Markowski Named Big Ten Player of the Week
Alexis Markowski earned the first Big Ten Player-of-the-Week award of her career after producing 22 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high-matching three blocks in the Nebraska women's basketball team's 66-39 win over Wyoming on Sunday.
The 6-3 center from Lincoln, who is on the Preseason Lisa Leslie Award Watch List, hit 9-of-14 shots from the field, including 4-of-5 three-pointers against the Cowgirls.
Markowski, who scored the game's first seven points to put Nebraska in the driver's seat from start to finish against Wyoming, was the 2022 Big Ten Freshman of the Year and an eight-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week last season.
Her performance against Wyoming came against 2022 Mountain West Freshman of the Year Allyson Fertig. Markowski limited the 6-4 Fertig to just four points and five rebounds on 2-of-7 shooting. Three of Fertig's five misses were blocked.
Markowski and the Huskers close non-conference play at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Wednesday by battling No. 20 Kansas. Tip-off between the Huskers and Jayhawks is set for 6 p.m. with tickets available now at Huskers.com.
Huskers Face Queens in Battle in the Vault
Pinnaclebankarena.com or at the Pinnacle Bank Arena box office on Monday and Tuesday, as Tuesday's game was not included in 2022-23 season-ticket packages. One ticket gets fans into all three games during the day.
The Nebraska-Queens matchup will tipoff at 6:30 p.m. or 30 minutes following the conclusion of the matchup between Drake and No. 15 Mississippi State, which will begin at 4 p.m. The day begins with a matchup featuring Concordia against Oklahoma Wesleyan at 1 p.m. The Nebraska-Queens game will be available at B1G+ and on the Huskers Radio Network, while the other two games will be exclusively available at Ballertv.com
Nebraska (6-6) heads into Tuesday night's game looking to bounce back following a 71-56 loss to Kansas State in Kansas City on Saturday night. NU trimmed a 19-point deficit to seven with under two minutes remaining, but the Wildcats went 9-of-10 from the line in the final 1:19 to hold on. NU shot just 32 percent and committed 18 turnovers which led to 19 Wildcat points.
|Game 13: vs. Queens (Battle in the Vault)|
|Date: Tues, Dec. 20 |
Tipoff: 6:30 p.m. (CT)
Arena: Pinnacle Bank Arena
Click here to purchase tickets
On the Air
Radio: Tuesday'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 Huskers.com and the Huskers app. The pregame show begins an hour before tipoff.
TV/Online: Tuesday's game will not be televised but is available on B1G+ with Jessica Coody and Erick Strickland on the call. To sign up, visit bigtenplus.com.
Battle in the Vault Schedule
*-30 minutes following game 2
Queens University comes into Tuesday's Battle in the Vault with a 9-2 record following an 78-75 win at East Tennessee on Dec. 14. A.J. McKee led five Royals in double figures with 16 points. Queens used a 42-31 advantage on the glass and had 23 second-chance points en route to its third straight win.
Following Tuesday's game, the Huskers will be off until resuming Big Ten play against Iowa on Dec. 29.
A longtime power in the Divison II ranks, Queens University is in its first year as a Division I member. The Royals, who will be eligible for the NCAA and NIT Tournaments in 2026-27, made the NCAA Division II Tournament in each of the past seven seasons, including a Final Four and two Elite Eights.
Head Coach Grant Leonard is in his first season in charge of the program after serving as an assistant in the program since 2013-14. Leonard was previously an assistant at Paine College, Flagler College, UT-Pan American and Washington College. He played collegiately at William Penn College in Iowa.
The Royals, who returned four starters from a team that went 30-4 last season, have enjoyed an impressive start, coming to Lincoln with a 9-2 record. Queens, which is in the Atlantic Sun Conference, opened the year with a one-point win over Marshall and brings a four-game win streak to Lincoln following a 78-75 win at East Tennessee State on Dec. 14.
