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Walter Pitchford and the Huskers host Northwestern Saturday.
Courtesy: NU Media Relations
          Release: 02/28/2014
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Huskers Host Northwestern on Legends Weekend

Game #28     Northwestern

Game Date    March 1, 2014

Tipoff Time   4:05 p.m. (CT)

Venue         Pinnacle Bank Arena

Capacity       15,000

Nebraska Cornhuskers
2013-14 Record: 16-11, 8-7 Big Ten

Head coach: Tim Miles

    Record at Nebraska: 31-29 (2nd year)

    Career Record: 314-249 (19th year)

Northwestern Wildcats
2013-14 Record: 12-16, 5-10 Big Ten

Head Coach: Chris Collins

    Record at Northwestern: 12-16 (1st year)

                Career Record: Same

Huskers on TV/Radio/Internet
Television: ESPNU (DirecTV Ch. 208, Dish Ch. 141, Ch. 235 on Time Warner Cable; Ch. 220 on Cox Cable)

   Play by Play: Mike Couzens
   Expert Analysis: Darrin Horn

Online: WatchESPN app on android and iOS devices

Radio: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network, including KLIN (1400 AM/94.5 FM) in Lincoln, KFAB (1110 AM) in Omaha and KRVN (880 AM) in Lexington.

   Play-by-play: Kent Pavelka          
   Expert Analysis: Matt Davison

Internet Radio/Stats: Free on Huskers.com
Satellite Radio: Sirius Ch. 135, XM Ch. 194

Huskers Host Northwestern on Legends Weekend
The Nebraska basketball team returns to Pinnacle Bank Arena Saturday afternoon, as the Huskers host Northwestern on Legends Weekend. The matchup between the Huskers and Northwestern is completely sold out, as a crowd in excess of 15,000 is expected for Nebraska’s only Saturday home game of the Big Ten season.

Tipoff is set for 4:05 p.m. (CT) and the game will be carried nationally on ESPNU (DirecTV Ch. 208, Dish Ch. 141, Ch. 235 on Time Warner Cable; Ch. 220 on Cox Cable) with Mike Couzens and Darrin Horn on the call. The game will also be available on the WatchESPN app for iOS or Android devices.

Saturday’s game will also be carried across the state on the 27-station Husker Sports Network with Kent Pavelka and Matt Davison calling all of the action, including flagship stations KLIN (1400 AM/94.5 FM) in Lincoln and KFAB (1110 AM) in Omaha (complete list of affiliates is on page five of the game notes). The game can also be heard on Huskers.com and is available on the Huskers’ app on iOS or android devices, as well as Sirius and XM Radio.

Saturday’s game is part of Legends Weekend, a two-day event which brings former players, coaches and staff back to campus to interact with the current Husker team. Another tradition of Legends Weekends is that the Huskers will don throwback jerseys for the game. On Saturday, the Huskers will honor the 1911-12 Husker squad which won the program’s first-ever conference title. The first 700 Red Zone students in attendance will receive a custom shirt for Legends Weekend.

The Huskers (16-11, 8-7 B1G) saw their five-game win streak snapped Wednesday night in a 60-49 loss at Illinois. The Fighting Illini forced 15 turnovers and turned them into 24 points, while enjoying a 15-6 advantage in second-chance points. Those two things mitigated a Husker defensive effort which held the Fighting Illini to just 37 percent shooting from the field. The bright spot in the loss was the play of backups Leslee Smith and Benny Parker, who combined for 15 points on 7-of-7 shooting from the field.

Nebraska has plenty to play for entering the month of March, as the Huskers can guarantee itself a top-six Big Ten finish and a .500 conference record with a win against the Wildcats.

Northwestern (12-16, 5-10 B1G) has been off since a six-point loss to Indiana last Saturday. The Wildcats, who are looking to snap a five-game losing streak which began with a 53-49 loss to the Huskers in Evanston on Feb. 8, feature one of the best guards in the Big Ten in Drew Crawford. The senior averages 15.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game while leading the Wildcats with 60 assists. 

By the Numbers

.846 - Nebraska’s winning percentage in games decided by five points or less under Tim Miles. The Huskers are 11-2 in such games over the last two seasons.

.875 - The Huskers are 7-1 under Tim Miles on ESPNU over the last two seasons.

