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Buffs, 'Huskers Battle Round 2 Wednesday

Feb 17, 2009

CU vs. NEBRASKA... The Cornhuskers lead the all-time series 74-69 and 50-13 in Lincoln since the 1903. CU is 2-10 in Big 12 play in Lincoln and have lost their last four games there. CU last won at the Devaney Sports Center Jan. 14, 2004 (68-60). 


Wednesday, Feb. 18, 7:05 p.m. (MST.)

at Nebraska Cornhuskers (15-8, 5-5 Big 12 Conference)

Arena: Devaney Sports Center (13,595); Television: ESPNU, Announcers:  Mitch Holthus (p-b-p), Rich Zvosec (analyst).

Radio: KKZN 760, Announcers: Mark Johnson (p-b-p), Charles Johnson (analyst)



CU NATIONALLY (as of Feb. 16)... Cory Higgins ranks among the nation's elite players in four categories, while the CU team is ranked in two.


42nd     85.5 Free Throw %

58th      2.0 steals per game

78th      17.5 points per game

95th      50.0 Field Goal %


28th - FT Percentage (.741)

59th - FG Percentage (.465)


LOOK AT the ?huskers...  Nebraska is 12-3 at home and 3-2 in Big 12 play at home. Their two losses came against Oklahoma State (76-74, ot) and Kansas (68-62). NU is 1-1 since defeating CU back on Feb. 4 having defeated Texas (58-55) and lost at Missouri (70-47). The Cornhuskers have three of four conference games.


LAST MEETING (page 36)... Dwight Thorne II scored a game-high 21 points and Cory Higgins added 15, however Nebraska made 9-of-14 from the charity stripe in the final 1:39 of the game to hold on for a 55-53 win in Boulder. Cornhuskers got 12 points each from Steve Harley and Ryan Anderson.


narrow margin... CU has dropped eight single-digit losses this season, and six of their last seven in Big 12 play. Six of CU's nine Big 12 losses are by an average of 5.2 points. Last year, the Buffaloes dropped 10 games by single-digits (seven against Big 12 schools).


BUFF TIDBITS (team)... CU's six of nine Big 12 losses are by an average of 5.2 points ...The Buffaloes are off to their worst start in Big 12 play (1-9) ... CU has lost 26-straight Big 12 regular season games on the road. Last road win occurred Jan. 21, 2006 (at Stillwater over Oklahoma State, 80-78, ot) ... CU is number one in Big 12-only FT percentage (.762) and third in steals (7.8 per game) ... CU has made a 3-pointer in 219-straight games dating back to the 2001-02 season (seventh overall in the Big 12)


INDIVIDUAL TIDBITS... Cory Higgins and Dwight Thorne II have recorded scoring double-digits in the same game 17 times this season ... Higgins has netted double-figures 23 of 24 games and Thorne II 19 of 24 games ... 19-straight games the Buffaloes have used the same starting lineup (Tomlinson, Higgins, Dufault, Thorne II, Jackson-Wilson) - 21 times overall  ... Dufault, Higgins, Thorne II have started all 24 games ... Trey Eckloff is not the youngest scholarship MBB player in the Big 12 as stated earlier in the notes. CU freshman Ryan Kelley is. That means, CU has the two youngest scholarship student-athletes in the Big 12.


FT RECORD HOLDER... Cory Higgins reigns as the CU and the Big 12 free throw record holder with 45-straight made free throws over eight games. Since then, he rattled off another 23-straight over three games ending at Texas Tech. On the season, he's .857 (141-of-165, 42nd nationally as of Feb. 16).


BROADCAST... The Colorado men's basketball team can be heard live on KKZN AM 760. Mark Johnson and Charles Johnson call the action including the pre- and postgame. Live internet audio of all CU basketball games is available through Yahoo! Sports. Colorado's games will also be streamed live on through the BuffsTV subscription service.


CONFERENCE LEADERS...After 10 games, CU players are ranked among the elite in the conference.

Scoring       5th      Higgins      17.9 ppg.

