Huskers To Tangle with Gophers Tuesday
Game 22: at Minnesota
Game Date: Jan. 29, 2013
Tipoff Time: 8:06 p.m.
Venue: Williams Arena
2012-13 Record: 11-10, 2-6 Big Ten
Head coach: Tim Miles
Record at Nebraska: 11-10 (1st year)
Career Record: 294-230 (18th year)
Minnesota Golden Gophers
2012-13 Record: 15-5, 3-4 Big Ten
Head coach: Tubby Smith
Record at Minnesota: 118-73 (6th year)
Career Record: 505-218 (22nd year)
Huskers on TV/Radio/Internet
Television: BTN and BTN2Go
(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)
Play-by-play: Dave Revsine
Color: Jim Jackson
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; Color: Matt Davison
Internet Radio/Stats: Free on Huskers.com
Satellite Radio (UM feed): Sirius Ch. 91, XM Ch. 91
Huskers To Tangle with Gophers Tuesday
The Nebraska men's basketball team looks for its second consecutive road win Tuesday night, as the Huskers travel to historic Williams Arena for a matchup with the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Tip-off is set for 8:06 p.m. and the game will be carried nationally on BTN with Dave Revsine and Jim Jackson on the call, as every remaining Husker game in 2012-13 will be televised nationally. The matchup with the Golden Gophers is also available on BTN2GO.
Tuesday's game will be carried across the state on the 29-station Husker Sports Network, including flagship stations KLIN (1400 AM/94.5 FM) in Lincoln, KFAB (1110 AM) in Omaha and KRVN (880 AM) in Lexington, with Kent Pavelka and Matt Davison calling all of the action. The game can be heard for free at Huskers.com and is also available on the Huskers' app on iOS or android devices.
The Huskers (11-10, 2-6 B1G) look to build some momentum following a solid 64-49 win over Northwestern on Saturday afternoon. In that game, Nebraska's defense held the Wildcats to 32.1 percent shooting, as Northwestern became the third Husker foe held under 50 points this season. Nebraska also out-rebounded the Wildcats, 42-33, including 12 rebounds from Brandon Ubel. Another encouraging sign was the Huskers' offense in the second half, as Nebraska shot 54 percent from the field and outscored Northwestern, 40-27, after the break. Dylan Talley led the Huskers with 20 points and eight rebounds, marking his first 20-point game in Big Ten play.
Nebraska's offense has been more consistent in the last two weeks, averaging 59.8 points per game over the last four games. That is a significant increase on the 47.0 ppg the Huskers averaged in their first four Big Ten contests. Part of the reason for the improved scoring has been getting to the foul line more often. The Huskers averaged over 20 free throws per game over the last four games after getting to the line a total of 28 times in NU's first four conference tilts.
Minnesota (15-5, 3-4 Big Ten) comes into Tuesday's game looking to snap a four-game losing streak. The Golden Gophers, who were ranked ninth two weeks ago, were held to under 50 points in their last two games, including a 45-44 loss at Wisconsin on Saturday.
By the Numbers
5 - Number of double-figure rebounding efforts for Brandon Ubel following his 12-rebound performance against Northwestern. Prior to this season, Ubel had only one game in his career with 10 or more rebounds. Ubel is fourth in the Big Ten in rebounding at 7.0 rebounds per game, which would be the highest average by a Husker since Aleks Maric in 2007-08.
15 - The 15-point margin of victory on Saturday over Northwestern was the Huskers' largest in a home game this season. The previous high was 13 against Nebraska-Omaha back on Nov. 18.
40% - Nebraska is 10-0 on the season when they shoot at least 40 percent from the floor and 1-10 in games where they don't meet that mark.
2008 - The last season that Nebraska held two conference opponents to under 50 points. It has now happened four times in the last decade (also 2004 and 2006).
Under Tubby Smith, Minnesota comes into Tuesday's game with a 15-5 record, but are just 3-4 in Big Ten games. Smith is in his sixth season at Minnesota following stints at Kentucky, Georgia and Tulsa. His teams won 20 straight games in his first four years at UM before dipping to 17-14 in 2010-11. Last year, Minnesota went 23-15, as the Gophers lost to Stanford in the NIT championship game. Minnesota returned four starters from that team and regained the services of sixth-year senior Trevor Mbakwe, who was forced to redshirt after suffering a torn ACL.
Minnesota went 12-1 in non-conference play with the only loss coming to Duke in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. The Gophers opened Big Ten play with three straight wins, including a 13-point win over Michigan State and an impressive 17-point win at Illinois and were ranked as high as ninth in the country. Since then, Minnesota has lost its last four games, including contests at No. 5 Indiana and No. 5 Michigan before going winless in road games at Northwestern and Wisconsin.