.889 - David Rivers’ shooting percentage from the floor since returning to the starting lineup on Feb. 16. He is averaging 6.8 points and 5.5 rebounds a game in that stretch.

2 - Nebraska and Indiana are the only Big Ten team with multiple 30-point scorers this season.

4 - The Huskers have had four players total double-doubles this season (Leslee Smith, Walter Pitchford, Shavon Shields and Terran Petteway).

Scouting Northwestern
Northwestern comes into Saturday’s game with a 12-16 record and 5-10 Big Ten mark looking to snap a five-game losing streak. The Wildcats have been off since a 61-56 loss to Indiana in Evanston on Feb. 22.  The Wildcats are led by Chris Collins, who spent the last 13 seasons at Duke under Hall of Fame Coach Mike Krzyzewski before taking the Northwestern job last spring.

Northwestern, which returned four starters and eight letterwinners from 2012-13, got off to a slow start, going 7-9 including three straight losses in Big Ten play before playing some of their best basketball of the season. The Wildcats went 5-2 over a seven-game stretch, including road wins at Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota, heading into the first matchup with the Huskers. That day, Nebraska overcame a six-point halftime deficit to win 53-49, and Northwestern has dropped its next four, including six-point setbacks to both Minnesota and Indiana.

The Wildcats’ strength is on the defensive end, as they are allowing just 63.7 points per game to rank fourth in the league in scoring defense. Northwestern is holding foes to 41 percent shooting, including just 32 percent from 3-point range to rank fourth in the Big Ten. On the other hand, Northwestern’s offense has struggled at times, shooting just 40 percent from the field and are being out-rebounded by over four boards per game. The Wildcats average a conference-low 60.5 points per game.

Fifth-year senior Drew Crawford has been the catalyst for the Wildcats, as he leads the team in scoring (15.6) and rebounding (6.6). He had 30 points in a win at Wisconsin earlier this season and ranks among the top 10 in the Big Ten in both scoring and rebounding.  JerShon Cobb has been solid for the Wildcats at the point, averaging 12.2 points per game and dishing out 57 assists, but missed the Indiana game with a foot injury and is out for Saturday’s game. Sophomore Tre Demps gives Northwestern another outside scorer as he averages 11.1 points per game off the bench while shooting 36 percent from 3-point range. Sophomore Alex Olah mans the interior with 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game while blocking nearly two shots a contest. If Cobb is unable to go, junior Dave Sobolewski will be relied on, as he started at the point for the previous two years before suffering a concussion in January.

Nebraska-Northwestern Series History
Nebraska and Northwestern meet for only the eighth time ever on Saturday afternoon, as the Huskers hold a 5-2 lead in a series that dates back to 1933. Nebraska is 2-0 all-time in Lincoln with victories in 1975 and 2013. The Huskers have won five of the last six meetings dating back to 1975.

First Meeting: Nebraska 53, Northwestern 49
Walter Pitchford and Terran Petteway combined 25 second-half points, as Nebraska overcame a six-point halftime deficit to knock off Northwestern, 53-49, Saturday afternoon at Welsh-Ryan Arena.  Petteway led all scorers with 17 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out a season-high four assists, while Pitchford scored 13 of his then-career high 15 points in the second half. Nebraska, which shot 25 percent in the first half, shot a blistering 56 percent in the second half, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range, while holding the Wildcats to just 37 percent on the day.  Trailing 22-16 at the break, Nebraska opened the second half on a 14-5 spurt, as Pitchford scored eight points to help the Huskers build a 30-27 lead. The Huskers took control later in the half, as Shields and Benny Parker combined for eight straight Husker points to take a 40-32 lead with 8:28 left. The Wildcats trailed 44-36, made one last run as two straight Drew Crawford 3-pointers and a basket from Tre Demps tied the score at 44 with 3:52 left.

On Northwestern’s next possession, Pitchford was fouled on a defensive rebound, and the sophomore made two straight free throws to put the Huskers up 46-44 with 3:10 left. On the Huskers’ next possession after a Wildcat miss, Pitchford came up clutch, as Petteway found the 6-foot-10 forward for a 3-pointer to give Nebraska a five-point lead.

