Game Date Nov. 12, 2013
Tipoff Time 7:05 p.m.
Venue Pinnacle Bank Arena
2013-14 Record: 1-0, 0-0 Big Ten
Head coach: Tim Miles
Record at Nebraska: 16-18 (2nd year)
Career Record: 299-238 (19th year)
Western Illinois Leathernecks
2013-14 Record: 0-1, 0-0 Summit League
Head Coach: Jim Molinari
Record at WIU: 69-85 (6th year)
Career Record: 292-271 (20th year)
Huskers on TV/Radio/Internet
Online: Big Ten Digital Network (subscription required - Video.btn.com)
Television: Airs on BTN on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at Noon (Central)
(Ch. 610 on DirecTV; Chs. 439, 9500 on DISH; Chs. 24 and 333-SD, 1333-HD on Time Warner Cable; Chs. 80 SD, 1080-HD on Cox Cable)
Broadcast Team: Ryan Swanigan and Jon Kipper
Radio: Across the state on the 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
Huskers Host Leathernecks Tuesday Night
Nebraska continues its season-opening stretch against 2013 postseason teams, as the Huskers play host to Western Illinois on Tuesday, Nov. 12, at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Tipoff is set for 7:05 p.m. (central) and Tuesday’s game will be available online on the Big Ten Digital Network with Ryan Swanigan and Jon Kipper. The game will be aired on BTN on Wednesday at Noon.
Tuesday’s matchup with the Leathernecks 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. The game can be heard for free on Huskers.com and is available on the Huskers’ app on iOS or android devices.
A limited number of tickets are available in the 200 and 300 Level sections with prices ranging from $7-$15. Visit Huskers.com or call 800-8-BIGRED for more information.
Nebraska opened Pinnacle Bank Arena in impressive fashion, routing 2013 NCAA Sweet 16 team Flori-da Gulf Coast, 79-55, on Friday night. The Huskers shot 52 percent as a team, including 50 percent from 3-point range, and got 28 points from sophomore Shavon Shields. The 6-foot-7 sophomore hit 8-of-13 shots from the floor and converted all 12 of his free throws. In addition, he also led the Huskers in both rebounding (six) and assists (three) and was named Big Ten Player of the Week Monday afternoon.
Nebraska’s 79 points against Florida Gulf Coast not only marked NU’s highest-scoring season opener since 2005, but was an encouraging sign for a team that averaged 58.8 per game a year ago and was without its top returning scorer (Ray Gallegos) for the opener.
Newcomers Terran Petteway (17), Tai Webster (nine) and Walter Pitchford (seven) combined for 33 points and 10 rebounds, but Nebraska received an surprising offensive spark another returnee, as sophomore Benny Parker came off the bench to score a career-high nine points and added two steal in 27 quality minutes off the bench.
Nebraska found ways to generate points from the foul line, getting to the charity stripe 31 times in the opener. Last year, it took the Huskers the first four games of the season to get to the foul line 31 times.
Western Illinois went 22-9 and tied for the Summit League regular-season title before playing in the CIT in 2012-13. The Leathernecks, who are coached by longtime college coach Jim Molinari, opened the season with a 67-63 loss at Idaho Saturday night. WIU led 59-56 with 2:02 left, but Idaho ran off seven straight points to regain the lead for good.
BY THE NUMBERS
9 - Nebraska’s number of turnovers in Friday’s season opener. The Huskers ranked 10th nationally in fewest turnovers per game in 2012-13 with a school-record 10.68 per game.
12 - Number of free throws Shavon Shields made against Florida Gulf Coast. It was the most by a Husker since Aleks Maric went 12-of-14 against Missouri on Feb. 13, 2008.
13 - Consecutive season openers won by the Huskers dating back to a 69-57 victory over North Carolina A&T in 2001. NU has also won 24 consecutive home openers.
28 -Big Ten Player of the Week Shavon Shields point total on Friday, the most for a Husker in a season opener since Aleks Maric had 29 points against Nebraska-Omaha in the 2006-07 season opener.
299 - Nebraska Coach Tim Miles seeks his 300th career win on Tueday night against Western Illinois.
SCOUTING WESTERN ILLINOIS
Western Illinois continues its season-opening road trip Tuesday night, as the Leathernecks visit Pinnacle Bank Arena after facing Idaho in their 2013-14 season opener last Saturday.
Longtime college coach Jim Molinari begins his sixth season at Western Illinois and has guided WIU to 40 wins and consecutive postseason appearances over the last two seasons. Molinari, who also coached at Bradley and Northern Illinois, guided the Leathernecks to their most successful season at the Division I level in 2012-13. WIU went 22-9 and tied South Dakota State for the Summit League regular-season title before reaching the CIT for the second straight season. The 22 wins were the school’s highest total since joining the Division I ranks.
