Coming off a 79-56 loss at St. John’s on Thursday night, the Nebraska men’s basketball team (2-1) returns to Pinnacle Bank Arena Sunday afternoon to host the North Dakota Fighting Hawks (2-1). Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.
After winning the Big Sky Tournament Championship and making an appearance to the NCAA tournament, the Fighting Hawks return two starters and six letter-winners, including junior guard Gino Crandell who is 15th in the country in scoring at 27.1 ppg. In the season opener, Crandell exploded for a nation-best 41 points. IN UND’s first three games, Crandell is shooting 64 percent from the field and 65 percent from 3.
To begin the season, North Dakota traveled to Hawaii to play in a three-game series where they defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff (80-71) and Troy (83-80) but fell 81-78 to Hawaii.
North Dakota is led by 12th-year head coach Brian Jones, who earned Big Sky Coach of the Year and NABC District 6 Coach of the Year last season.
The Huskers look to bounce back after a tough loss Thursday night to St. John’s. In its first loss, Nebraska shot 28.1 percent from the field and was just 6-for-26 from beyond the arc. The Huskers also turned the ball over 16 times (11 of which were in the first half) and were out-scored in the paint 44-16.
The Huskers are led by junior James Palmer Jr., who is averaging 14.3 ppg and 4.3 rpg coming into Sunday. Junior Glynn Watson Jr.; coming off a five-point, 1-for-9 performance against St. John’s, is averaging 13.7 ppg, after averaging 18.0 ppg coming into Thursday’s game against St. John’s.
Senior captain Evan Taylor is averaging 11 ppg, while averaging eight free throw attempts per game. Sophomore Isaiah Roby is the final Husker to average a double-digit point total, totaling 10 ppg and a team-high 8.7 rebounds per game off the bench. Roby has earned new career-highs in rebounds (13) and blocks (6) and had his first double-double in NU’s season opener.
Former five-star recruit and Georgetown transfer, Isaac Copeland, leads the team in steals (1.3) and is second on the team in rebounds (6.7) and blocks (2.3). Along with Roby, Copeland is in the top five of the Big Ten in blocks. While averaging just 7 ppg on 32 percent shooting (0-for-8 from 3), the junior has led the team in rebounds and blocks in both of the Huskers’ last two games.
Nebraska is 2-1 all-time against North Dakota. The teams’ fourth matchup will tip-off at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon in Lincoln, and will be available to watch via BTN, BTN2go, Fox Sports Go, or can be listened to live via the IMG Huskers Sports Network.
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