The Wildcats pulled to within 49-46 on a pair of JerShon Cobb free throws with 1:53 left before Petteway delivered the dagger, a long 3-pointer from the wing as the shot clock expired to put the Huskers up 52-46.  Cobb led Northwestern with 14 points and four assists while Drew Crawford was held to 13 points on 4-of-13 shooting.

Last Time Out
The Nebraska men’s basketball team had its five-game win streak come to an end on Wednesday evening with a 60-49 loss on the road at Illinois.

Illinois (16-12, 5-10) used a 12-0 run midway through the second half as the home team set the tone for the remainder of the contest. The Fighting Illini forced NU into 12 second-half turnovers, while committing just a pair of miscues. Kendrick Nunn led the Fighting Illini with 13 points, while Rayvonte Rice and Malcolm Hill put up 10 points apiece.

The Huskers (16-11, 8-7) received a large contribution from their role players as a trio combined for 23 points on the road. Leslee Smith amassed nine points on the evening, while David Rivers chipped in with eight as Benny Parker added six points.

Sophomore Terran Petteway, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, paced the NU offense with a team-high 13 points despite struggling from the field. Shavon Shields, an Olate, Kan. native, pitched in eight points and grabbed nine rebounds.

The Scarlet and Cream held Illinois to just 37.3 percent shooting from the floor, marking the sixth straight opponent they’ve held under 40 percent shooting. The Huskers shot 44.4 percent going 20-for-45 while managing just 3-for-13 from beyond the arc. This marks the third straight game in which NU has fired better than 44 percent from the field.

Illinois posted a 34-28 rebound edge on the night and forced NU into 15 turnovers.  Neither team was able to find their offensive strides in the closely-contested first half as the Illini held a 27-24 halftime lead.

Story Lines

  • The Huskers will be looking to go a Big Ten-best 14-1 at Pinnacle Bank Arena with a win on Saturday. NU has won its last six home conference games, the longest home conference win streak for the Huskers since an eight-game stretch spanning the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons. NU has won 15 of its 16 home games with the only loss coming to Big Ten leader Michigan on Jan. 9.
  • Nebraska will be seeking its ninth conference win for the first time since the 1998-99 season and for just the 10th time since WWII. The win would also mark just the second time since 2000 that Nebraska can finish .500 or better in conference play (2008-09).
  • Nebraska is bidding for its eighth Big Ten win in the last 10 games dating back to Jan. 26.
  • Nebraska can sweep the season series with Northwestern for the first time since the Huskers joined the Big Ten on Saturday. The Huskers and Wildcats were single-play opponents the previous two seasons.
  • The Huskers have already topped last year’s win total, marking the 13th time in 14 seasons under a Miles’ coached-team that has matched or exceeded the previous season. The only time it did not happen in Miles tenure was in 2003-04 at North Dakota State.
  • A win on Saturday would assure the Huskers would finish no worse than ninth in the final Big Ten standings, as Northwestern, Illinois, Purdue and Penn State already have 10 Big Ten losses. In addition, Minnesota (which lost to Nebraska in the only meeting) and Purdue also have nine Big Ten losses.
  • Terran Petteway comes into the Northwestern game with 492 points this season and is eight points away from becoming just the 13th Husker to score 500 points in a season. It would be the 19th time in school history that a Husker scored 500 points in a season and the first since Aleks Maric had 519 points in 2007-08.
  • Tai Webster enters Saturday’s game needing two steals to crack into the top-10 list for steals by a Husker freshman. Webster has 23 on the season, three behind Leslee Smith and Shavon Shields for the team lead. Cookie Miller is the last Husker freshman to lead NU in steals during the 2007-08 season.
  • Ray Gallegos is two points from reaching 750 points. He would be the 56th player in school history to reach 750 career points.
  • Shavon Shields enters Wednesday’s game needing four rebounds to reach 300 for his career after grabbing nine rebounds at Illinois on Wednesday.

Quick Look at Nebraska
It has taken less than two years for the Huskers to rebuild under Tim Miles. Only two of the 12 recruited scholarship players have been at NU longer than two seasons (Ray Gallegos and David Rivers), and Gallegos is the only scholarship senior on the 2013-14 roster before Mike Peltz was put on scholarship in January.

