February 4, 2009

Huskers hope to use more players, more often

For Nebraska head coach Doc Sadler, the best part about his team's 82-69 win over Texas Tech wasn't just the fact that it snapped a three-game losing streak and got the Huskers just their second win in their past six games.


With a total of 10 players seeing playing time and nine of which playing 11 minutes or more, NU's win on Saturday was almost the definition of a total team victory.




PREGAME NOTES


Tip: 9:37 p.m. CST

Where: Coors Events Center (11,064)

Head Coach: Doc Sadler 3rd yr (50-34 overall)

Radio: Husker Sports Radio Network stations (Play-by-play: Kent Pavelka. Color: Matt Davison.)


TV: Fox Sports Midwest (Play-by-play: Greg Sharpe. Color: Eric Piatkowski.)

Series: Nebraska leads 74-68






In a move to help keep his regular starters fresher down the stretch late in the second half, Sadler decided to go to his bench early and often against the Red Raiders. In fact, all 10 Huskers that played in the game saw the floor within the first 10 minutes of the fist half,


As the Huskers hit the road again tonight against Colorado at 9:30 p.m., don't be surprised if they come in with the same approach as use as many players as possible to wear the Buffaloes down early and try to control the game in the second half.


"We've got to play more guys," Sadler said. "We're going to press, and I've kind of gotten away from the press a little bit, but we've got to press, and we've got to play more people and maybe be fresher down the stretch."


Not only did Nebraska's bench help spell its starters from essentially the beginning of the game, it also carried its own weight in the box score. The five players that came off the bench on Saturday - Brandon Richardson, Ryan Anderson, Paul Velander, Toney McCray and Cole Salomon - combined for 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field.






Colorado (9-11, 1-5 Big 12)

9:37 p.m. CST


Nebraska (13-7, 3-4 Big 12)

Fox Sports Midwest






























PROJECTED STARTERS



Nebraska 13-7




Pos

#

Name

Yr

Pts/reb

G

5

Sek Henry (6-3, 200)

Jr

9.1/3.2

G

4

Steve Harley (5-11, 180)

Sr

12.0/3.4

G

11

Ade Dagunduro (6-5, 200)

Sr

11.4/3.7

G

24

Cookie Miller (5-7, 165)

Jr

7.2/2.3

F

32

Chris Balham (6-8, 235)

Jr

2.2/2.3





Colorado 9-11




Pos

#

Name

Yr

Pts/reb

G

12

Dwight Thorne II (6-2, 185)

Jr

13.0/3.4

G

11

Cory Higgins (6-5, 185)

So

18.5/5.9

G

1

Nate Tomlinson (6-2, 180)

Fr

8.1/2.8

F

31

J. Jackson-Wilson (6-6, 230)

Sr

5.8/4.0

F

33

Austin Dufault (6-8, 210)

Fr

8.9/3.9






Richardson had the biggest impact off the bench, as the redshirt freshman guard finished with 11 points and shot 4-of-5 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range.


As the Huskers prepare to take on Colorado, utilizing the bench like they did on Saturday could prove equally as effective against the Buffaloes. Along with its starting five, CU has been pretty much seven-deep this season, with Casey Crawford and Levi Knutson serving as the primary contributors off the bench, both averaging roughly 13 minutes a game.


Forward Trey Eckloff (11.1 minutes per game) has also played a role off the bench, but after him Colorado's bench experience his sparse to say the least.


If Nebraska can get the kind of production it got from its non-starters on Saturday, there's no reason it can't rebound from its previous losing streak with a brand new winning streak.


"I thought all the guys that got in the game (on Saturday), whether it be for just a couple of minutes or 29 minutes, I thought everybody was productive in the game," Sadler said. "Anytime you get a guy off the bench, and it looks like we got close to 20 points off the bench, anytime you can do that I think that really helps your team."


WHAT TO LOOK FOR:


While the Huskers are undoubtedly riding high following Saturday's win, they better not underestimate the importance of tonight's showdown with Colorado. With win, NU can get back to .500 in the in Big 12 Conference and put together two straight wins for the first time in more than three weeks.


However, trips to Boulder haven't been all that pleasant for Nebraska in recent years. In fact, the Huskers haven't won there since 2004, and Sadler is 0-2 on the road against the Buffaloes.


WHO'S HOT FOR THE HUSKERS


After being held out of the first four Big 12 games with a shoulder injury, Richardson has steadily living up to high expectations Sadler had for him coming into the year. Highlighted by his 11 points and three 3-pointers against Texas Tech, Richardson has contributed solid minutes and timely shots off the bench for the Huskers in recent weeks.


With Sadler's new approach to play more players more often, no player should benefit more than Richardson, who has emerged as the No. 1 guard off the bench for the Huskers.


WHO'S HOT FOR THE BUFFALOES


There's no question who Colorado's offensive leader has been this season. Sophomore guard Cory Higgins is currently averaging 17.5 points per game, ranks among the nation's leaders in free throw percentage (85.4 percent).


He also leads his team in rebounding (5.9 rpg), assists (59) and steals (44), and has hit 49.8 percent from the floor and 35.7 percent from 3-point range this season.


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