The Tigers (5-1) are coming off an 87-82 loss to the Creighton Blue Jays in the championship game of the Cayman Island Classic last Wednesday. The Tigers got off to a slow start and had no answer for Blue Jays' sophomore guard Ty-Shon Alexander, who hit seven 3-pointers en-route to 36 points.
Senior guard Marcquise Reed, who averages 19.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, led the Tigers with 27 points, including his 1,000th point with Clemson. Senior guard Shelton Mitchell (14.7 points, 2.8 assists per game) added 13 for the Tigers.
Croatian forward David Skara (8.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg) had a strong showing on the glass, hauling in 11 rebounds to go along with eight points. Senior forward Elijah Thomas (10.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and sophomore forward Aamir Simms (11 ppg, 4.5 rpg) join Skara to form a reliable frontcourt.
The game before, the Tigers knocked off the Georgia Bulldogs with a stingy defensive effort that coach Brad Brownell praised as a "tremendous job executing our defensive plan." Skara had three of the Tigers' nine steals in that game.
Brownell is three wins away from moving into second in Clemson history; he received a six-year extension in the offseason.
Nebraska (5-1) is coming off a 73-49 home win over Western Illinois on Saturday, less than a week after getting trounced by Texas Tech 70-52 in the championship game of the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City.
Nebraska, which began the season at No. 25 in the AP poll, will aim to pick up a quality non-conference win on Monday to boost its tournament resume. The Huskers have the talent and experience to finally win their first NCAA Tournament game this season.
Senior guards Glynn Watson Jr. (15.2 ppg, 4.0 apg) and James Palmer Jr. (17.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg) rebounded from poor offensive showings against the Red Raiders to combine for 39 points in Saturday's win. Watson complemented his 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting with a career-high-tying nine rebounds. Palmer scored 10 straight points during a 35-4 first-half run for the Huskers.
Sophomore guard Thomas Allen (6.8 ppg, 2.2 apg) fills out the rest of the starting backcourt.
The frontcourt is led by senior Isaac Copeland Jr. (14.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg), who was one of the few Huskers to stand out in the loss to Texas Tech, amassing 20 points and eight rebounds. Copeland is joined in the frontcourt by junior forward Isaiah Roby (8.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg).
Nebraska coach Tim Miles praised the Huskers' improved ball movement as the difference after their loss to Texas Tech.
"When we did that (passing) tonight I thought we were pretty good. ... In the first half we were 12-for-19 from the field after three passes. And that's good basketball," he said.
The Huskers will aim to maintain that ball movement against the Tigers as well as establish Copeland and Roby down low to complement the team's outside shooting (they have attempted at least 23 3-pointers in every game this season and average 32.9 percent from distance).
Clemson will aim to recapture the defensive intensity it showed against Georgia. The Tigers will also need to clean up the turnovers (19 against Creighton) and hope for some better outside shooting (26.3 percent on 19 3-point attempts against Creighton) as well as keep the clamps on Nebraska's talented and experienced backcourt.
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