  • Nebraska enters the game at No. 52 in the RPI and a schedule rated as the 24th toughest nationally according to realtime RPI. The Huskers will have more opportunities to improve their schedule over the final two weeks of the season, as two of NU’s final three teams are in the top-100 of the RPI entering this weekend’s action.
  • The Huskers have three top-50 wins (at Michigan State, vs. Ohio State and Minnesota) while seven of the 11 losses are to teams in the top 40 of the RPI released this week.
  • The Huskers started Big Ten play with a 1-5 record with four of their first six on the road, but had chances to win in the final minutes of three of those losses.

    • vs. Michigan (Jan. 9) - Led 70-69 with 0:34 left (lost, 71-70)
    • at Purdue (Jan. 12) - Led 58-55 with 6:43 left (lost, 70-64)
    • at Penn State (Jan. 26) - Led 51-47 with 2:24 left (lost, 58-54)

  • Nebraska has beaten five teams that reached the Sweet 16 of last year’s NCAA Tournament (Florida Gulf Coast, Miami, Ohio State, Indiana and Michigan State).
  • Nebraska has relied on its youth, as its top three active scorers (Petteway, Shields and Pitchford are sophomores and of the nine players who played at least 10 minutes per game, only one is a senior. In fact, over 60 percent of the Huskers’ scoring comes from NU’s sophomore class.
  • Nebraska’s starting lineup is all underclassmen, one freshman (Tai Webster), three sophomores (Petteway, Shields and Pitchford) and one junior (David Rivers). Of NU’s top eight players, Gallegos is the only senior.
  • Miles is not afraid to play freshmen, as at least one freshman has started in 58 of the 58 games he has coached at Nebraska over the last two seasons.
  • This season, Nebraska is picked 12th in the preseason poll of writers with a roster which is 293rd (of 351 teams) in experience according to KenPom.com. Five of NU’s nine primary rotation players are in their first year of competition at Nebraska, although three of the newcomers (Pitchford-Florida; Smith-SMU; Petteway-Texas Tech) have previous Division I experience.

Miles, who was given a seven-year contract when he was hired in 2012, led the Huskers to a 15-18 record last year, as 14 of NU’s 18 losses came against NCAA Tournament teams despite having only eight recruited scholarship players available. Nebraska played one of the nation’s toughest schedules in 2012-13, facing 10 ranked teams while the strength of schedule was 13th nationally. The Huskers finished 10th in the Big Ten in 2012-13 after being picked to finish last by 23 of the 24 beat writers in the league.

Husker Defense Makes Strides
The biggest strides the Huskers have made during their recent surge have been on the defensive end. A big reason why the Huskers are 8-3 over the last 11 games is Nebraska’s improved defense. In that time, NU is holding opponents to just 39 percent from the field, a significant drop from the first 16 games. Nebraska has been exceptional defensively in the last six contests, holding each opponent under 40 percent from the field. It marks the first time since at least 1990 that the Huskers have limited six straight conference foes to below 40 percent shooting.

Finding Offensive Pace
Despite having a revamped lineup, the Huskers have been more proficient offensively, averaging nearly eight points more per game than at this point last year.

  • Last year, NU was 12th in the Big Ten in scoring offense at 58.3 points per game. This season, NU has been held under 60 points just seven times in 27 games, despite being held to a season-low 49 points at Illinois.
  • The Huskers’ tempo has vastly increased, as Nebraska was over 300th in adjusted tempo in each of the last three seasons and is now 188th coming into Saturday’s game with Northwestern.
  • Nebraska’s 82 points against Minnesota on Jan. 26 marked the most points by the Huskers in a conference game since joining the Big Ten in 2011-12.
  • Nebraska scored 80 or more points in consecutive games against South Carolina State and UMass, the first time that has happened since the 2008-09 season. Nebraska has already scored 75 or more points six times this season after just reaching that plateau twice in 33 games during the 2012-13 season.
  • Nebraska has had nine players reach double figures at least once this season. The Huskers had three games where five players reached double figures and seven others with four double-figure scorers.
  • In two seasons under Miles, Nebraska is 24-8 when scoring over 60 points.

Legends Weekend Set for Saturday

Petteway to wear 44 on Saturday
Terran Petteway will pay special tribute to a former Husker on Saturday. He will wear No. 44 instead of No. 5 in honor of Ronnie Smith, a former Husker basketball player from Galveston, Texas.

