Huskers Host MSU in Big Ten Home Opener on Sunday

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

Game 10: vs. Michigan State
Date: Sun., Dec. 10
Tipoff:  5:37 p.m.  
Arena: Pinnacle Bank Arena
Tickets: (Ticket Central)

On the Air
Radio: Sunday'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: Sunday's game will be on BTN with Cory Provus, Stephen Bardo and Andy Katz on the call. It will also be available online on the Fox Sports app.

The Nebraska men's basketball team returns home this Sunday evening, as the Huskers host Michigan State at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Tipoff for the Huskers' Big Ten home opener is set for 5:30 p.m., and tickets are available by visiting, calling 800-8-BIGRED during business hours (Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-5 p.m.) or at the PBA Ticket Office beginning Sunday at 4 p.m. Sunday's game will be televised on BTN and carried on the Husker Radio Network.

The Huskers (7-2, 0-1 Big Ten) look to bounce back following a 76-65 loss at Minnesota Wednesday evening. Nebraska put together one of its best halves of the season to take a 39-24 lead, as NU shot 59 percent in the first half and had a +9 rebounding edge. The script flipped in the second half, as NU shot just 29 percent from the floor and committed 12 of its season-high 18 turnovers after halftime to see the Golden Gophers rally back. 

Junior guard Brice Williams put together one of his best nights of the year, finishing with a team-high 18 points and six boards while matching career highs in both assists (four) and steals (three). A 6-foot-7 grad transfer from Charlotte, Williams is averaging 14.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game while posting a nearly 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. 

Jamarques Lawrence enjoyed one of his best shooting nights of the season, finishing with a career-high 16 points, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range. Lawrence is averaging 9.3 points per game over the last three games, while after averaging just 4.8 points per game in NU's first six contests. 

Michigan State (4-4, 0-1 Big Ten) comes off a 70-57 loss to No. 23 Wisconsin on Tuesday night. Tyson Walker had a team-high 22 points, while A.J. Hoggard had 14 points and seven assists, but MSU shot just 45 percent and was out-rebounded 36-22 against the Badgers. Walker is one of the Big Ten's top guards, averaging 20.7 points per game to rank third in the conference in scoring.

Numbers to Know
.863 - Nebraska went 12-of-15 from the line at Minnesota on Wednesday, continuing NU's success from the foul line. Over the last four games, Nebraska is shooting 86.3 percent (69-of-80) from the charity stripe. 

13.7- Nebraska leads the Big Ten and ranks 14th nationally in fewest fouls per game (13.7) entering this weekend's action.

8.2 - Despite its struggles from long range in the last two contests, NU ranks fifth in the Big Ten with 8.2 3-pointers per game as of Dec. 8.  NU has averaged more than 8.0 3-pointers/game twice in program history (2001-02 and 2020-21).

7- Nebraska has had seven runs of at least 10-0 in the first nine games of the season, including a 20-0 run against Oregon State and 17-0 against Rider.

1.46 - Nebraska's assist-to-turnover ratio this season, which is fourth in the Big Ten as of Dec. 8. NU's best assist-to-turnover ratio in the last decade is 1.32, set in the 2018-19 season. That season, NU had 9.96 turnovers per game, the lowest average since assists were tracked in 1978-79.

About Michigan State
Under Hall of Fame Coach Tom Izzo, the Spartans have been the flagship program in the Big Ten for nearly three decades. Izzo is in his 28th season running the Spartan program and has taken the Spartans to eight Final Fours and 25 straight NCAA Tournaments. The Spartans returned four starters from a team which won 21 games and reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2023. 

The Spartans come to Lincoln with a 4-4 record following a 70-57 loss to No. 23 Wisconsin on Tuesday. All four of the MSU's losses have come to teams in this week's AP Top 25, including a six-point loss to now No. 1 Arizona. 

