Huskers Look to Bounce Back vs. Wake Forest
2012-13 Record: 4-1, 0-0 Big Ten
Head coach: Tim Miles
Record at Nebraska: 4-1 (1st year)
Career Record: 287-221 (18th year)
WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS
2012-13 Record: 3-2, 0-0 ACC
Head coach: Jeff Bzdelik
Record at Wake Forest: 24-44 (3rd year)
Career Record: 134-146 (10th year)
HUSKERS ON TV/RADIO/INTERNET
Television: ESPNU and also on WatchESPN
Television: ESPNU (DirecTV Ch. 208, Dish Ch. 141, Ch. 235 on Time Warner Cable; Ch. 220 on Cox Cable)
Play-by-play: Adam Amin
Color: Bob Valvano
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: None
HUSKERS LOOK TO BOUNCE BACK AT WAKE FOREST
The Nebraska men's basketball team hits the road for the first time this season, as the Huskers trek to Winston-Salem, N.C., to take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge presented by Dick's Sporting Goods.
Tipoff from Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum is set for 8:15 p.m. and the game will be televised nationally on ESPNU with Adam Amin and Bob Valvano on the call. The Huskers' game at Wake Forest is available on the WatchESPN app and WatchESPN.com.
Tuesday's game will be carried across the state on the 29-station Husker Sports Network, including primary 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 on Huskers.com and is also available on the Huskers' app on iOS or android devices.
Tuesday's matchup is part of the two-day ACC/Big Ten Challenge which takes place on campus sites on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Big Ten has won the last three Challenges, including an 8-4 mark last season, after the ACC won the first 10 events.
On Tuesday, the Huskers will have a rematch against a Wake Forest team which pulled out a 55-53 win in Lincoln last November. In that game, C.J. Harris hit a leaning bank shot with three seconds left to give the Demon Deacons the win.
Nebraska (4-1) looks to bounce back following a 74-60 loss to Kent State in the Joe Cipriano Nebraska Classic Saturday night. Senior guard Dylan Talley led the Huskers with a career-high 27 points, but Nebraska struggled on the defensive, allowing the Golden Flashes to shoot 60 percent in the second half, to deny the Huskers the outright title of the Cipriano Classic. Talley has performed well in his first season as a starter, pacing the Huskers in scoring at 16.2 points per game to rank seventh in the Big Ten. Of the top 15 scorers in the Big Ten, he is the only one who was not a starter last season. The 6-foot-5 guard also leads NU in assists (3.0 per game) and is second in rebounding (6.2 per game).
Wake Forest is 3-2 on the season following a 63-57 win over William and Mary last Friday and brings a two-game win streak into the matchup with Nebraska.
By The Numbers
11.0 - The Huskers rank fourth in the Big Ten in turnovers per game entering this week's action. NU, which lost its top three point guards off of last year's team, matched its season low for turnovers with nine in Saturday's loss to Kent State. Last year, the Huskers averaged 15.2 turnovers in their first five contests.
4th- Tuesday's game between the Huskers and Wake Forest will be the fourth time that Tim Miles and Jeff Bzdelik have faced each other. While at Colorado State, Miles went 1-2 against Bzdelik, winning the last meeting during the 2009-10 season after Bzdelik's Colorado squad won in 2007 and 2008.
3- Number of double-doubles that Nebraska players have over the last two seasons, all coming from senior forward Brandon Ubel. He comes of a 17-point, 13-rebound effort Saturday night against Kent State.
THE BIG TEN/ACC CHALLENGE
The 2012-13 season marks the 14th season that the Big Ten/ACC Challenge has taken place. The ACC won the first 10 editions of the event before the Big Ten broke through with a pair of 6-5 victories in 2009 and 2010 before winning eight of 12 matchups last year.
The winner of the event receives the Commissioner's Cup. In the event of a 6-6 tie this year, the Commissioner's Cup will remain with the conference that won the previous year.