Smith played basketball at Nebraska for Coach Moe Iba during the 1983-84 and 1984-85 seasons and helped the Huskers to a pair of NIT Tournament appearances before embarking on a 15-year professional career oversees. Following his basketball career, he went into law enforcement and was killed on duty while responding to a fight call.

Smith was a long-time family friend of Terran’s parents, Terry and Joetta, and Petteway’s family asked Ronnie’s widow if Terran could honor the former Husker by wearing his jersey on Legends Weekend.

Because Petteway is wearing No. 44, junior Kye Kurkowski will switch to No. 55 for today’s game.

The Nebraska basketball program’s second-annual Legends Weekend will take place this weekend (Feb. 28-March 1), as the Huskers will take on Northwestern at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Saturday’s game, which is a 4 p.m. start on ESPNU is already sold out.

The event was created by Coach Tim Miles with the Husker Athletic Department and the N-Club to welcome back former players and staff and recognize them for their contributions to the Nebraska basketball program, as well as have the current Husker team connect with former players and learn more about the history of Nebraska basketball.

Nearly 50 former players, coaches and staff are returning to Lincoln for the weekend’s events, which includes a private reception on Friday night, a chance to tour Nebraska’s basketball facilities and watch Saturday’s walk-through before the Huskers take on Northwestern. In addition, the former players will be introduced and recognized during Saturday’s halftime ceremony.

The Huskers will honor one of its greatest teams in school history on Saturday, as Nebraska’s jerseys will pay homage to the 1911-12 Huskers. That team, coached by the legendary E.O. “Jumbo” Stiehm, went 14-1 on the season and won the Missouri Valley Conference title with an 8-0 record. The 1911-12 team went 6-0 at home, winning five of its six home games by double figures. The Huskers’ only loss that season was to Minnesota before Nebraska closed the season with nine consecutive wins, including a pair of victories over Kansas to close the season. Stiehm, who also coached football at Nebraska, became the first coach in conference history to win both football and basketball titles in the same year.

The jerseys, specially created by adidas for Saturday’s game, are inspired by the 1911-12 team and feature cream colored tops and bottoms with a White accent stripe with an N logo across the middle of the jersey tops. One major difference in the jerseys is that the 1911-12 Husker jerseys did not have jersey numbers, so the number on Saturday’s throwbacks are below the stripe as well as on the back of the jersey.

Husker students will also have a chance to be a part of the special day, as the first 700 students in attendance in the Red Zone will receive a custom-made shirt to celebrate Legends Weekend.

Petteway on Track for Historic Season
Terrran Petteway has come from obscurity to being a Big Ten Player of the Year candidate in his first season at Nebraska. The 6-foot-6 forward from Galveston, Texas, enters the week leading the Big Ten at 18.2 points per game while adding 4.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists per contest.

  • Petteway is bidding to become just the fifth Husker in the last century to lead a conference in scoring in conference games. He looks to join Andre Smith in 1980-81 as the only Husker to accomplish the feat in the last 65 years. In fact, only three Huskers have ranked in the top-three in conference scoring over the last four decades and none since Tyronn Lue in 1997-98.
  • Petteway is on track to enjoy one of the highest scoring sophomore seasons in school history.  At 18.2 points per game, it would be the highest by a Husker sophomore since Tyronn Lue averaged 18.8 points per game in 1996-97. In fact, only three players have averaged more than 16 points per game as a sophomore - Dave Hoppen (19.9), Lue and Jerry Fort (18.0).
  • Petteway has raised his scoring average over 15 points from his true freshman year at Texas Tech, as his career high entering this season was a 13-point effort against DePaul.
  • Petteway is the only player in the Big Ten over the last two seasons with multiple 30-point games. The last person with three 30-point games in a season was John Shurna of Northwestern in 2011-12. Only nine Big Ten players have had multiple 30-point games in a season since 2009-10.
  • He put together the finest game of his career in the win over Minnesota on Jan. 26 with a career-high 35 points on 10-of-15 shooting and six rebounds. Petteway hit four 3-pointers in the win and went 11-of-14 from the foul line.
  • Reached double figures in 25 of 27 games after just having one double-figure effort prior to this season.
  • Is tied for the Big Ten lead with 10 games of at least 20 points following his 29-point effort against Purdue on Sunday. Petteway was averaging 26.0 ppg over the previous three games before he was held to 13 at Illinois on Wednesday.
  • Ranks fourth in the Big Ten in free throw shooting at 82.0 percent after shooting just 46 percent from the line during his lone season at Texas Tech.
  • He put together a strong outing in the win at No. 9 Michigan State with 23 points, including 16 second-half points and five rebounds.
  • Nearly put together a double-double in the loss at Purdue with 19 points, nine rebounds and two steals, along with two blocked shots.
  • Recorded his first career double-double at Iowa on Dec. 31, leading all scorers with 20 points and grabbing a career-high 12 rebounds.
  • Led NU with a strong road performance at Northwestern on Feb. 8 when he led Nebraska in scoring (17), rebounds (eight) and assists (four) in NU’s 53-49 win.
  • Led the Huskers at the Charleston Classic in November, averaging 22 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in three games.
  • Put together his first 30-point game of the season in a 96-91 loss to UMass at the Charleston Classic, and is now only one of 13 players in school history with multiple 30-point games at Nebraska.

