Anderson helps to first win under Sadler

Lincoln—The Doc Sadler era at Nebraska began with a bang Monday evening, as the Huskers opened their 111th season of men's basketball with an exciting 74-72 exhibition win over visiting Nebraska-Kearney at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. True freshman Ryan Anderson drilled the winning jumper from behind the arc with only 1.8 seconds remaining to give Sadler a win in his first game at NU.

Anderson finished the game with nine points on only 3-of-10 shooting, but it was a pair of clutch plays by the 6-4, 195-pound freshman that stood out in his first start with the Huskers.


Facing a 69-67 deficit with under one minute remaining, UNK freshman guard Jeff Martin nailed his third 3-pointer of the game to put the Lopers up by one. Nebraska freshman guard Sek Henry then missed both ends of a two-shot free throw trip on the Huskers' ensuing possession, but senior point guard Charles Richardson Jr. made a critical steal with 29 seconds left and Anderson made a layup in the paint to put NU back on top by one, 71-70.


The Lopers were not finished, though, as senior guard James Lane drilled a jumper on UNK's final scoring possession with only 12 seconds left on the clock to help regain a one-point advantage. Anderson then followed with his game-winning shot after Richardson ran down an offensive rebound and dished to the Seattle, Wash., native on the left wing.


Despite Henry's two misses from the line in the final minute, the Los Angeles, Calif., native also experienced a fantastic debut for the Huskers, leading the squad with 21 points on 6-of-13 shooting. Senior guard Marcus Perry chipped in 17 points, including five 3-pointers, while sophomore guard Jamel White and freshmen Jay-R Strowbridge each added seven. As a squad, the Huskers combined to hit 12 treys.


Richardson and Anderson led Nebraska's rebounding efforts with six boards apiece.


Senior forward Dusty Jura was the driving force behind the Lopers' upset bid with 22 points and nine rebounds. Jura did most of his damage from the free-throw line, as he connected on 12-of-18 attempts. Lane added 13 points for UNK.


Facing a 36-30 deficit at the half, the Lopers started the second period with a strong run to tie the game at 40-40 with just under 16 minutes remaining. Jura converted a pair of layups while posted down low, in addition to a free throw, and following a pair of Strowbridge free throws for Nebraska, freshman guard Jeff Martin drilled one of UNK's nine 3-pointers to bring the score even.


But the Huskers quickly answered with an 8-0 run. Strowbridge began the charge by nailing his first trey on NU's following possession. Redshirt freshman forward Chris Balham then blocked Jura, and Anderson hit a 10-footer from the baseline before Perry pushed the lead to eight with his fifth 3-pointer of the game to bring the score to 48-40.


The Lopers would cut back the deficit and eventually build a three-point advantage. The lead bounced back-and-forth between the two squads until the game's closing seconds.


Nebraska finished the game shooting only 37.7 percent from the field, but a fierce defensive effort, particularly in the first half, helped the Huskers outscore UNK by a 29-15 margin in points off turnovers.


Both teams struggled from the floor to open the game, but the Lopers slowly built a 7-0 lead in part due to poor Husker shooting. Nebraska began the game 0-for-6 from the field before Henry ended the drought with a dunk after splitting two UNK defenders on a drive to the basket four and one-half minutes into the game.


Despite Henry's emphatic slam, Nebraska's offensive struggles continued until the 12-minute mark, when it turned hot from behind the arc to claim its initial lead. Following a pair of foul shots by freshman forward Kris Douse, Perry drilled a wide-open 3-pointer to cut the lead to two at 9-7. White then drew a charge before Perry hit his second trey to give NU its first lead, 10-9.


Over the final 11-plus minutes of the first half, the Huskers nailed 7-of-10 attempts from behind the arc to build a six-point lead at the break after missing each of their first five attempts from behind the arc. Nebraska relied almost exclusively on the 3-pointer in its comeback, attempting only 10 shots from inside the arc, and making three, in the first half. They also converted 9-of-12 foul shots in the period.


Nebraska returns to the court for its second of two exhibition games to start the 2006-07season on Saturday against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.





Nebraska Postgame Notes vs. Nebraska-Kearney
Nov. 6, 2006

• Nebraska improved to 42-5 in the exhibition season all-time and has won 12 straight since 2000.

• Nebraska and Nebraska-Kearney met for the third time in the series and the third time exhibition play. Nebraska leads the series 3-0 as the teams also met in 2004 when NU won 81-74 and 2001 when the Huskers won 58-55.

• The game marked the first for the Huskers with Coach Doc Sadler on the bench. Sadler, who took over the program in August, owns a 48-18 record at the Division I level entering 2006-07 and is 168-57 overall in seven years as a head coach.

• Senior guard Marcus Perry finished with 17 points on the night, one of two Huskers in double figures. Last year, Perry scored in double figures just twice including a career-high of 13 against North Carolina A&T.