The Spartans feature one of the nation's top backcourts in Tyson Walker and A.J. Hoggard, who combine for over 30 points per game. Walker leads MSU in scoring at 20.7 ppg, which ranks third in the Big Ten, while posting four 20-point games in 2022-23. Hoggard is averaging 10.1 ppg and is among the Big Ten leaders with 4.5 assists per game while posting a 2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio. Jaden Akins (9.6 ppg) and Malik Hall (8.9 rpg) both also grab at least five rebounds per game. MSU is holding opponents to 63.3 ppg on 37 percent shooting. 

Series History: Michigan State leads the all-time series, 23-9, in a series that dates back to February of 1920. The Huskers are 3-15 against Michigan State since joining the Big Ten, while the Spartans have won the last 11 meetings dating back to 2016. Since joining the Big Ten, NU has faced a ranked Spartan team in 11 of the 18 previous meetings. Nebraska's last win over Michigan State in Lincoln came in a 79-77 win at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Jan. 24, 2015.

Last Meeting: Keisei Tominaga totaled a team-high 20 points to lead four Huskers in double figures, but Michigan State erupted for 12 3-pointers in the second half to erase a 14-point deficit in an 80-67 win on Feb. 28.  Tominaga hit 7-of-10 shots, including four 3-pointers, while freshman Jamarques Lawrence added a career-high 15 points in a losing effort. Seniors Derrick Walker (13) and Sam Griesel (12) also finished in double figures, as Nebraska shot 51 percent from the field, but could not withstand Michigan State's sharp shooting in the second half. 
Nebraska built a 14-point lead in the opening minutes of the second half, but Michigan State opened the second stanza by hitting its first five 3-pointers to trim the lead to 48-45 after Malik Hall's 3-pointer with just under 15 minutes remaining. Nebraska would run off seven straight points to take a 55-45 lead with 14:01 left, but MSU would take control from there. The Spartans used a 15-1 run to regain the lead at 60-56. Joey Hauser led MSU with 20 points, including 6-of-11 from long distance, while Tyson Walker added 19 for the Spartans.

Last Time Out
Brice Williams had a team-high 18 points, but Nebraska went ice cold in the final 20 minutes, as Minnesota rallied for a 76-65 victory on Dec. 6. 
Williams had 17 of his 18 points in the opening 20 minutes, but Nebraska shot just 29.2 percent in the second half, while Minnesota shot 59 percent in the second half and overcame a 15-point halftime deficit by outscoring the Huskers, 52-26 after halftime.

Jamarques Lawrence had a career-high 16 points while Juwan Gary had 11 off the bench, but the Huskers committed 18 turnovers, nearly double their season average coming into the night, including 12 in the second half.  Joshua Ola-Joseph led five Golden Gophers (6-3, 1-1 Big Ten) in double figures with 15 points. 