The Leathernecks, who return a pair of starters among their six letterwinners, are typically proficient on the defensive end, ranking second in the country in scoring defense at 52.6 ppg in 2012-13, while ranking among the top 75 in six other categories. WIU was picked to finish fourth in the preseason Summit League media poll, while senior Adam Link was a preseason second-team all-conference pick after averaging 9.9 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season. In Saturday’s opener, freshman Garret Covington led the Leathernecks with 22 points to place three Leathernecks in double figures. Tate Stensgaard (11) and Remy Roberts-Burnett (10) also cracked double figures, but Stensgaard and backup center Michael Ochereobia fouled out in a combined 20 minutes of playing time.
SERIES HISTORY VS. WESTERN ILLINOIS
Nebraska holds a 4-0 lead in the all-time series with Western Illinois, which dates back to the 1977-78 season. Tuesday’s game will be the first matchup between the two teams since the 2001-02 season when Nebraska won 72-52. All four previous games have taken place in Lincoln.
SHIELDS NAMED BIG TEN PLAYER OF THE WEEK\
Nebraska basketball player Shavon Shields garnered Big Ten Player-of-the-Week honors Monday afternoon following his performance against Florida Gulf Coast last Friday.
The 6-foot-7 sophomore had a game-high 28 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field and a perfect 12-of-12 from the foul line in the win over 2013 Sweet 16 qualifier FGCU. Shields, whose 28 points were the most by a Big Ten player last weekend, also led the Huskers in rebounds (six) and assists (35) while not committing a turnover in 35 minutes of action.
Monday’s honor is the third of Shields’ career, as he was a two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week in 2012-13. He is the first Husker to earn the Big Ten Player of the Week since Andre Almeida last December.
Nebraska opened Pinnacle Bank Arena in style, leading from start to finish in 79-55 rout of Florida Gulf Coast Friday evening. The Huskers put on a show in front of the sellout crowd of 15,119, as sophomore Shavon Shields had 28 points on 8-of-13 shooting and a perfect 12-of-12 from the line, finishing one point shy of his career high. Shields also led Nebraska with six rebounds and three assists.
Sophomore Terran Petteway scored 17 points to join Shields in double figures, while Benny Parker provided a spark off the bench with a career-high nine points and two steals, carrying the Huskers in a second-half run.
Nebraska shot 52.1 percent from the fields and committed just nine turnovers, while forcing Florida Gulf Coast into 16 turnovers and holding the Eagles to 44.2 percent from the floor.
Nebraska roared out of the gate, scoring 11 of the first 15 points behind strong shooting from sophomore Walter Pitchford, who hit a pair of early 3-pointers, as Nebraska hit its first three shots from beyond the arc. Florida Gulf Coast, which went to the NCAA Sweet 16 last season, cut the deficit to 18-13 after a Bernard Thompson 3-pointer, but Shields keyed a 15-4 run with eight of his first-half points to stake the hosts a 33-17 lead.
Nebraska led by as many as 18 in the first half before FGCU closed the half on a 6-0 spurt to pull within 39-27 at the break. After FGCU pulled to within 45-32 after a 3-pointer from Jamail Jones with 17:49 left, Parker took over, as the 5-foot-9 guard scored seven of his points and had a pair of steals in an 10-0 Husker spurt, forcing the Eagles to call a timeout. From that point, the Huskers were in complete control, leading by as many as 34 points in the second half.
MILES GOES FOR WIN NO. 300 TUESDAY VS. WESTERN ILLINOIS
Nebraska Coach Tim Miles will look for his 300th career victory Tuesday night against Western Illinois. Miles, who is in his 19th season as a college head coach, is 299-238 in his career with stops at Mayville State, Southwest Minnesota State, North Dakota State and Colorado State before taking the Nebraska job in March of 2012.
Nebraska begans its 118th season of basketball on Friday night with the 24-point win over Florida Gulf Coast.
•-Nebraska is now 79-39 (.669) all-time in season openers and have won 13 straight season openers dating back to an 87-83 setback at Oral Roberts to begin the 2000 season. Nebraska is 20-2 in its past 22 season openers dating back to the 1992-93 campaign.
•-The last time Nebraska lost a season opener at home was 1980 when NU fell to Wyoming, 62-59, in overtime. The Huskers have won 24 straight season openers at home since that loss.
•-The Nov. 8 season-opening date was the earliest in Nebraska’s 118-year history. The previous earliest date was in 2007, when the Huskers opened on Nov. 10 against Presbyterian. The four earliest opening dates are listed below.
•-Friday’s 24-point win was the NU’s largest in a season opener since a 27-point victory over USC Upstate in 2009. It was also Nebraska's largest margin of victory under Tim Miles.
THE SON ALSO RISES
Nebraska sophomore Shavon Shields in 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, the younger Shields is carving out his own impressive career on the court. 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 was one of the few freshmen whose numbers improved during Big Ten play in 2012-13, as he upped his scoring and rebounding averages to 9.2 and 6.0 to rank among the Big Ten leaders. During the Huskers’ Big Ten Tournament run, the 6-foot-7, 219-pounder became one of the Huskers’ go-to players, averaging 16.5 points on 61 percent shooting in games against Purdue and Ohio State.
He had a career-high 29 points in a win at Penn State, which tied for second all-time among Husker freshmen, while he also had 19 points and a career-high 13 rebounds in a loss to No. 8 Michigan State on Feb. 16. Shields’ double-double against the Spartans marked the first by a Husker freshmen since Aleks Maric in 2004-05.