Kenny Dye is a fifth-year starter for Queens and the 6-0 guard leads the team in scoring (17.6 ppg) and assists (4.2 apg) while shooting over 50 percent from the floor and nearly 60 percent from 3-point range. He has 126 career starts at the school and has totaled over 1,500 career points. Sophomore guard A.J. McKee is the other Royal averaging double figures as he chips in 12.7 points per game. In all, nine players average at least 5.0 points per game.
Series History: Tuesday's meeting will be the first between the two schools. NU is 8-0 all-time against current members of the Atlantic Sun, including an 88-74 win over Kennesaw State last December.
Numbers to Know
.660 - Derrick Walker's career field goal percentage at Nebraska. He is on track to set NU's career record in that category. Larry Cox (.625, 1974-76) and Dave Hoppen (.600, 1983-86) are the only two Huskers with career field goal percentages above .600.
2 - Queens joins Maine as the only first-time opponents on the 2022-23 Husker basketball schedule. Nebraska's last game against a team from North Carolina was 104-100 quadruple overtime loss to NC State last season.
2 - Nebraska's Sam Griesel is one of only two Big Ten players averaging at least 10.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game, joining Penn State's Jalen Pickett. Only six power conference players have reached those numbers during the 2022-23 season.
4- Through the first 12 games of the season, Nebraska has had six double-doubles by four players (Derrick Walker-3; Juwan Gary-1; Blaise Keita-1 and Sam Griesel-1).
11.1 - Nebraska is allowing its opponents only 11.1 free throw attempts per game. The Huskers have held six of their 12 opponents to 10 free throws or less, including five at Creighton and eight at Indiana. On the other hand, NU is getting to the line an average of 16.1 times per
15 - Nebraska's NET strength of schedule is 15th nationally and leads the Big Ten as of Dec. 18. The only power conference + WCC teams with harder schedules are Gonzaga (4) and Alabama (6). Michigan State (21) is the only other Big Ten program in the top 25 as of Dec. 18.
- Nebraska has faced one of the nation's toughest schedules so far in 2022-23. As of Dec. 18, Nebraska's NET strength of schedule was 15th nationally. The Huskers have played seven opponents in either Quad 1 or Quad 2 in the first 12 contests.
- As of Dec. 18, Nebraska and Kansas are the only two teams in the nation to play six games against Quad 1 opponents. Currently, 16 of the Huskers' remaining 19 games are against either Quad 1 (9) or Quad 2 (7) opponents.
- The Big Ten has a national-best nine teams in the top 50 of the NET as of Dec. 18, two more than the Big 12 and the SEC with six each. In all, 13 of the 14 Big Ten teams are in the top 100 of the NET.
- With his 13 points against Kansas State, Wilhelm Breidenbach became the seventh different Husker to lead NU in scoring this season. It was also the fourth time in 12 games that Nebraska's leading scorer came off the bench.
- Juwan Gary's 11 rebounds against Kansas State marked the ninth double-figure rebounding game by a Husker in 2022-23. Gary is now 12th in the Big Ten in rebounding at 7.0 per game entering Tuesday's game against Queens.
- Derrick Walker's double-double against Purdue was his third of the season and sixth by a Husker in 2022-23, and all six have been points/rebounds double-doubles. Last year, NU totaled 10 double-doubles in 32 games (6 pts./reb. and 4 pts./asst). Four Huskers (Juwan Gary, Blaise Keita, Sam Griesel and Walker) have double-doubles in the first 12 games.
- Derrick Walker was held to 1-of-5 shooting in Saturday's loss to Kansas State. It marked the first time in 12 games dating back to last February he was held to under 50 percent shooting in a game. It was also the second time he was held under 60 percent from the floor in that span.
- The Huskers went 16-of-22 from the line at Kansas State. Over the last three games, the Huskers are shooting 73.9 percent from the line (34-46).
- Nebraska recently finished up a streak of three straight games against top-15 opponents (No. 7 Creighton, No. 14 Indiana and No. 4 Purdue), the first time that has happened for the Huskers since the 2020-21 season.