FG %          5th      Thorne II           .490

                   7th      Higgins            .463

Rebounding 16th     Higgins              4.8

FT %          2nd      Higgins            .877

                   5th      Thorne II           .838

Steals          1st       Higgins             2.5

3-pt FG%     4th      Thorne II           .455

3-pt. FGM  12th      Thorne II            2.0

Def. Reb.   11th      Higgins              4.0 

                 12th      Dufault              3.8

Minutes      2nd      Higgins            38.0

                   5th      Thorne II           36.0


CU IN THE PRO WORLD... There is a number of CU basketball members with ties to the professional ranks. From head coach Jeff Bzdelik to the four student-athletes.

  Coach Bzdelik: Head Coach of the Denver Nuggets (2002-05);

  Casey Crawford: father, Steve played with the Boston Red Sox;

  Austin Dufault: cousin-in-law, Fred Hoiberg played with the Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Timberwolves. Currently the Assistant General Manager of the Minnesota Timberwolves.


40+MINUTES... Cory Higgins, Dwight Thorne

Nate Tomlinson and Austin Dufault are the only players to have played 40-plus minutes in a game this season. Higgins has done it five times this season, followed by once by Thorne II, Tomlinson and Dufault, all in overtime games.


35+MINUTE MEN... More impressively the same four players have recorded 35-plus minutes a number of times. Cory Higgins in 19 games; Dwight Thorne 13 games; Nate Tomlinson 11 times, and Austin Dufault five games.


FTs 5 MINUTES TO PLAY... Sophomore Cory Higgins is the team's most experienced from the free throw line with under five minutes to play (including OT) making 50-of-61 (.820). Here are totals for this season.

2008-09           2-5  Pct.    *0-2     Pct.

Matt Favaro        -       -    2-2     1.00

Cory Higgins 17-19  .895 11-12     .917

Ryan Kelley     1-2  .500    3-4     .750

Dwight Thorne II 4-4 1.000  7-11     .636

Nate Tomlinson 6-6 1.000  8-15     .533

Levi Knutson   4-4 1.000     1-2     .500

Casey Crawford 1-2 .500     1-2     .500

Toby Veal        1-2  .500     1-2     .500

J. Jackson-Wilson    4-5    .800 4-7           .571

Austin Dufault  6-7  .857     2-4     .500

Javon Coney       -       -     0-2     .000

Total                         43-50    .860 40-63             .635

 (*-includes overtime)


Work in progress... Although Coach Bzdelik and his team have had their ups and downs in his second year and with the tough conference season ahead, let's take a look at three of the school's all-time winningest coaches in football, men's and women's basketball in their second season.

   Football: Bill McCartney, 13 seasons (1982-1994), 93-55-5 (.624): 4-7 in second year.

  Men's BB: Sox Walseth, 20 seasons (1957-76), 261-245 (.516): 8-15 in second year.

  Women's BB: Ceal Barry, 22 seasons (1983-2005), 427-242 (.638), 6-22 in second year.


FALL 2008 SEMESTER... The team G.P.A. for the spring semester was 2.713 ranking as the second highest GPA for the men's basketball team since the Spring of 1999 (Spring 2001 was the highest at 2.74). The CU men had nine student-athletes with a 2.9 grade point average or higher. The team also has four student-athletes with a 3.0 or better G.P.A. (Trent Beckley, Austin Dufault, Trey Eckloff, Levi Knutson).


KELLEY UPDATE... Freshman guard Ryan Kelley has been cleared to practice (as of Feb. 5). He has not played in the last three games (Oklahoma, Iowa State, Texas). Although he did not play, Kelley is fast approaching a return to the lineup. He injured his left knee in a Jan. 22 practice. The MRI report on Wed., Jan. 28 determined Kelley had a minor ligament sprain and surgery is not required.


FG%... During non-conference play, the Buffs shot above 50 percent from the floor eight out of 14 games, going 6-2.  That is the most .500 shooting games since the 2000-01 season when the Buffs recorded eight games of .500 or better shooting. The last time CU recorded more than eight games of shooting .500 or better from the floor in non-conference play was the 1985-86 season when they went 8-2 in 10 games.  Ironically, the Buffs were also 8-6 after non-conference play in the 1985-86 season, Tom Miller's first as Colorado's head coach, unfortunately the Buffs finished the season on a 17-game losing streak going 0-15 in conference play (0-1 in the Big 8 Tournament).