Minnesota is a balanced squad with four players averaging double figures and a fifth at 9.8 points per game while featuring a rotation that goes 10-deep. Sophomore Andre Hollins leads UM in scoring at 14.2 ppg, including a 41-point effort against Memphis which is the highest scoring effort in the Big Ten this season. Mbakwe is the lone starter not in double figures, but he leads the Big Ten in rebounding at 8.7 per game and is fourth in field goal percentage at .595. In Big Ten play, he is averaging 11.4 rebounds per game, which is nearly two more than any other player. The Gophers are third in the Big Ten in scoring offense at 73.2 points per game, but have been deadly on the glass, out-rebounding opponents by over nine rebounds per game. Minnesota leads the Big Ten and is among the national leaders in offensive rebounding with 15.8 boards per game.
Nebraska-Minnesota Series History
Nebraska and Minnesota will meet for the 66th time on Tuesday, which is the most between the Huskers and any other Big Ten member. To put it in perspective, Nebraska had faced the other 10 teams in the league just 96 times prior to joining the Big Ten in 2011.
It is also NU's longest-running series in the Big Ten, as it dates back to February of 1902. The Gophers lead the all-time series, 50-15, including a 34-6 lead in Minneapolis. Nebraska's last win in Williams Arena was a 77-60 win on Dec. 29, 2003. NU and Minnesota met in non-conference action every year from 1995 until 2004 after not playing for 16 years.
Worth Noting: Nebraska assistant coach Ben Johnson is a Minneapolis, Minn., native and played his final two years with the Gophers after transferring from Northwestern. Johnson averaged 11.5 ppg for the Gophers in 2003-04. Minnesota backup center Elliott Eliason is from Chadron, Neb., and averages 2.0 ppg and 3.1 rpg. Nebraska is 1-2 all-time against ranked Minnesota teams, but all three meetings have come in Lincoln.
Last year in Lincoln: Bo Spencer's 18 led three Huskers in double figures, but a second half scoring drought doomed Nebraska in a 69-61 loss to Minnesota on Feb. 5. The Huskers and Gophers were tied at 39 with 12:27 left after Spencer hit a pair of free throws, but then went scoreless for nearly six minutes, as Minnesota used a 9-0 run to take the lead for good. The Huskers, who missed 14 of their first 16 shots from the field in the second half, were still in striking distance, as Toney McCray's 3-pointer cut the lead to 48-42 with 6:39 left, but could not get closer. Chip Armelin came off the bench to score a team-high 15 points, as Minnesota shot 54 percent, including 67 percent after halftime.
Last year in Minneapolis: Despite a game-high 23 points from Bo Spencer, the Nebraska men's basketball team fell at Minnesota, 81-69 in the regular season finale. Spencer scored all 23 of his points in the second half, including 7-of-12 from 3-point range, to pace three Huskers in double figures, but Minnesota used a balanced offense and timely 3-point shooting in the first half to snap a six-game losing streak. Chip Armelin came off the bench to pace five Gophers in double figures, as he scored 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Rodney Williams added 16 points and eight rebounds. Minnesota shot 54 percent from the field, including 10-of-22 from 3-point range, to pick up their first win since Feb. 5.
Last Time Out
Brandon Ubel and Dylan Talley combined for 34 points and 20 rebounds, leading Nebraska to an impressive 64-49 win over Northwestern Saturday afternoon.
Talley paced Nebraska with 20 points, while tying his season high with eight rebounds. The 6-foot-5 senior hit 8-of-15 shots from the floor in posting his fourth 20-point effort of the season and first in conference action. Talley also shined on the defensive end, holding Reggie Hearn, the Wildcats' leading scorer, to just six points on 2-of-11 shooting.
Ubel turned in another strong performance, as the Huskers were without Andre Almeida because of an injury suffered in practice earlier in the week. Ubel posted his fourth double-double of the year with 14 points and 12 rebounds, including seven offensive boards. Ubel, who played 39 minutes, also dished out three assists and blocked a pair of shots. His 12 rebounds were one shy of his career high, but marked a career high for a league game.
While Talley and Ubel paced the offense, a collective team effort helped limit Northwestern to 49 points, the Wildcats' second-fewest points this season. Northwestern shot just 32.1 percent from the field - the lowest effort against Nebraska this season - including 6-of-29 from the three-point line.