- Nebraska saw its three-game win streak against ranked opponents snapped in a loss at No. 14 Indiana on Dec. 10. It matched the second-longest streak in school history and was made more impressive that all three games were on the road. It marked the first time in school history that Nebraska had a three-game road win streak vs. ranked teams.
- With more of an emphasis on positional size compared to previous Hoiberg-coached Husker teams, Nebraska has made significant improvement on the defensive end despite breaking in an entirely new starting lineup. The Huskers have held nine of their 12 opponents to 70 points or less and have more than 110 spots in adjusted defense in KenPom compared to last season. The Huskers have held eight of their 12 opponents to under 1.0 point per possession or less, including Purdue to a season-low 0.99 points per possession. NU held K-State to 1.0 point per possession on Saturday.
- The biggest strides Nebraska has made has been in rebounding. NU is currently eighth in the Big Ten in rebounding margin at +3.1 per game and has been out-rebounded just four times in its first 12 contests. Two of the teams which out-rebounded Nebraska rank in the top 20 nationally in that category (Purdue and St. John's). NU is 125th nationally in rebounding margin after ranking 344th last year. Queens is out-rebounding its opponents by an average of 10.9 rebounds per game.
- Nebraska has been balanced during the early portion of the season. Currently three Huskers are averaging double figures, led by Derrick Walker's 14.1 points per game, while three other players are averaging at least 9.3 points per game. Since 2000-01, NU has had only four seasons with four players averaging double figures (2019-20, 2018-19, 2013-14, 2005-06). The last time NU had five players finish the season averaging double figures was the 1993-94 season.
- Nebraska has done an excellent job of not fouling. The Huskers are eighth nationally in fewest fouls per game (13.0) as of Dec. 18. Only two opponents - Florida State and No. 4 Purdue - have gotten to the line more than Nebraska in the 12 contests.
- The wins by the Husker men (63-53 at No. 7 Creighton) and women (90-67 at No. 20 Maryland) on Dec. 7 marked the first time since March 9, 2014, that both programs beat ranked opponents on the same day.
Walker vs. the Bigs
Over a three-game stretch earlier this month, Nebraska's Derrick Walker battled three of the nation's top centers in Creighton's Ryan Kalkbrenner, Indiana's Trayce Jackson-Davis and Purdue's Zach Edey. Kalkbrenner was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 2022, while Jackson-Davis and Edey are on the short list for National Player of the Year over the first month of the year. In the three-game stretch, Walker matched the trio's performance as Nebraska squared off against a trio of teams in the top 15 of the Associated Press poll.
|Centers of Attention|
|Kalkbrenner (CREI) Edey (PUR), Jackson-Davis (IND)||11.0||.727||12.7||4.0|
Last Time Out
Wilhelm Breidenbach had a career-high 13 points off the bench while Nebraska's second-half comeback fell short in a 71-56 loss to Kansas State Saturday night in the T-Mobile Center. Breidenbach hit 5-of-9 shots from the field and grabbed five rebounds, as he and freshman Jamarques Lawrence keyed a strong bench effort that helped the Huskers rally after falling behind 59-40 with just under nine minutes remaining.
Lawrence, who finished with nine points after scoring just four points in his first eight games, started the run with a basket, as Nebraska ran off 10 straight points to pull within 59-50 with 3:43 remaining. NU's defense let the Huskers get back into the contest, as NU held the Wildcats without a basket for over a five-minute stretch.
The Huskers continued to chip away, as Lawrence's second 3-pointer of the night made it 62-56 with 1:19 remaining, but the Wildcats went 9-of-10 from the line down the stretch to hold off the Husker comeback.
Kansas State was led by Keyontae Johnson, who finished with a game-high 23 points and 11 rebounds to pace four Wildcats in double figures. The Wildcats forced 18 Husker turnovers and held NU to 32.1 percent shooting for the day.