The Son Also Rises
Shavon Shields is on his way to creating an impressive resume in his own right. While his father, Will, is one of the greatest linemen in college and NFL history and a three-time NFL Hall of Fame finalist, the younger Shields has played an integral role over the last two years on the court for the Huskers. 

As a freshman, Shavon overcame an early season elbow injury and averaged 8.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in 29 games. Shields started to shine during the 2013 Big Ten Tournament, averaging 16.5 points on 61 percent shooting in games against Purdue and Ohio State.

  • Shields is averaging 11.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game, as he leads NU in rebounding, is second in scoring and third in assists. All three categories are up from his freshman year despite battling a knee bruise early in Big Ten action.
  • After a week off during Nebraska’s first conference bye to get healthy, Shields has been solid, averaging 13.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game over the last 10 contests, a stretch where the Huskers have posted an 8-3 mark.
  • He put together one of his best games of the season against Purdue on Feb. 23, as he finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and three steals. It marked his first double-double of the season and second of his career.
  • Shields enjoyed a career-high 33 point performance against Illinois on Feb. 12, when he hit 8-of-12 shots from the field and all 15 of his free throws. Shields tied Nebraska’s single-game record for free throws without a miss and became only the 11th Big Ten player to hit at least 15 free throws without a miss and the first since 1997.
  • He keyed Nebraska to a win over No. 17 Ohio State on Jan. 20 when he scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
  • Shields has the team's longest starting streak at 46 games dating back to last season.
  • He has been in double figures 16 times, and has grabbed at least six rebounds 15 times, including a season-high 10 rebounds at Penn State on Jan. 23 and against Purdue on Feb. 23.
  • Shields has paced the Huskers in scoring six times and has a pair of 20-point games this season. All three of his 20-point nights came against 2013 NCAA Tournament qualifiers (Florida Gulf Coast, Creighton and Illinois).
  • He was named Big Ten Player of the Week and Lute Olson National Player of the Week for his effort against Sweet 16 qualifier Florida Gulf Coast in the season opener. In that game he scored a game-high 28 points - one off his career high - hitting 8-of-13 shots from the field and a perfect 12-of-12 from the line. The 6-foot-7 forward also led NU in rebounds (six) and assists (three).
  • Last summer, Shields played for the Denmark U-20 National Team, leading the country to the 2013 Nordic Cup Championship. He averaged 13.3 points per game in wins over Sweden, Finland and Estonia, capping the tournament with a 17-point, 12-rebound effort in a 101-94 double overtime win over Estonia.
  • Off the court, Shields is a microbiology major who wants to become a doctor following his basketball career. He was named first-team Academic All-District VII on Jan. 31, as he carries a 3.77 GPA in microbiology.

Pitchford Provides Scoring Punch
Another one of Nebraska’s transfers, sophomore Walter Pitchford has developed into a consistent scoring option for the Huskers. The 6-foot-10 forward began his career at Florida, where he was a reserve on the Gators’ Elite Eight squad in 2011-12. This year, he has taken advantage of the new surroundings and has been productive, averaging 8.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. One of the Huskers’ best athletes with a 42-inch vertical leap, Pitchford is also one of the Huskers’ top 3-point shooters at 40 percent on the season.