Worth Noting 

  • Nebraska will look to regain its touch from 3-point range after struggling from long distance the past two games. NU has just seven 3-pointers in the last two contests after averaging 9.6 3-pointers per game during the first seven contests.
  • Nebraska opened the season with a 7-0 record before losing to No. 15 Creighton on Dec. 3. It marked just the fifth time in program history that Nebraska opened the season with seven straight wins.
  • Nebraska's 7-2 record is NU's best nine-game mark since also going 7-2 in the 2018-19 season. That team was also 7-1 before losing at Minnesota, where NU lost a double-figure halftime lead.  
  • One area where NU will look to improve is getting to the foul line. Over the first seven games, the Huskers averaged 25.9 free throw attempts per game, but is at just 14.5 over the last two contests. Wednesday's loss at Minnesota marked the first time this season where an opponent had more attempts from the line than the Huskers.
  • Nebraska has made an effort to get to the foul line, as the Huskers are fourth in the Big Ten in free throw attempts with 210, while opponents have gotten to the line just 137 times. The +73 differential ranks third among Big Ten teams heading into this weekend's action.
  • The Huskers are 13-5 over the last 18 games dating back to Feb. 1, 2023. A big reason for that is NU's offense, as NU has averaged 75.9 ppg on 47 percent shooting in that stretch.  Wednesday's game marked only the fourth time in the last 18 games where NU was held to under 70 points.
  • Nebraska is 20-4 under Hoiberg when scoring at least 80 points including 15-1 over the last three seasons. The only loss was a 104-100 quadruple overtime game at North Carolina State on Dec. 1, 2021. NU has won its last 13 games when reaching the 80-point plateau. 
  • Nebraska won its first seven games by 10 or more points. It was just the second time in over 100 years - the other was from Dec. 3-30, 1990 - that the Huskers won seven straight games by double figures.
  • Nebraska enters Sunday's game ranked fourth in the Big Ten in free throw shooting at 74.3 percent. While it is still early in the season, it is on pace to be one of NU's highest season percentages. NU has not shot over 74 percent from the foul line since the 2011-12 season where NU shot a school-record 76.6 percent.  Over the last four games, Nebraska is shooting 86.3 percent (69-of-80) from the charity stripe, including the two best totals in Hoiberg's five seasons.  NU's 19-of-20 effort against Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 26 was its best percentage (min. 20 att.) since going 20-of-21 (.952) against Minnesota on Nov. 26, 1995.
  • Nebraska had multiple 20-point scorers against Duquesne on Nov. 22 (Keisei Tominaga-23; Juwan-Gary 20) for the eighth time in Fred Hoiberg's five seasons.
  • Nebraska's bench has provided a spark, averaging 24.4 points per game in the first nine contests. The Huskers' leading scorer has come from the bench three times (Hoiberg-Lindenwood; Wilcher-Rider; Gary-Stony Brook) and NU has had eight double-figure efforts from its bench in 2023-24.  Juwan Gary's 20-point effort against Duquesne on Nov. 22 marked the seventh time under Fred Hoiberg that NU had a player score at least 20 points off the bench.

Finding Balance
Nebraska relied on its depth and balance early in the season. While the Huskers have four players averaging double figures, three others are between 6.0 and 6.8 ppg.

  • Nebraska has four players averaging double figures, which ties for the most in the Big Ten (also Iowa, Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin) entering this weekend's action.
  • Nebraska has had nine different players reach double figures and have six different leading scorers through the first nine games. No player has led NU in scoring more than twice.
  • No Husker averages more than 28 minutes per game, while nine Huskers are averaging double figures in minutes.
  • NU has gotten at least one double-figure effort from its bench in eight of nine contests (all but the Creighton game). The Huskers have gotten almost 32 percent of their scoring from the bench over the first nine contests. 

Tominaga Returns to All-Big Ten Form
Nebraska's lineup has been boosted by the return of fifth-year senior Keisei Tominaga, who missed NU's first two games with an ankle injury. He is second on the team in scoring at 13.9 points per game while shooting 47 percent from the field and 34 percent from 3-point range.

  • Tominaga looks to rebound after being held without a field goal in 24 minutes at Minnesota on Wednesday. It marked the first time in 42 games where he played at least 20 minutes without hitting at least one field goal. It was also his first game without a field goal since Nov. 10, 2022, when he missed his only shot in a win over Omaha. 
  • Prior to the loss at Minnesota, he was averaging 16.8 ppg on 58 percent shooting, including 44 percent from 3-point range over his previous five contests. 
  • He posted his 12th career 20-point game against No. 15 Creighton on Dec. 3, finishing with 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting. 
  • Tominaga has a season-high 23 points in NU's win over Duquesne on Nov. 18, including 9-of-10 from the foul line. 
  • He had a perfect shooting performance against Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 26, as he went 5-of-5 from the field, including 3-of-3 from 3-point range, and 4-of-4 from the foul line.   
  • Prior to Tominaga, the last player to have at least 15 points on a perfect shooting night was David Rivers at Michigan State on Jan. 13, 2013 (8-8 FG, 1-1 3Pt, 1-1 FT).  According to Sports Reference, only three power conference players have totaled at least 15 points on a perfect shooting night this season as of Dec. 8.