The Wildcats relied on Dave Sobolewski for the majority of their scoring, as the sophomore poured in a season-high 21 points, accounting for nearly half of Northwestern's total points. Jared Swopshire had 11 points and a game-high 16 rebounds, but the Wildcats were out-rebounded 43-34.
Leading 34-22 at the half, the Huskers put together one of their most efficient halves of the season. Nebraska hit 13 of their 24 shots in the second half, shooting 54.2 percent from the field. The Huskers led 35-31 before Ray Gallegos keyed a decisive 11-4 run with a trio of 3-pointers in a span of 2:36, as Nebraska extended its lead to 46-34 on Ubel's jumper. The Wildcats were within 52-40 after a 3-pointer from Sobolewski, but Talley answered right back with a pair of jumpers and Nebraska kept the Wildcats at bay down the stretch.
Quick Notes From the Northwestern Game
- Nebraska's 15-point margin of victory is its largest at home this season (previous high was 13 against UNO on Nov. 18).
- Nebraska held Northwestern to 32.1 percent shooting, the lowest shooting by a Husker opponent this year (previous low was 34.0 percent by Valparaiso on Nov. 18).
- Nebraska's 64 points marked the 10th time the Huskers scored at least 60 points in a game. In those games, Nebraska is 9-1, and has not lost when scoring above 60 points (NU scored 60 vs. Kent State). Nebraska shot 45.1 percent against Northwestern and is 10-0 on the season when shooting above 40 percent.
- Dylan Talley collected his fourth 20-point game of the season with 20 points and tied his season high with eight rebounds. Talley's 20 points were his highest total in a Big Ten game at Nebraska.
- The Huskers out-rebounded Northwestern 43-34, the first time in conference play Nebraska has out-rebounded an opponent.
- Brandon Ubel collected his fourth double-double of the season and fifth of his career with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Value the Basketball
Under Tim Miles, one thing the Huskers have done well is cut down on the number of turnovers. Despite losing its top three point guards from last year and losing its backup point guard to a season-ending injury, Nebraska is tied for third in the Big Ten and 13th nationally with 11.0 turnovers per game - two fewer per game than last season - and has committed 10 turnovers or less eight times this season. The Huskers had a school-record two turnovers against Purdue on Jan. 16, breaking the mark of three set on the three previous occasions. In Big Ten action, the Huskers are tied for second in the conference with 9.8 turnovers per game, trailing only Wisconsin, which has led the country in fewest turnovers in recent seasons.
Huskers Look to Match 2011-12 Win Total
The Huskers could match their entire 2011-12 win total on Tuesday night, as they go for their 12th win of the season. Nebraska went just 12-18 during last season. The Huskers have done it against a schedule which has been one of the 10 toughest in the country by Realtime RPI and RPIratings.com. Among Big Ten teams, only Minnesota has played a tougher schedule than Nebraska has entering this week's action.
In addition, the Huskers will look for their fourth win of the season against a ranked team. NU is 0-4 on the season against ranked foes, the last one coming in a 10-point loss at Michigan State on Jan. 13. Minnesota was 12th in last week's AP poll, but the new polls won't be released until later Monday afternoon. Nebraska is 59-225 all-time against ranked teams and has knocked off at least one ranked team in 11 of the past 12 seasons. Nebraska's last road win against a ranked team was a 65-59 win at No. 22 Texas A&M on Feb. 23, 2008.
Creep, Crawl, Walk, Run
With four new starters from last season and an eight-player rotation which includes only three players who saw action last season, there have been some bumps along the way, as the Huskers install a new offensive system and the headline has been a common mantra of Coach Miles during his first season on the job.
Last year, his Colorado State team led the Mountain West Conference in field goal percentage, 3-point percentage and free throw percentage, ranking in the top-10 nationally in both free throw and 3-point percentage. The 2012-13 Huskers come into Tuesday's game with Minnesota ranked 11th (.411), 11th (.292) and ninth (.677), in those respective categories. When Nebraska has put up points, they have enjoyed success, going 9-1 when scoring at least 60 points following Saturday's win over Northwestern.
One adjustment the Huskers have made recently is going to a bigger lineup and moving senior Dylan Talley to the point guard spot. Over the last five games, Talley and the Huskers have responded well, averaging 13.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game while posting a 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Learning to Win the Close Ones
After getting blown out in its Big Ten opener at No. 8 Ohio State, Nebraska has had opportunities in nearly every other Big Ten game. In the next five games, NU has made it a two-possession game in the last seven minutes of each of the next five games, including a chance to tie or take the lead against Wisconsin and at Michigan State. While NU was not able to pull out wins in the first four games, the Huskers found a way down the stretch against Penn State. In the final seven minutes at Penn State, the Huskers hit 60 percent of their field goals and went 9-for-9 from the foul line to earn a four-point win.
