Huskers hit road to open Big Ten play against Hawkeyes

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Iowa City, IA ( - Big Ten Conference action opens up on Tuesday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, as the 22nd-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes play host to the Nebraska Cornhuskers in a New Year's Eve showdown.

Nebraska played its second true road game of the season on Saturday afternoon, falling to Cincinnati, 74-59, and halting a two-game winning streak in the process. Despite the setback, the Cornhuskers have been rather impressive this season at 8-4.

Meanwhile, Iowa has climbed into the national rankings thanks to a strong 11-2 start to the season, which includes impressive victories at home versus Notre Dame (98-93) and over Xavier on a neutral floor (77-74 in OT). The Hawkeyes suffered a tough 85-82 loss at nationally-ranked Iowa State on Dec. 13, but they bounced back in a big way on Dec. 22 with a convincing 86-61 triumph over Arkansas-Pine Bluff to improve to 8-0 at home.

Iowa leads the all-time series with Nebraska, 14-9. The teams split last season's series, with each squad winning on its home floor.

The Cornhuskers never had a chance at the victory in their most recent contest at Cincinnati, as they shot just 35.7 percent from the field, lost the rebounding battle (40-30) and allowed the Bearcats to shoot 25-of-30 from the foul line in the 25-point loss. Terran Petteway was outstanding in spite of the defeat, shooting 4-of-5 from 3-point range and 6-of-6 from the free-throw line on his way to a game-high 22 points. Ray Gallegos was stellar as well, also hitting four long-range buckets for his 18 points.

Nebraska is usually a much more efficient offensive club, as it shoots just shy of 45 percent from the field this season for 72.2 ppg, which is 5.6 ppg more than it allows. It is also aided by a strong turnover margin, creating 3.5 more takeaways per game than it commits. Petteway has been the spark plug all season long, pouring in 17.3 ppg, hitting more than a 3-pointer per game and displaying excellence at the foul line (.868). Shavon Shields is also a mainstay with 12.7 ppg and 5.5 rpg.

The Hawkeyes thoroughly dominated their latest bout, outshooting UAPB from the field, 61.7 percent to 33.8 percent, in the 25-point victory. They were also outstanding from beyond the arc (10-of-17) and the hot-shooting afternoon allowed them to make up for an unseemly 27 turnovers. Jarrod Uthoff led the way with 16 points in 26 minutes off the bench, doing so on 6-of-8 from the field, including 3-of-4 from long distance. Josh Oglesby (13 points) was also deadly from 3-point territory, draining 4-of-5 from deep in his first game of the season. Adam Woodbury added 10 points, and a total of 12 players scored in the triumph.

The excellent scoring performance wasn't anything new for Iowa, which ranks third in the nation in scoring with 88.7 ppg on 47.7 percent field goal shooting, and in addition to its lofty +23.2 scoring margin, it also helps its cause with convincing advantages in terms of turnovers (+2.8) and rebounds (10.8) as well. Roy Devyn Marble leads the squad with 15.3 ppg, while Aaron White (13.2 ppg) is right on his heels and ranks 11th nationally in field-goal percentage (.678). Uthoff (10.8 ppg) is a regular contributor as a reserve, while the deep bench consists of seven others who score at least 4.8 ppg.