  • Is playing some of his best basketball of the season over the last month, averaging 10.8 points per game on 52 percent shooting over the last nine games. Pitchford has been in double figures seven times in that stretch and has set season highs in points on two occasions, most recently at Michigan State on Feb. 16.
  • Bounced back from a knee bruise against Penn State and had 10 points and five rebounds in Sunday's win over Purdue.
  • Finished with 11 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots in 24 minutes against Penn State on Feb. 23.
  • Enjoyed a successful homecoming at Michigan State on Feb. 16, totaling a career-high 18 points, including a season-high four 3-pointers, along with five rebounds and two steals in Nebraska's win over the No. 9 Spartans.
  • Reached double figures in scoring 14 times this year, including a then-career-high 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the four-point win over Northwestern on Nov. 8. In that game, he scored 13 second-half points, including five straight points after the Wildcats cut an eight-point lead to 44-all in the final four minutes.
  • Shined in the Big Ten opener at Iowa on Dec. 31, finishing with 13 points and a season-high 12 rebounds for his second double-double of the year. Pitchford also had eight offensive rebounds and helped NU cut a 20-point deficit to five in the second half.
  • Posted his first career double-double against Arkansas State on Dec. 14 with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
  • Played a key role in the Huskers’ win over Miami in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Dec. 4 with 13 points and five rebounds.
  • Totaled an incredible 339:23 without a turnover dating back to his time at Florida before his first turnover on Jan. 9. The streak lasted 22 games dating back to his freshman year at Florida, as he was the last regular rotation player in the country without a turnover. 

Gallegos Looks to Prove Less is More

While senior guard Ray Gallegos was Nebraska’s top returning scorer heading into the season, the Huskers’ increased depth has made him a more efficient player in 2013-14.

While Gallegos is known for being a long-range shooter who can hit shots in bunches, he has been a more well-rounded player in 2013-14. He is fourth on the team in scoring at 7.0 points per game while averaging 1.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. Last year, Gallegos averaged a Big Ten-high 37.5 minutes per game, including nearly 39 minutes per game in conference play, but NU’s increased depth has reduced his minutes to just under 27 minutes per game.

  • Leads the Huskers with a career-high 2.8-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio on the season and has nearly twice as many steals as turnovers on the year.
  • Ranks ninth in the Big Ten with 1.9 3-pointers per game, including a trio of 3-pointers in the win over Indiana on Jan. 31. He also has four 3-pointers in the first matchup with Michigan on Jan. 9 and broke out of a mini slump with 11 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, against Penn State on Thursday night.
  • Has already set a career high in assists on two occasions, including five assists against The Citadel on Dec. 21 and Minnesota on Jan. 23.
  • Enjoyed one of his best games of the season at Cincinnati on Dec. 28 with a season-high 18 points, including four 3-pointers, while dishing out three assists.
  • Leads the Huskers with 43 3-pointers this season and now sits in seventh place on Nebraska’s career 3-point chart with 147. He passed Cookie Belcher (146, 1997-01) against Penn State on Feb. 23.
  • Opened the 2013-14 season by hitting six of 10 3-pointers in a win over South Carolina State on Nov. 17, the fifth time he has hit on at least six 3-pointers in a game.

As a junior, he connected on 83 3-pointers, a total which ranked second on Nebraska’s single-season list. It is more impressive when you consider that Gallegos made only 21 3-pointers during his first two seasons at Nebraska before redshirting in 2011-12.

  • Led the Big Ten in 3-pointers per game (2.5 per game) during the 2012-13 season. He became the first Husker basketball player to lead the Big Ten in any statistical category.
  • Connected on a career-high seven 3-pointers at Iowa on March 9, 2013, a total which is one shy of Nebraska’s single-game record 

 

Webster Makes a Point, Plays the Point
Tai Webster has found a home in the Huskers’ backcourt, averaging 4.7 points, 2.1 assists and 2.2 rebounds per game heading into the Northwestern game. While he is averaging just 3.1 points per game in Big Ten play, Webster has found other ways to help the Huskers win, as he is second on the team in assists (27) and fourth in steals (12) while hitting 73 percent from the foul line.