Against Illinois, NU trailed by nine with eight minutes left, but did not make a field goal the remainder of the contests. The situation was reversed against Northwestern, as Nebraska held a double-figure lead for the final 9:53 against the Wildcats.
Nebraska is 4-0 on the season in games decided by five points or less after going 4-3 in games decided by five points or less last season.
Huskers Look for Balanced Scoring
One of the biggest keys to success for the Huskers has been finding multiple scoring options. Nebraska has three players averaging in double figures on the season, while six players (Brandon Ubel, Dylan Talley, Ray Gallegos, Andre Almeida, David Rivers and Shavon Shields) have all scored at least 20 points at least once this season.
Nebraska has three players averaging at least 12.0 points per game, which would mark the first time that the Huskers have had three players average double figures in a season since 2005-06.
When Nebraska has three or more players in double figures, the Huskers are 9-2 following Saturday's win over Northwestern, but are just 2-8 when not putting at least three players in double figures.
Husker Defense Has been Solid
While Nebraska's offense has been in transition, the Huskers have done a good job slowing tempo and controlling things on the defensive end.
- The Huskers are sixth in the Big Ten in scoring defense, allowing just 61.2 points per game.
- NU has held 17 of its first 21 foes under their 2012-13 scoring averages, while three teams have been held to season lows. Only four teams have scored 70 against the Huskers this season.
- The Huskers have held 20 of 21 teams to under 50 percent shooting from the field, including nine teams to under 40 percent. Northwestern was held to 32.1 percent on Saturday, the Huskers' best defensive effort of the year.
- Nebraska is fourth in Big Ten games in scoring defense, allowing 61.8 points per game. Nebraska held Wisconsin over 20 points below its season average on Jan. 6, and limited Michigan to 62 points on Jan. 9 after the Wolverines averaged 94.5 points per game in their first two Big Ten games.
Developing Talent; Looking for Depth
While having to replace four starters and seven of the top nine scorers from last year, Tim Miles has had the challenge of putting players in new roles this year. The Huskers had five returning scholarship players in 2012-13, and all five are integral members of NU's rotation.
All five players have seen significant jumps in their averages from their last season of competition and are all enjoying personal bests in both scoring and rebounding. Prior to this season, the Huskers had only one player on the roster with a 20-point game as a Husker (Andre Almeida in 2010-11) and no returning player had averaged more than nine points per game.
One of the problems has been a lack of depth, as Coach Miles signed four players after arriving in late March (the three redshirts and Sergej Vucetic) while NU's other two scholarship freshman (Shavon Shields and Benny Parker) have been mainstays in the rotation. NU's depth will be improved next year, as Miles signed three players in the fall and has two scholarships available for the spring signing period.
Shields Erupts Against Penn State
Freshman Shavon Shields enjoyed one of the finest efforts by a Husker freshman with his 29-point effort at Penn State on Jan. 19.
- Shields 29-point effort tied for the second-highest scoring effort by a freshman in school history. Only Tyronn Lue, who had 30 points against Oregon in 1995, had more.
- His 10-of-11 shooting effort against the Nittany Lions is the second-best shooting night by a Big Ten player this season, trailing only David Rivers' 8-of-8 effort at Michigan State on Jan. 13.
- Shields also went 8-of-8 from the foul line, which tied for the second-best effort from the foul line by a Big Ten player this season.
- The 29 points matched the highest scoring effort in a conference game this year until D.J. Richardson's 30-point effort against the Huskers on Tuesday night.
- He also tied for team-high honors with six rebounds and added a career-high three steals while playing 38 minutes before fouling out.
- Shields earned Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week honors on Monday after averaging 23.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game in two games last week.
Ubel Proving Offense, Leadership
Senior Brandon Ubel came into the 2012-13 season as the Huskers' most known quantity and NU's most experienced player - by a wide margin. Ubel entered the season with 59 career starts at Nebraska, while the remaining seven returnees on the roster had combined for seven career starts for the Scarlet and Cream.
While most known for his rebounding, Ubel has picked up some of the scoring slack, averaging 12.9 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, as he ranks among the Big Ten leaders in both categories. Ubel missed two games with an elbow injury, the first games he missed since his freshman year, but returned against Penn State to score 12 points and grab six rebounds in 31 minutes off the bench and had 10 points and six rebounds against Illinois. Ubel dominated on the interior against Northwestern with 14 points and 12 rebounds, including seven on the offensive glass.
