Nebraska (3-1) vs. UAB (3-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 22, 12 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: TD Arena (5,100) -- Charleston, South Carolina. Television: ESPN U or ESPN3.com. Home Record: Nebraska 3-0, UAB 3-0. Away Record: Nebraska 0-0, UAB 0-0. Neutral Record: Nebraska 0-1, UAB 0-1. Conference Record: Nebraska 0-0, UAB 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 2-2.
GAME NOTES: The Charleston Classic continues on Friday afternoon with the consolation round, as the Nebraska Cornhuskers take on the UAB Blazers at TD Arena.
The winner of this contest will take on either Georgia or Temple in the fifth- place game on Sunday, while the losers square off in the seventh-place bout.
The all-time series between these two programs is tied at 2-2, with UAB winning the latest matchup in December of 2006, 73-72.
Nebraska's season got off to a flying start with three straight home wins against Florida Gulf Coast (79-55), Western Illinois (62-47) and South Carolina State (83-57), but it slipped up in the opening round versus Massachusetts with a 96-90 setback. The Cornhuskers trailed the Minutemen by as many as 13 points with under nine minutes to play, and while they were able to cut the deficit to three in the final minute following a Tai Webster layup, they could not complete the comeback. Terran Petteway connected on just 7- of-19 from the floor but managed to make up for it with a spectacular showing at the free-throw line (11-of-12) on his way to career-high 28 points. Webster, David Rivers and Leslee Smith all tallied 12 points, while Shavon Shields went for 10 points and six rebounds.
UAB had been off to a perfect 3-0 start to the season before its opening-round matchup with nationally-ranked New Mexico, where it dropped a heartbreaker in double-overtime, 97-94. After finding themselves down by double digits in the second half, the Blazers fought back and seemed to have the game in hand, up by six with under a minute remaining, but it allowed the Lobos to stay in the game by committing a few senseless fouls down the stretch, ultimately leading to Kendall Williams' game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer of regulation. It was deja' vu in the first overtime, as they coughed up a lead on a last-second 3- pointer before finally being outlasted in the second extra session. Chad Frazier netted a career-high 34 points in the setback but also committed eight turnovers. Rod Rucker (18 points, 20 rebounds, seven assists) had a monster performance as well, while Robert Williams came off the bench to tally 15 points and nine boards.
The Cornhuskers gave up way more points than they are used to, as they allow just 63.8 points per game while pouring in 78.5 per contest themselves. They have also been strong in the takeaway battle, boasting a +6.8 turnover margin. With Petteway's performance in the opening round, he now owns the team lead in scoring with 15.5 points per game, with Shavon Shields (15.3 ppg) right on his tail. Both Deverell Biggs (13.0 ppg) and Ray Gallegos (10.0 ppg) missed the first two games of the season and have brought more depth to the bench. Webster (10.5 ppg) gives Nebraska five double-digit scorers but he shoots just 37.9 percent from the floor.
The Blazers have had very little problem lighting up the scoreboard this season, as they net 82 points per game, although their 3-point field goal percentage (.317) has plenty of room to improve. They are able to gain extra possessions due to their prowess on the glass, where they own a +16.5 rebounding advantage. Frazier's point output on Thursday nearly matched his three-game total coming in, and he now averages 17.5 points per game. The forward trio of C.J. Washington (17.0 ppg, 8.5 rpg), Rucker (13.3 ppg, 11.3 rpg) and Fahro Alihodzic (10.0 ppg, 8.8 rpg) give UAB an advantage in the frontcourt more often than not.
Despite its multiple collapses against New Mexico, UAB looked impressive for large stretches of its opening-round matchup, and if it can get over its heartbreak quickly, its sturdy frontcourt should have the advantage over a smaller Nebraska lineup.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UAB 75, Nebraska 71
11/22 10:32:21 ET