One of three captains for the 2013-14 season, Shields put on a show against Florida Gulf Coast, leading the Huskers with a game-high 28 points on 8-of-13 shooting and going a perfect 12-of-12 from the foul line. He also topped the Huskers in both assists and steals in the win over FGCU to earn Big Ten Player of the Week.
HOW SHAVON SPENT HIS SUMMER
Sophomore Shavon Shields spent part of the summer with 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. Shields had nine points in the opener against Sweden and 14 points in the victory over host Finland.
A NEW HOMECOURT
Nebraska’s win against Florida Gulf Coast marked the first time since 1897 - the first season in program history - that Nebraska won its first home game at a new facility. The Huskers lost their debuts at both the NU Coliseum and the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
WEBSTER JOINS ROOKIE LIST
Tai Webster became just the ninth true freshman to start a season opener in the last 18 years when he took the court against Florida Gulf Coast on Friday. Webster totaled nine points, two rebounds and an assist in helping the Huskers to a 79-55 win. In each of his first two seasons at Nebraska, Tim Miles has started a true freshman in the backcourt, as Benny Parker started the 2012-13 opener.
Although he is a freshman, 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.
NEWCOMERS SHINE IN HUSKER DEBUTS
Much of the talk about the Huskers has been focused on a trio of transfers who will make their debut in 2013-14. Sophomores Terran Petteway and Walter Pitchford both sat out the 2012-13 season after transferring into the Husker program, while junior guard Deverell Biggs redshirted the 2012-13 season. The trio comprised the Huskers’ scout team that pushed the starters in practice throughout the season.
Petteway played in 27 games at Texas Tech as a true freshman in 2011-12, making 11 starts for the Red Raiders, including 10 in Big 12 action. Pitchford played on Florida’s Elite Eight squad and made 13 appearances for the Gators in 2011-12. The pair combined for Nebraska’s first nine points and finished with 24 points and eight rebounds, as Petteway had a career-high 17 points and four rebounds while Pitchford added seven points and four rebounds in 20 minutes of action.
Biggs will make his debut against South Carolina State on Nov. 17, as did he not play in Monday’s exhibition and will not suit up for the first two regular-season games.
CAPTAINS CHOSEN FOR 2013-14 SEASON
Nebraska Coach Tim Miles announced on Oct. 12 that senior Ray Gallegos and sophomores Shavon Shields and Terran Petteway were chosen as team captains for the 2013-14 season. It is the first time that any of the three Huskers had been chosen captain. Shields and Gallegos are returning starters who started 19 and 33 games, respectively, while Petteway sat out the 2012-13 season after transferring from Texas Tech.
VALUE THE BASKETBALL
Under Tim Miles, one major emphasis is taking care of the basketball, and the Huskers were among the nation’s best in that category in 2012-13. Despite losing its top three point guards from 2011-12 and having a backup point guard (Mike Peltz) suffer a season-ending injury in January, Nebraska finished fourth in the Big Ten and 10th nationally with 10.7 turnovers per game - nearly three fewer than 2011-12. NU’s turnovers per game were the fewest in school history, bettering the 11.30 per game in 1984-85. Nebraska committed 10 turnovers or less 15 times in 2012-13. Nebraska set a school record with two turnovers against Purdue on Jan. 16, breaking the mark of three set on three previous occasions.
In all, five of the top 11 teams in the country resided in the Big Ten, including Michigan and Wisconsin which ranked first and fourth, respectively in that category.
During Nebraska’s exhibition win on Monday over UNK, the Huskers committed just eight turnovers and the Huskers had just nine turnovers in the opener against Florida Gulf Coast.
TIME OUT WITH COACH MILES SET FOR NOV. 26
Join Nebraska men’s basketball coach Tim Miles for an exclusive look into the Husker Basketball program with Time Out with Coach Miles on Tuesday, Nov. 26.
This luncheon will provide fans a fun and unique look into the Husker basketball program, as Coach Miles guides you through a film breakdown session to learn the Xs and Os of the Huskers and their opponents.
The luncheon will be held at 11:30 a.m. at the Marcus Midtown Cinema (3201 Farnam Street) in Omaha. Tickets cost just $20 each (sales tax included) and must be purchased no later than Thursday, Nov. 21. Parking is available in the adjacent garage (three hours free parking).
To reserve your seat at this informative and entertaining event, call the Huskers Athletic Fund at (402) 472-2367 or 800-8-BIG RED, or visit www.huskers.com/donate.
FIRST HUSKER HOOPS HAPPY HOUR SET FOR FRIDAY
After a successful first year, the Husker Hoops Happy Hour events return this season! Join Husker fans and special guests throughout the season at these fun, casual events, with the first set to be held on Friday, Nov. 15, from 5-7 p.m. at Mellow Mushroom, across the street from Pinnacle Bank Arena. The event will feature door prizes, trivia, special guests, and the chance to mingle with the coaches during the second hour. There is no cost to attend, and no RSVP is required.