 

Webster had his Big Ten performance of the year against Penn State on Feb. 23, totaling 10 points, a season-high five rebounds and a team-best three assists. It marked his first double-digit effort in Big Ten play, as he went 8-of-10 from the line against the Nittany Lions and hit his only shot from the field. He also performed well in NU’s win over No. 17 Ohio State with nine points, including 5-of-6 from the foul line, and two rebounds. Webster had five points and four assists in 29 minutes in the win over Minnesota on Jan. 26 and had four points, two assists and two steals against Indiana on Jan. 30. He dished out four assists and matched his personal best with four steals at No. 22 Iowa on Dec. 31.

 

The 6-foot-4 freshman enjoyed the best game of his career on Nov. 24 against Georgia, scoring 14 points and dishing out three assists in NU’s 73-65 win. Webster scored 13 of his points in the second half and went 7-of-9 from the foul line. It was his second double-figure effort of the Charleston Classic, as he totaled 12 points and two assists in NU’s loss to UMass. He has dished out a season-high five assists on three occasions, most recently against Arkansas State on Dec. 14.

 

With his start against Florida Gulf Coast on Nov. 8, Webster became just the ninth true freshman to start a season opener in the last 18 years. Webster totaled nine points, two rebounds and an assist in helping the Huskers to a 79-55 win. He reached double figures for the first time in his young career against South Carolina State on Nov. 17, totaling 13 points, four rebounds and two assists.

 

Although he is a freshman who does not turn 19 until after this season, Webster was considered one of the top international guards in this year’s senior class. He played for New Zealand’s national team in qualifying for the 2012 Olympics, averaging 13.5 points per game in 52.5 percent shooting in three games. He also played in New Zealand’s National Basketball League, averaging 18.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game last spring despite being the youngest player in the league. Webster is among the five Big Ten freshmen to watch by ESPN’s Paul Biancardi, joining Indiana’s Noah Vonleh, Illinois’ Kendrick Nunn, Michigan’s Zak Irvin and Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes.

 

Record-Breaking Season Ticket Sales
The move to Pinnacle Bank Arena has been a boon to Nebraska basketball, as the Husker program has shattered season-ticket records. On May 3, all of the season tickets allotted for 2013-14 had been accounted for, as season-ticket sales were up nearly 95 percent from 2012-13. It marked the third straight season that tickets sales were up.

 

  • Nebraska will shatter its single-season attendance record of 13,357 set in 1992-93. Currently, the Huskers are averaging 15,338 fans per game heading into Saturday’s contest with Northwestern. Both the Northwestern and Wisconsin games are sold out.
  • Nebraska ranks 12th nationally in average attendance heading into this week’s games.
  • The Huskers sold over 14,000 season tickets for its first season in the building, including 1,650 student tickets. The previous school record for season ticket sales was 12,000 set in 1992-93
  • Over the last five seasons, only four schools have increased their attendance by more than 3,000 fans per game in a single season with the largest increase by BYU in 2010-11 (4,685 per game increase). Nebraska is currently averaging 4,986 more fans per game than in 2012-13.
  • The Huskers have rewarded the fans by going 13-1 in the first season at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Nebraska finished non-conference play unbeaten for the first time since 2010-11, and knocked off their first ranked foe since 2012 with the win over No. 15 Ohio State on Jan. 20.

 

A Historic Win
Nebraska’s 60-51 win at No. 9 Michigan State on Feb. 16 was one of the Huskers’ best road wins in recent history.The win marked just the fourth win over a top-10 opponent outside Lincoln and the first since 1997. NU also snapped a 29-game losing streak against top-10 teams away from Lincoln.

  •  Nebraska snapped a 21-game losing streak to ranked teams on the road, dating back to a 65-59 win at No. 22 Texas A&M and Feb.23, 2008. It also ended a 24-game streak against ranked teams outside of Lincoln.
  •  NU picked up its first Big Ten win against Michigan State, snapping a four-game losing streak to the Spartans. Nebraska’s only other win was 86-81 overtime win over No. 15 Michigan State on Dec. 18, 1993.
  • The win was the second road win against a top-10 team for Nebraska Coach Tim Miles, as his North Dakota State team topped eighth-ranked Marquette on Dec. 3, 2006.

 

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