Since 2000, the ACC (10) and the Big Ten (10) have combined for 20 Final Four appearances and six national titles: North Carolina (2005 and 2009), Maryland (2002), Duke (2001 and 2010) and Michigan State (2000).
UP FOR THE CHALLENGE
This the fifth consecutive year that Nebraska has appeared in a conference challenge event. Prior to joining the Big Ten last season, the Huskers went 3-1 in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series, equaling the best performance by a Big 12 school in the event during the event's four-year tenure.
SCOUTING WAKE FOREST
Former Colorado coach Jeff Bzdelik is his third season at Wake Forest after recent stints at Colorado (2007-10) and Air Force (2005-07) and a long stint in the NBA. The Demon Deacons are 3-2 on the season and have won two straight games entering the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, posting wins over Mercer (74-71) and William and Mary (63-57). Wake Forest also took UConn to the wire before falling, 77-71, in the opening round of the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands.
The Demon Deacons brought back a pair of All-ACC performers from a team that finished 13-18 and placed ninth in the ACC with a 4-12 mark. Senior guard C.J. Harris earned third-team All-ACC honors a year ago and comes into Tuesday's contest averaging a team-high 15.8 points per game while shooting 51 percent from the floor. Junior forward Travis McKie, who took home honorable-mention all-conference honors in 2011-12, is second in scoring at 15.6 points per game and is among the ACC leaders in rebounding at 9.0 per game. The pair is joined by a trio of freshman in the starting lineup, including Codi Miller-McIntyre, who averages 9.0 points and a team-high 2.6 assists per game from his guard spot.
Tuesday's meeting is the second meeting between the two programs, as the Huskers are just 4-6 all-time against current ACC programs. Wake Forest is 10-2 all-time in ACC/Big Ten Challenge games, including 6-0 at home.
LAST SEASON'S MATCHUP
C.J. Harris' layup with 3.6 seconds remaining in regulation lifted Wake Forest to a 55-53 win over Nebraska. Harris, who finished with 12 points and five assists, went around a screen at the top of the key, drove the line and flipped it off the glass, giving the Demon Deacons the winning margin.
Nebraska had a chance to take the lead on its previous possession, but Bo Spencer, who led three Huskers in double figures with 13 points, missed a short runner in the lane to give the visitors a final possession and chance for a win. Nebraska also had a chance at the buzzer, but Spencer's desperation heave from midcourt bounced off the rim, allowing the Demon Deacons to escape with the win.
Chase Fischer and Carson Desrosiers led Wake Forest with 13 points apiece, as the Demon Deacons placed four in double figures.
Toney McCray and Jorge Brian Diaz joined Spencer in double figures with 12 points apiece, but the Huskers shot just 38.6 percent. In a game which saw nine ties and seven lead changes, neither team could break away in the second half, as the final 20 minutes saw neither team led by more than three points after the Huskers took a 26-25 halftime advantage.
LAST TIME OUT
Despite a career-high 27 points from Dylan Talley, the Nebraska basketball team saw its four-game win streak snapped with a 74-60 loss to Kent State in the Joe Cipriano Nebraska Classic Saturday evening.
Talley led all scorers with 27 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, six rebound and three assists, as he bettered his previous Husker high of 22 points against UNO last Sunday. It also topped his previous collegiate career high, as he had a 25-point effort as a freshman at Binghamton.
The Huskers were done in by a hot-shooting Kent State squad which shot 60 percent in the second half and 57.1 on the night, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range. The Golden Flashes outscored the Huskers, 42-27, in the second half and became the first Husker opponent this season to shoot over 50 percent.
After Nebraska took a one-point lead in the locker room, Chris Evans keyed a 9-2 run for the Golden Flashes, scoring five straight points, including a three-point play, to help the visitors build a 42-35 lead. Evans led three KSU players with 19 points, hitting 8-of-9 shots from the field. Kent State led 48-41 before Nebraska ran off six straight points to pull within 48-47 after a Brandon Ubel put back with 11:33 remaining. NU was within 50-49 after a Talley jumper with 10:48 left, but the Golden Flashes took control with a 16-4 run over the next six minutes.