Hometown Kid Making Good
Senior Sam Griesel has enjoyed quite the homecoming, averaging 10.1 points, 4.5 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game from his point guard spot in replacing Alonzo Verge Jr., who led the Big Ten in assists per game last season. Griesel spent the last four seasons at North Dakota State, earning All-Summit League honors in 2021 and 2022 before returning to Lincoln for his senior year. He ranks fifth in the Big Ten in assists per game, while also ranking 13th in steals.
- • The Huskers' first scholarship recruit from Lincoln since Jake Muhleisen in the early 2000s, Griesel keyed NU's win at No. 7 Creighton with 18 points - including 13 in the second half - a season-high 12 rebounds and seven assists.
- • Against Maine, Griesel scored a season-high 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds while also chipping in 18 points in the win over Omaha.
- • Griesel's 22-point effort against Maine in the season opener was one of the highest-scoring debuts by a Husker in the last 50 seasons.
Bandoumel Provides Steady Production for Big Red
Senior grad transfer Emmanuel Bandoumel has been a steadying force on both ends of the court for the Huskers this season. He enters the Queens game averaging 9.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.1 steals per game while also keying NU's defensive attack. Before joining the Husker program, the Quebec City, Quebec, native was a three-year starter at SMU, averaging double figures in each of the last two years.
- Bandoumel, who played off the ball for most of his time at SMU, has nearly a 1.3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio and matched his career best with six assists against Boston College on Nov. 30.
- He has reached double figures six times, which is one off the team lead. Bandoumel tallied 18 points and five assists in the loss against Memphis on Nov. 15 and had 13 points and five dimes against Oklahoma on Nov. 24.
- Bandoumel enjoyed his best game against Omaha with 18 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in NU's game-opening 11-0 run.
Walker Looks to Continue Efficient Shooting
Nebraska has been a much more efficient team since the return of Derrick Walker on Nov. 25. Walker, who missed NU's first five games, has been a force in the paint, averaging 14.1 points on 66 percent shooting, 8.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. The 6-foot-9 forward was NU's only returning starter entering 2021-22 and has posted three double-doubles in his first seven games.
- Walker saw his streak of eight straight double-figure games snapped with seven-point performance at Kansas State.
- His most recent double-double was a 14-point, 10-rebound effort against No. 4 Purdue on Dec. 10, his third double-double of the year and sixth of his career. He also helped limit Zach Edey to a season-low 11 points, snapping his streak of eight straight 20-point games.
- Walker is one of just four players nationally as of Dec. 18 averaging at least 15 points and eight rebounds per game while shooting 65 percent from the field in 2022-23.
- He keyed NU's win over No. 7 Creighton with a career-high 22 points on 11-of-16 shooting and eight rebounds against Ryan Kalkbrenner, the reigning Big East Defensive Player of the Year. Walker's efforts helped NU enjoy a 46-16 advantage in points in the paint.
- Walker posted his first career 20-point game in a win over Florida State on Nov. 27, with 20 points on 10-of-12 shooting and matched his career high with 13 rebounds.
- He made his 2022-23 debut against Memphis and had 15 points and 12 boards in a loss to the Tigers.
- Walker averaged 9.5 ppg and 6.0 rpg in 2022, breaking NU's single-season field goal percentage mark by shooting 68.3 percent from the field.
- Last season, Walker was the only Big Ten player and one of just 14 players in Division I to shoot at least 65 percent and average at least eight points per game.
Gary is Huskers' Junkyard Dog
Nebraska's improvement in defense and rebounding is directly attributable to the arrival of Alabama transfer Juwan Gary. The 6-foot-6 forward is utilized in a number of ways, even playing center when the Huskers go a to a small-ball lineup. On the season, he is averaging 9.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and a team-best 1.9 steals per game, ranking third in the Big Ten in that category.
- Gary already has six double-figure scoring efforts this season, after recording eight in 29 games last season, including a season-high 17 points against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and 16 against Oklahoma.
- He has picked up his rebounding in recent games, averaging 8.8 rebounds per game over NU's last four games since Dec. 4, including 11 rebounds at Kansas State. His 11 boards against K-State matched his career best.
