GAME NOTES: Enjoying their longest win streak of the season, the Nebraska Cornhuskers try to hold down the fort this afternoon against Big Ten Conference foe Purdue at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Through the first month of the 2013-14 campaign, the Huskers produced a pair of three-game win streaks, but now the team has stretched the current run to four, and has won five of the last six overall, thanks to an 80-67 victory versus Penn State at home earlier this week. Nebraska is now a game over .500 in conference play (7-6), and has won all but one of six home league dates.
As for the Boilermakers, they've alternated wins and loses through the first three weeks of February, the most recent outing on Thursday night resulting in a 94-79 setback versus 13th-ranked Michigan State. With the loss, just the third in 15 homes games this season, Purdue fell to 5-8 in conference.
Purdue leads the all-time series between these two programs by a 10-3 margin, thanks in part to a 70-64 win at home earlier this season.
The Purdue defense sat back against Michigan State and allowed the Spartans to knock down a school-record 17 3-pointers, on 32 attempts, which was more than enough to send the Boilermakers back to the loss column. Any other time Purdue's 7-of-14 effort out on the perimeter would have been a very strong effort, but not against MSU, even as Kendall Stephens finished 4-of-5 on the outside for 19 points off the bench. Ronnie Johnson added 17 points and Rapheal Davis 13 off the bench in the setback at home.
A starter in just 10 games this season, Kendall has shown signs of life in the last few weeks for the Boilermakers by leading the team in scoring in two of the last three outings. but still he is generating only 7.9 ppg. Ahead of him on that list are Terone and Ronnie Johnson with 11.9 and 11.0 ppg, respectively, followed by A.J. Hammons and his 10.5 ppg. Hammons has done well to give Purdue some punch in the paint, averaging 7.2 rpg and blocking 74 shots, but there is still something to be said about his mere 14 assists and 64 turnovers.
Terran Petteway scored a game-high 26 points as the Nebraska Cornhuskers defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions by double figures in a Big Ten Conference clash at Pinnacle Bank Arena three nights ago. Shavon Shields pitched in with 13 points for the Huskers, followed by Walter Pitchford and Ray Gallegos with 11 points apiece, and Tai Webster with 10 and five rebounds. Nebraska scored the first points of the night and never looked back, converting all but two of 23 chances at the free-throw line in the first half. For the game the Huskers, who logged a mere five assists, outscored PSU at the free-throw line by a 37-17 margin.
Playing close to 32 minutes per game and having started all 25 outings for the Huskers, it only makes sense that Petteway is at the top of the scoring list at the moment with his 18.0 ppg, followed by the only other full-time starter in Shields with 11.8 ppg. The pair combines for 10.5 rpg, but sometimes that physical play gets them involved in foul trouble and seated on the bench when they could be helping out on the hardwood.
The Cornhuskers may not be much of a 3-point shooting team right now, but if they can get the same quality looks from long range that Michigan State did a few nights ago, Purdue might be in for another rough outing today.
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