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NU men's hoops notes: McGowens the playmaker; Mr. Reliable; and a schedule update

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South Dakota vs. Nebraska, 11.27

Nebraska's Bryce McGowens (5) grabs a loose ball against South Dakota in the first half Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

It probably speaks to the level of talent that Bryce McGowens possesses that he can put together the stat line he did Saturday and still not be the top story from Nebraska's 83-70 win over South Dakota.

The five-star freshman finished with 22 points, eight rebounds, four assists, a steal and a blocked shot against the Coyotes, and largely made it look like a routine afternoon at the office.

The increased playmaking role has come both as McGowens has grown more comfortable in the college game and after his older brother Trey went down with a broken foot nearly two weeks ago against Creighton.

Since that game, the younger McGowens is averaging 16 points per game on 49% shooting while going 25-for-28 at the free-throw line. He's pulling down eight rebounds per game, and has 15 of his 16 assists on the season over Nebraska's last four contests while playing 27, 31, 31, and 33 minutes.

"Having everybody else around me that can make shots, everybody can do that a lot on this team," McGowens said of taking on more of a playmaking role. "So I feel comfortable knowing that the next player is going to make a play out of the play I made. I'm feeling real comfortable."

Mr. Reliable: Derrick Walker quietly went about his business once again Saturday, going 6-for-7 from the field to score 13 points while pulling down five rebounds.

The Nebraska junior forward made his first shot against South Dakota, giving him 15 consecutive made field goals dating to Nov. 21. That tied the program record set by Ade Dagunduro in 2008.

Walker has four-straight double-figure scoring games. He had three such games in his career prior to this season. He's given the Huskers a reliable option when NU needs a basket, including a post move and a score to open the second half Saturday.

"Derrick gets us baskets when we need them. And he's doing a great job rolling to the rim," NU coach Fred Hoiberg said. "So he's just a big presence for us out there when we need baskets. And when we're not hitting shots, we need somebody to score it at the rim, and Derrick's been doing that for us."

Over his past four games, Walker is an astounding 25-for-27 from the field.

Ball control: When Nebraska goes to its bench, the Huskers are finding they won't have to worry much about giving the ball away.

Kobe Webster and Keisei Tominaga have combined to play 207 minutes this season — and the duo has combined to turn the ball over exactly once.

The lone giveaway belongs to Webster, against Tennessee State. Since entering the rotation two weeks ago against Creighton, Webster has played 111 minutes with 12 assists and one turnover. Tominaga has played 96 minutes this season without a turnover, and added his first two assists of the year Saturday.

Schedule update: Nebraska will get an early start to Big Ten play next week.

The Huskers' league opener at Indiana, the first of two Big Ten games NU will play in December, will tip off at 11 a.m. next Saturday.

The contest against the Hoosiers was the only remaining game on Nebraska's schedule without a start time. The matchup will be televised on BTN.

NU will host Michigan at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Dec. 7, with that game beginning at 6 p.m. and being televised on ESPN2.

Contact the writer at or 402-473-7436. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.


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Husker men's basketball/baseball reporter

A Ravenna native, Chris covers the University of Nebraska men's basketball team and assists with football coverage. He spent nearly 10 years covering sports at the Kearney Hub and nearly four years at the Springfield News-Leader in Springfield, Mo.

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