Ubel, who averaged only 5.7 points per game over his first three seasons at Nebraska, has become more offensive-minded as a senior, reaching double figures in 15 of the 19 games he has played. Entering the season, he had one double-double, but already has four this season for the Huskers (21 points & 12 rebounds vs. Southern, 17 points & 13 rebounds vs. Kent State, 15 points & 10 rebounds vs. Jacksonville State and 14 points and 12 rebounds vs. Northwestern). He is third in the Big Ten in double-doubles entering Tuesday's game with Minnesota.
Ubel nearly had another double-double against Wisconsin on Jan. 6 with 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and eight rebounds, along with a career-high three blocked shots. Ubel also had a team-high 10 rebounds at No. 2 Michigan on Jan. 9, the fourth time this year he has grabbed double figures in rebounds, before suffering the elbow injury in the final minutes of action. He began the season with a career-high 21 points in the win over Southern, before pacing Nebraska with 17 points in a 50-48 win over Horizon League favorite Valparaiso. Ubel had 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the loss to Kent State and also had 18 points, including 10-of-11 shooting from the foul line, against Nicholls State.
The 6-foot-10 forward is the Huskers' top returning rebounder (5.3 rpg) and second-leading scorer (6.7 ppg) while being one of the Huskers' most consistent performers at the free throw line.
Ubel is fourth on Nebraska's career free throw percentage list at 80.7 percent. Last year, Ubel shot 82.5 percent from the foul line. Ubel is shooting 94 percent (33-of-35) from the line dating back to Dec. 15.
Ubel closed out his junior season by playing some of the best basketball of his career, averaging 9.3 points on 68 percent shooting, 5.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game in the Huskers' final six contests. He reached double figures in scoring seven times in 2011-12, including a season-high 17 points against Iowa on Feb. 28, on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting from the floor.
Off the court, Ubel is a broadcasting major who will graduate in May. He has done some women's basketball play-by-by for the campus radio station and interned at a local ABC affiliate over the summer.
Talley Takes Offensive Role
Senior Dylan Talley came into the 2012-13 season as the Huskers' most proven scorer and has shouldered a significant role in NU's offense. The 6-foot-5 senior enters Tuesday's game with Minnesota averaging 13.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. He is 15th in the league in scoring and third in minutes played with 35.5 per game.
Talley has been in double figures in 16 contests and has topped the Huskers in scoring nine times this season, including 16 points in Tuesday's loss to Illinois and 20 points in Saturday's win over Northwestern. In that game, Talley hit 8-of-15 shots and also grabbed eight rebounds to help the Huskers pick up their first home win since Dec. 29. It was Talley's fourth 20-point effort of the season after not having one all of 2011-12.
He put on a display against Kent State on Nov. 24, scoring a career-high 27 points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out three assists. Talley also had 22 points against Nebraska-Omaha on Nov. 18 and 21 points, including a career-best six 3-pointers, against Central Michigan on Dec. 22.
Talley's role has changed in recent games, serving as one of the Huskers' primary point guards and helping to run the offense. Over the last five games, he is averaging 13.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.8 steals per game while posting a 1.8-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
He handled much of the point guard duties at No. 2 Michigan as Benny Parker battled foul trouble, and finished with 12 points and a then-career-high five assists. Talley started at point guard against No. 22 Michigan State on Jan. 13 and had 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists in 38 minutes. Against Purdue on Jan. 16, he had just six points, but led the Huskers in rebounds (eight), steals (four) and assists (three). He dished out a season-high six assists and added eight points and four rebounds in the win at Penn State on Jan. 19.
In his first season at Nebraska, Talley tied for the Big Ten lead in scoring by a reserve, averaging 8.9 points per game, as he was in double figures 11 times. Talley has been a prolific scorer throughout his collegiate career, earning America East Conference Rookie-of-the-Year honors in 2009-10, averaging 11.8 points per game at Binghamton University. At Blinn (Texas) College, he was sixth nationally in scoring at 23.0 points per game.
Gallegos Provides Ray of Light for Offense
One of the biggest surprises for the Huskers has been the emergence of Ray Gallegos. The fourth-year junior from Salt Lake City redshirted last year and spent the year adding strength and improving his shooting range. The work has paid off for Gallegos, who may be one of the Big Ten's biggest surprises in 2012-13.
Gallegos, who averaged 2.6 points per game in 2010-11, is second on the team in scoring at 12.7 ppg and ranks fifth in the Big Ten with 2.3 3-pointers per game. He has been in double figures 15 times this season after accomplishing the feat just three times in his first two years at Nebraska.