• Five players connected from long distance as the Huskers hit 12-of-28 from 3-point range as a team. Perry led the way as he hit 5-of-10on the night. Sek Henry also hit a pair of shots from 3-point range while Charles Richadarson, Jamel White, Jay-R Strowbridge, Mike Smith and Ryan Anderson each hit one.

• Anderson's 3-pointer was the game winner with 1.9 seconds left. Before he had connected on just 2-of-9 shots from the floor. Overall, he had five of his nine points on the game in the last 30 seconds.

• UNK 7-0 run to open game until Sek Henry left-handed dunk in the lane with just over 15 minutes remaining in the half. first lead 10-9, at 10:19 in first half. Henry finished with a team-high 21 points, including a team-high 12 points in the first half.

• Nebraska opened the game with two true freshmen in the lineup, including G Sek Henry and G Ryan Anderson. Also making their debut in a Husker uniform were G Mike Smith, F Kris Douse, F Chris Balham and F Ben Nelson.

• Nelson is a walk-on who was one of three cleared to play Monday afternoon along with Glenn White and Andrew Wicklund.

• Senior Charles Richardson Jr. had just five points but led the team with seven assists, four steals and six rebounds, including the final board to set up the game-winning shot.

Head Coach Doc Sadler
Opening statement

"I'm happy we won, but I felt like Kearney was the more aggressive team. I think it was an awfully big game for them, and it was for us as well. I saw an awful lot of guys compete out there. We had three freshmen out there at the end make plays. Defensively, I felt we were on the defensive instead of being the agressor. That's something we've got to change. Offensively, you saw a very little bit of what we want to do. Give Kearney a lot of credit, they played and hard and deserved to win as much as we did. They're disappointed in the loss and we're excited with the win."

On his first game
"We wanted to make sure the first game was one we would always remember. I'm the luckiest guy in the world to have the opportunity to coach at Nebraska. I was excited and I was nervous but in the 30th game this season I'll be excited and nervous. This one we'll definitely remember."

On playing without a full squad
"Defensively, I'm more concerned than offensively. (Aleks Maric) can do a lot offensively, but we really miss him defensively. I though the best player on the floor was (UNK's Dusty) Jura. We couldn't guard him. We missed everybody. Ryan Anderson's stat-wise didn't play well, but he competed every possession and made some shots."

On the slow start offensively
"They were all good shots (that he missed earlier in the game). I didn't know if we were ever going to score (early). As long as they play hard on the other end of the floor (I'm happy)."

On Sek Henry
"He was pretty aggressive, especially for a freshman. Defensively is where we're going to be noted for. But I think he was probably the most aggressive player we had (offensively). He has to make his free throws though, and he'll do that. For as aggressive as he was, to only have on turnover was pretty impressive."

On what he learned from the first game
"(We have) a lot of things we can work on. I think these guys really like each other and they work hard. If they do those things, they're going to win some ball games.

Freshman guard Sek Henry
On it being a close game
"Kearney is a good team. This was a new experience for me, playing in front of a big crowd (too). It was fun and I respect that team. They were good."

On having a young team on the floor at the end
"That gave us good confidence. (Doc) believes in us enough to put us on the floor in the last three minutes and he trusts us. That tells me we could be around here for a long time playing here."

On if the exhibition win helps
"That helps everyone's confidence. It always helps, no matter whether you win by 20 or by two. It's good to get a win."

Freshman guard Ryan Anderson
On doing whatever it takes to get on the court:
"I'm going to do whatever Doc wants me to do. If he wants me to dive on the floor, I'll dive on the floor. If he doesn't want me to shoot it, then I won't shoot it. I'm going to do whatever he asks me to do so I can get on the court."

On gaining confidence from hitting the final two shots:
"It was just more of a good feeling. Hopefully it gives the fans a good feeling too. We're a young team, and hopefully it can make the fans keep coming back to our games and keep supporting us.

On being nervous before the game:
"No, we weren't too nervous. Have you seen any of our practices? After going through our practices, there's not much to be scared of. We're more scared of Doc, we need to play hard for him."

Nebraska-Kearney Coach Tom Kropp Postgame Quotes
Nov. 6, 2006

Opening statement
"That was actually a pretty good basketball game. It kind of went back and forth. We were down six at half but our kids gave it all they had and came back and got ourselves up by four or five. They (Nebraska) just made one more play than we did. That's basically what it amounted to. We're really proud of them."

On Nebraska playing a quick lineup
"I tell them (our players) that the higher the level you go, the more important that level becomes. It's even more important, the professional level. It was definitely very evident tonight that they had some quicker perimeter players than we did but our kids battled and battled and we made it pretty close."

On outrebounding Nebraska
"To be honest, Nebraska is pretty well nicked up. They lost their big post man (Aleks Maric) to appendicitis two or three days ago, so you have to give them a lot of credit. They came in here pretty wounded and they battled and it ended up being a great game."

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