. He joined Aleks Maric, who accomplished the feat four times in his career from 2005 to 2008.

1.36 -Nebraska's assist-to-turnover ratio this season, which is on pace to be NU's best assist-to-turnover ratio since 1985-86 (1.64). 

26 - Nebraska has held 26 of 28 opponents under 50 percent shooting this season. Over the past two seasons, NU has held 53 of the last 60 opponents to under 50 percent shooting, including 25 opponents to 40 percent or below.

Last Time Out
Juwan Gary had 18 of his career-high 22 points in the second half, as Nebraska picked up its 20th win of the season with a 73-55 win over Minnesota on Feb. 25.

Gary hit 7-of-13 shots from the field, including a career-high four 3-pointers in posting his third career 20-point game for Nebraska, which held Minnesota to 31 percent shooting and a season-low 55 points.

Brice Williams had 15 points and eight rebounds, while Jamarques Lawrence and Rienk Mast added 11 and 10 markers, respectively. Nebraska has won its last four conference games by 15-or-more points, the first time that has happened for the Huskers since the 1911-12 season.

Leading 28-20 at the break, the Huskers opened the second half with a 15-6 run, as Gary, Williams and Mast had five points apiece as the Huskers built a 43-26 lead with just under 16 minutes remaining after Gary’s 3-pointer.  The Huskers kept extending the lead and pushed the lead to 20 at 50-30 after Gary’s second 3-pointer of the half and Nebraska kept a comfortable margin the rest of the way. Nebraska led by as much as 23 before cruising to an 18-point win.

Finding Balance
Nebraska has relied on its depth and a balanced attack with four players averaging double figures and three others averaging at least 6.6 points per contest.

• Nebraska does not have a player in the top 20 of the Big Ten in scoring (Keisei Tominaga, 21st) but have four players that average between 12.1 and 14.0 points per game.

• Nine different players reached double figures this season, and the Huskers have had seven different leading scorers.

• Five players have had 20+ points in a game this year, while both Rienk Mast and Keisei Tominaga have posted 30-point contests.

• Eight players are averaging at least 15 minutes per game while no Husker ranks in the top 25 of the Big Ten in minutes per game.

• NU has gotten at least one double-figure effort from its bench in 23 of 28 contests.

• The Huskers had a season-best six players in double figures in the win over North Dakota on Dec. 20 and four other games with five double-figure scorers.

• The Huskers have battled through injuries during the season, as only four players - Brice Williams, Jamarques Lawrence, Sam Hoiberg and C.J. Wilcher - have played in all 28 games this season.