Gallegos has led the Huskers in scoring three times in conference play, including a 19-point night at No. 2 Michigan on Jan. 9. That was part of a seven-game stretch where he was in double figures each game before it was snapped against Purdue on Jan. 16. Gallegos had 15 points in the win over Penn State and keyed NU's second-half effort against Northwestern, scoring all 11 of his points in the second half, including a trio of 3-pointers in an 11-2 run to put the game away.
Earlier this season, Gallegos put on a show in El Paso, as he earned a spot on the Sun Bowl Invitational All-Tournament team. He averaged 20.5 ppg, including a career-high 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting in Nebraska's loss to UTEP. In the semifinals against Central Michigan, he scored 11 of Nebraska's first 16 points to help the Huskers get out to an early lead and finished with 19 points.
Gallegos put together the best two-game stretch of his career, posting consecutive 20-point efforts at Wake Forest and USC, a stretch where he shot 56 percent from 3-point range. Against USC on Dec. 3, Gallegos had a career-high six 3-pointers and scored the Huskers' final 11 points of the first half to break open a tie game. At Wake Forest on Nov. 27, he finished with a career-high 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting, as he made his first seven shots of the second half and totaled 17 of his 20 points after halftime.
Gallegos, who never played more than 27 minutes in any game during his first two seasons, leads the Big Ten and is sixth nationally with 37.0 minutes per game. He played every minute of the Huskers' first five Big Ten games and saw his streak of consecutive minutes end at 218:39 when he exited the game midway through the first half at Penn State on Jan. 19.
His minutes per game are the most since Dave Hoppen averaged 38.5 minutes per game in 1984-85. In the last 25 years, Charles Richardson Jr. is the only Husker to average more than 35 minutes per game for a full season when he averaged 36.3 minutes per game in 2006-07.
As a sophomore, Gallegos played in 25 games, including a start in the season opener, and averaged 2.8 points and 1.0 rebound per game. The Salt Lake City native's best game of 2010-11 came against Grambling, when he came off the bench for 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting.
Nebraska has enjoyed a pair of efforts with multiple 20-point games this season. Against Central Michigan, Dylan Talley (21) and David Rivers (20) both had at least 20 points in Nebraska's 89-74 win. Earlier this season, Andre Almeida and Ray Gallegos enjoyed 20-point efforts against Wake Forest on Nov. 27, marking the first time since March 5, 2007, that the Huskers had multiple players with 20-point nights. In that game, Marcus Perry (25); Aleks Maric (23) and Paul Velander (20) all eclipsed the 20-point mark.
Almeida Looks to Provide Inside Presence
As Nebraska hits the grind of the schedule, the Huskers will need a strong interior presence and are hoping Andre Almeida can fill the role. The 6-foot-11 senior averages 5.8 points on 51 percent shooting, 3.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game.
Almeida sprained his right ankle in the first half of the Big Ten opener at Ohio State on Jan. 2 and missed the Wisconsin contest before returning to action. His best effort since his return was eight points and four rebounds against Penn State on Jan. 16. Almeida came off the bench against Illinois and had four points and four rebounds in just 13 minutes of work, but did not play against Northwestern, as he suffered an injury in practice last week. Almeida is expected to return to action in time for Tuesday's game at Minnesota.
Almeida put together the best game of his career at Wake Forest on Nov. 27, when he had 20 points on 9-of-10 shooting and a career-high 11 rebounds to earn Big Ten Player-of-the-Week honors. His effort at Wake Forest marked the first time since 2009 that a Big Ten player had 20 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 90 percent from the field.
Almeida put together a dominant effort against UNO on Nov. 18, when he had 19 points on 9-of-11 shooting, and seven rebounds. Against Tulane on Nov. 21, the 6-foot-11 center keyed Nebraska's second-half effort with 10 points, six rebounds and four blocks, as he scored nine of his 10 points in the second half. Almeida had eight points and three blocked shots against USC and added six points, five rebounds and a season-high four blocked shots in the loss to Creighton. He made the most of his opportunities against Nicholls State with eight points on 4-of-5 shooting and six rebounds in his last game before the injury.
In 2010-11, he averaged 5.2 points on 56 percent shooting, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots per game as the Huskers' top reserve in the post. Almeida reached double figures on five occasions, including a 20-point, seven-rebound effort in his debut against South Dakota. Two of Almeida's best efforts of 2010-11 came against a pair of top-five teams, as he had 10 points and seven rebounds at No. 3 Kansas and 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting and five rebounds in 15 minutes off the bench in Nebraska's win over No. 3 Texas. Almeida was a force on the defensive end, ranking sixth in the Big 12 in blocked shots.