- His three double-figure rebound games (Maine, St. John's and K-State) ties for sixth in the Big Ten.
- He nearly posted his second double-double of the year with 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting and nine rebounds in the win at No. 7 Creighton on Dec. 4.
- Gary has more steals (23) than in either of his two seasons at Alabama.
- He posted a double-double in his Husker debut with 14 points and 11 boards against Maine on Nov. 7
Tominaga Continues Strong Play
After a summer with the Japanese National Team, junior Keisei Tominaga continued his strong play this season. Tominaga, a 6-foot-2 guard, has been a spark off the bench, ranking second on the team in scoring at 10.9 points per game while averaging just over 20 minutes per contest.
- Tominaga leads the Huskers in both 3-pointers (20) and 3-point percentage (.392)
- He enjoyed one of his best efforts of the year, a 19-point game, including four 3-pointers, in an overtime loss to Purdue on Dec. 10
- Tominaga made his first start of the year at No. 14 Indiana on Dec. 7 and had 11 points, two rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes.
- He enjoyed the best performance of his career in NU's win over Boston College on Nov. 30. He tied his career high of 23 points on just eight field goal attempts (7-8 FG, 4-5 3PT; 5-5 FT) for his second career 20-point game. He had 17 of his 23 markers in the first half, including 11 straight NU points.
- Tominaga has reached double figures seven times this season, including a team-high 15 points at St. John's and a 19-point effort against Maine. In that game, he connected on 7-of-12 shots from the field, including a trio of 3-pointers, and added two rebounds and a blocked shot in 20 minutes.
- Of Tominaga's 14 double-figure games at Nebraska, 10 have come off the bench, including his other 23-point game against South Dakota last season.
- Over the summer, Tominaga was with the Japanese National Team, making his debut in the FIBA World Cup Asia qualifier in early July and then starred for Japan in the 2022 Asia Cup. In seven games with the Senior National Team, Tominaga averaged 15.9 points per game while shooting 39.3 percent from the 3-point line. His best performance came against Australia in the Asia Cup quarterfinals, when he poured in 33 points on 12-of-20 shooting, including 8-of-15 from 3-point range.
Wilcher Breaks Out
Sophomore C.J. Wilcher was one of the Big Ten's top scoring sixth men last year and has moved into the starting lineup in 2022-23. The 6-foot-5 guard is averaging 9.8 points per game. He is tied for the team lead with 20 3-pointers.
- Wilcher had a career-high 22-point effort at No. 14 Indiana on Dec. 7, scoring 17 second-half points to keep the Huskers in the game.
- He scored all 14 of his points in the second half in the win over Boston College on Nov. 30, including a quartet of 3-pointers.
- Wilcher was efficient in NU's win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff with 15 points and three assists on just nine shots. Wilcher was 3-of-3 from 3-point range, the second time this season he had at least three 3-pointers.
- He posted a then-career-high 21 points against Omaha on 8-of-12 shooting, including four 3-pointers. It marked the first 20-point game of his career.
- Last season, he closed the season playing some of his best basketball, shooting 60 percent from the field, including 50 percent from 3-point range, over NU's final five games. In Big Ten play last season, he shot a team-best 43.0 percent from beyond the arc.
Making Strides On Defense
Nebraska has been much improved on the defensive end this season, jumping over 100 spots in defensive efficiency despite facing five opponents who rank in the top 50 nationally in offensive efficiency as of Dec. 15.
- Nebraska has held eight of its 12 opponents to 1.0 point per possession or less this year.
- In the overtime loss to No. 4 Purdue on Dec. 10, Nebraska held the Boilermakers to a season-low 0.99 points per possession. Purdue came into the contest leading in the nation in offensive efficiency (118.0).
- In NU's win at No. 7 Creighton, the Huskers limited the Bluejays to 0.73 points per possession, the Huskers' best performance in a road game in over a decade.