Power Conference Players with at Least 15 Points on Perfect Shooting









Olivier Nkamhoua


Youngstown State

Nov. 10





Keisei Tominaga


Cal State Fullerton

Nov. 26





Tristan Da Silva



Dec. 3





Tominaga was named to the preseason All-Big Ten team, becoming just the third Husker to receive the honor since Nebraska joined the conference in the 2011-12 season.  Last season, he averaged 13.1 points per game on 53 percent shooting, including 40 percent from 3-point range, while appearing in all 32 contests.  Tominaga led the Huskers in 3-pointers with 66 and was one of only six players nationally to average double figures and shoot 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 85 percent from the foul line. 

New Faces, New Roles
Nebraska made a big splash in the transfer portal, adding five players to the roster, and their impact is already being felt during the early portion of the season. The group of Josiah Allick (New Mexico), Jarron Coleman (Bradley), Rienk Mast (Bradley), Ahron Ulis (Iowa) and Brice Williams (Charlotte) combined for more than 4,300 points, 2,100 rebounds and 800 assists entering this year.

  • Mast is averaging 12.9 points per game while leading the Huskers in rebounding (9.2 rpg) and ranking second in assists (2.7 apg).  Mast currently ranks fifth in the Big Ten in rebounding and 24th in scoring.  The 6-foot-10 forward has been in double figures in a team-high seven contests, highlighted by a 20-point, 16-rebound effort against Florida A&M. He is also third in the Big Ten with three double-doubles this season and has 23 career double-doubles
  • Williams has started all nine contests and leads Nebraska in scoring at 14.0 points per game to rank 19th in the conference. Williams is third on the team in assists (2.6 apg) and fourth in rebounding (4.8) while shooting 46 percent from the field and 41 percent from 3-point range.  The 6-foot-7 guard has been in double figures six times this season, highlighted by a 25-point effort in the win against Oregon State on Nov. 17 and had 18 points, six rebounds and four assists at Minnesota on Wednesday.  Williams is 73 points away from 1,000 points for his career. 
  • Allick has been a presence inside, averaging 6.8 points per game and 5.6 rebounds per game, ranking 20th in the Big Ten in rebounding.  Allick has three double-figure efforts this season, including 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists vs. Duquesne.
  • Coleman has come off the bench in all nine contests and is fourth on the team in assists at 2.2 per game while posting a 1.8-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. 

Mast's Massive Night
Rienk Mast put together a strong performance in Nebraska's win against Florida A&M on Nov. 9. The 6-foot-10 forward had game highs of 20 points and 16 rebounds for his first double-double as a Husker.

  • He became the first Husker in the Big Ten era (2011-12 to present) to have a game with at least 20 points and 15 rebounds, and the first Husker to do so since All-Big 12 performer Aleks Maric in 2008. 
  • Since 1990, only six Huskers have had games with at least 20 points and 15 rebounds. That list includes Aleks Maric, Kimani Ffriend, Venson Hamilton, Mikki Moore and Eric Piatkowski. 
  • Mast’s 16 rebounds were the most by a Husker since Yvan Ouedraogo had 19 rebounds against Northwestern on March 1, 2020, and the second-highest rebound total in Hoiberg’s four-plus seasons at Nebraska.
  • Mast and Cal's Keonte Kennedy are the only two power conference players averaging 10.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game as of Dec. 8.

Improved Board Work
One area where Nebraska has made improvement is on the glass. The additions of Rienk Mast, Josiah Allick and Brice Williams along with the return of Juwan Gary have made the Huskers a solid rebounding team.

  • Nebraska has a +5.4 rebound margin through to rank sixth in the Big Ten. Last season the Huskers were 11th in rebound margin (-1.0).
  • NU had a positive rebound margin (+3.1) prior to Juwan Gary's season-ending injury last January. Gary was second on the team in rebounding (6.5 rpg) and 15th in the Big Ten in that category on Jan. 10. Over the final 16 games of the 2022-23 season, NU was outrebounded by 5.1 rebounds per game. 
  • Mast (MVC) and Allick (Mountain West) both ranked second in their respective conferences in 2022-23 in rebounding, while Williams was 15th in Conference USA. In addition, Mast led the MVC in rebounding during the 2021-22 season. 
  • NU out-rebounded four straight opponents by at least 10 boards from Nov. 9-18, the first time that happened since the first four games of the 2004-05 season.