Shields Makes Name For Himself
For nearly the first month of the year, Nebraska relied on a shortened bench, as Shavon Shields missed five of NU's first six games with an elbow injury. A layoff following the win at Wake Forest helped Shields get back into game action, and the freshman has provided a much-needed boost.
On the season, Shields is averaging 7.4 points and 5.0 rebounds per game while averaging 25.8 minutes per game. In Big Ten play, he has continued to make strides, raising his scoring and rebounding numbers from his non-conference totals, averaging 9.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per outing. He is challenging to be the first Husker freshman since the 2005-06 season to average double figures in conference games. Shields was held to two points before fouling out against Illinois, but bounced back with six points and eight rebounds in the win over Northwestern.
Shields set career highs in both of the Huskers' games two weeks ago, highlighted by a 29-point effort at Penn State on Jan. 19. Shields hit 10-of-11 shots from the field and went 8-of-8 from the line in posting the highest scoring effort by a Husker this year. He also had team bests in both rebounds (six) and steals (three). On Jan. 16 against Purdue, Shields became the first Husker freshmen to lead the team in scoring in three seasons with 18 points and eight rebounds. Shields was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Jan. 21, the first time since 2009 that a Husker freshman was honored by the league.
Among Big Ten freshmen, he is second in rebounding in Big Ten games and third in field goal percentage (.500). Shields has also grabbed at least six rebounds in seven of the Huskers' eight Big Ten games, including a season-best nine rebounds at No. 8 Ohio State on Jan. 2.
At the Sun Bowl Invitational, he averaged 5.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, as he grabbed seven rebounds in each game. Against Jacksonville State on Dec. 18, Shields came off the bench to score a career-high 14 points, hitting 6-of-7 shots from the field and also added three rebounds and two steals to help NU snap a two-game losing streak.
Rivers Looks to Get into Offensive Flow
Throughout the summer and the preseason, one Husker returnee who was flying under the radar was sophomore David Rivers. The 6-foot-7 wing totaled only 20 points and 16 rebounds in 19 contests as a freshman, but has added nearly 20 pounds since last year and has made significant strides.
Rivers' improvement has been evident, as he is averaging 5.9 points and 3.3 rebounds per game while playing in all 21 contests. He has been at his best in the last 11 games, reaching double figures for the first three times of his career, as he averages 7.7 points per game on 56 percent shooting dating back to Dec. 22.
He made his first career start at No. 22 Michigan State on Jan. 13, leading the Huskers with 18 points on a perfect 8-of-8 shooting from the field. His eight field goals without a miss was one off Nebraska's single-game record, and he also chipped in six rebounds while playing all 40 minutes. Rivers broke out of a mini slump with eight points and four rebounds on Saturday against Northwestern.
Rivers put on a show in Nebraska's win over Central Michigan on Dec. 22, scoring a career-high 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting and matching his personal best with seven rebounds. His effort against CMU matched his entire season output as a freshman. Prior to that game, Rivers turned an ankle against Oregon and played just 11 minutes in NU's previous two contests.
Against Nicholls State on Dec. 29, Rivers cracked double figures for the second time in three games, totaling 12 points, six rebounds and a pair of steals in 28 minutes. He came off the bench to add seven points and four rebounds at No. 8 Ohio State on Jan. 2 after not scoring in Big Ten play as a freshman.
Parker Makes A Point
One of two freshmen who have started for the Huskers this season, Benny Parker became only the 10th freshman to start a season opener since 1995. Parker averages 3.0 points, 2.3 assists and 1.5 rebounds per game. Parker has a 1.4 assist-to-turnover ratio and has committed one turnover or less in 10 of NU's first 21 games. The Kansas City, Kan., native has shown his toughness during the season, overcoming foot and knee injuries without missing any playing time. He originally suffered the knee sprain in practice on Dec. 10, but played 27 minutes in the Huskers' loss at Oregon five days later.
Parker made a major contribution in NU's win at Penn State, as he played exceptional defense with two steals and also had two assists in 18 minutes of work. Against Northwestern, Parker had three points, three steals and three assists, while helping the Huskers outscore Northwestern by 22 points when he was on the court. Parker has provided a spark for the Huskers' second unit since coming off the bench on Jan. 13.
Parker dished out a career-high seven assists and had one turnover in Nebraska's 61-57 win over Tulane on Nov. 21, and totaled eight points, four assists and a career-high four steals at Wake Forest on Nov. 27. Against UNO on Nov. 18, he had eight points - all coming in the second half - after sitting most of the first half because of foul trouble. Parker also had seven points, three rebounds and three assists in a two-point win over Valparaiso on Nov. 15.
Parker was a four-year starter at Sumner Academy of Arts and Science, leading the school to an 85-15 mark and a pair of state titles during his high school career. As a senior, he averaged 24.8 points, 6.2 assists and 3.9 steals per game, winning the 2012 DiRenna Award, representing the top player in the Kansas City metro area.
Huskers Have Relied on Walk-Ons this Season
With the limited depth, Nebraska has relied on walk-ons Mike Peltz and Jordan Tyrance to play significant roles this season. Peltz saw action in 14 of NU's first 16 games as the first guard off the bench, averaging 2.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.1 points per game in over 15 minutes of action per contest before being sidelined with a knee injury. Peltz will have a patella tendon debridement on his left knee, and the typical rehab schedule for the surgery is three to four months, allowing him to be at 100 percent for offseason workouts.
Peltz had one of his best games of 2012-13 at Oregon, totaling four points and four rebounds in 15 minutes of action. Peltz played a career-high 22 minutes against Kent State, where he grabbed six rebounds, including four on the offensive glass, and had three rebounds and two assists in the win over USC on Dec. 3. Peltz tied for team-high honors with four assists in 18 minutes off the bench against Central Michigan.
In recent games, Jordan Tyrance has become an important part of the rotation following injuries to Peltz and Brandon Ubel. After playing just 13 minutes in Nebraska's first 16 contests, Tyrance has averaged 11.4 minutes per game over the last five contests.
The 6-foot-4 guard has given the Huskers solid efforts off the bench, including career highs of 10 points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes against Purdue on Jan. 16. He had four points, a pair of rebounds and a steal in Wednesday's loss to Illinois and played 12 minutes at No. 22 Michigan State on Jan. 13, totaling two blocked shots and two assists.
- Nebraska is 4-0 when it shoots above 50 percent from the field, but has struggled in its 10 losses, being held under 40 percent in each setback.
- The Huskers have held 20 of 21 opponents under 50 percent shooting this year, as Kent State, which shot 57.1 percent on Nov. 24, is the only foe to shoot better than 50 percent. The Huskers have also held nine opponents to under 40 percent shooting.
- Balance has been key for the Huskers, as Nebraska is 9-2 when three players reach double figures and just 2-8 when two players or less reach double digits.
- Nebraska's 89 points against Central Michigan on Dec. 22, was the Huskers' highest total since scoring 94 on Southern Utah on Dec. 29, 2009. It was also NU's highest total in a road or neutral site since scoring 89 in a 101-89 loss at TCU on March 15, 1999.
- Husker coach Tim Miles became just the sixth coach in the 117-year history of Nebraska basketball to win his first four games. In fact, only two Husker basketball coaches had won their first four games since 1920.
- Earlier this season, Miles becomes the first Nebraska Head Coach to win his first road game at Nebraska since Paul Schlisser in 1919-20, a 47-9 win over Hastings College on Jan. 13, 1920. Prior to Miles' win, the previous 14 Nebraska basketball head coaches had lost their first road game as Husker head coach.
- Nebraska's 16-point victory at Wake Forest was its largest road margin since a 77-60 win at Minnesota on Nov. 29, 2003, and the seventh-largest win over the past quarter century.
- Nebraska's win over Wake Forest marked the first time the Demon Deacons had lost at home in seven ACC/Big Ten Challenge games and was just their third loss in the series history.
- Nebraska's 51-point second half at Wake Forest was its highest scoring half since scoring 55 against Arkansas Pine Bluff on Nov. 15, 2010, a span of 67 games.
- Nebraska held Horizon League favorite Valparaiso to just 48 points in a 50-48 win, the Crusaders' lowest point total in 29 games dating back to Nov. 25, 2011. Over the last three-plus seasons, Valparaiso has been held to 50 points or less just four times.
- Nebraska's 50 points in the win over the Crusaders equaled the fewest the Huskers have scored in a win since a 50-44 win over Oregon State on Dec. 12, 2009.
- Nebraska held Southern to 55 points and Valparaiso to 48 points, marking only the fifth time in the last 60 years that the Huskers had held its first two opponents of the season to 55 points or less (1958-59, 1985-86, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2012-13).
- The Huskers defeated Jacksonville State while going 0-of-5 from 3-point range. It marked the first time since Feb. 14, 1998, that NU won a game without making a 3-pointer.
- Nebraska held Wisconsin to 47 points on Jan. 3, the fewest points allowed by Nebraska in conference action since giving up 46 in a win over Oklahoma on Jan. 30, 2010.