While Evans led the Golden Flashes offense, Darren Goodson provided a big boost for Kent State off the bench with 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting in just 17 minutes.
Ubel joined Talley in double figures with 17 points and a career-high 13 rebounds for his second double-double of the year. The senior hit 6-of-8 shots from the floor in 37 minutes.
WORTH NOTING FROM THE KENT STATE GAME
- Dylan Talley went over 20 points for the second time this season with a career-high 27 points (NU high was 22; career high was 25).
- Brandon Ubel posted his second double-double of the season and third of his career with 17 points and a career high 13 rebounds. Ubel's previous rebound high was 12 against Southern, and was the most by a Husker since Ryan Anderson had 13 against Colorado in the 2009-10 season.
- Mike Peltz grabbed a career high six rebounds, including four on the offensive glass.
- David Rivers had multiple blocks for the second time this season
- Kent State shot a season-high 57.1 percent against NU (Previous high was 46.7 percent by UNO on Nov. 18)
- The Huskers set season bests for free throws made (17) and (26) for the second straight contest.
- Nebraska, Kent State, Valparaiso and Tulane all finished the Joe Cipriano Classic with 3-1 records, as Tulane won the tiebreaker for fewest points allowed in the four tournament games with 230.
CREEP, WALK, CRAWL, RUN
With four new starters and a rotation which includes two current or former walk-ons, it has taken some time to implement 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 to Tuesday's contest with Wake Forest ranked eighth, ninth and 11th, in those respective categories.
One area where Nebraska has made early strides is getting to the free throw line more often. NU averaged just 10.0 attempts in its first three games, but has totaled 45 in two games last week, including a season-high 26 attempts against Kent State.
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 came into this season with 59 career starts at Nebraska, while the remaining seven returnees had combined for seven career starts for the Scarlet and Cream.
While most known for his rebounding, Ubel has picked up the scoring slack in the early going, averaging 15.6 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, as heranks second in rebounding and eighth in scoring. He is one of five players, including preseason All-Americans Cody Zeller and Deshaun Thomas, to rank among the Big Ten leaders in both scoring and rebounding.
Ubel already has a pair of double-doubles in 2012-13, a 21-point, 12-rebound effort against Southern on Nov. 11, and a 17-point, 13-rebound outing in the loss to Kent State on Nov. 24. Ubel's 13 rebounds against the Golden Flashes were the second-highest total in the Big Ten this season.
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 each of the Huskers' first five contests despite averaging less than 10 attempts per contest. 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.
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 tied for eighth on Nebraska's career free throw percentage, as he went over 200 career free throw attempts on Nov. 24 against Kent State. Last year, Ubel shot 82.5 percent from the foul line.
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.
TALLEY TAKES OFFENSIVE ROLE
Senior Dylan Talley came into the 2012-13 season as the Huskers' most proven scorer and has shown versatility early in the season. The 6-foot-5 senior enters Tesday's game averaging 16.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game - the only player in the Big Ten averaging at least 15 points, six rebounds and three assists per game entering this week's action. He is seventh in the league in scoring, 12th in assist-to-turnover ratio and 17th in rebounding while playing a team-high 35.2 minutes per game after being limited for most of last year with a thigh injury.
Talley put on a display against Kent State on Nov. 24, scoring a career-high 27 points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out three assists, as Nebraska suffered its first loss. Talley is averaging 21.0 points per game over Nebraska's last three games, beginning the stretch with a then-NU best 22 points against Nebraska-Omaha on Nov. 18. He also paced the Big Red with 17 points and seven assists in a 61-57 win over Tulane on Nov. 21.
His biggest effort this year may have come in the only game he was held out of double figures. Against Valparaiso, Talley scored one point, but topped NU in rebounds (six) and assists (four) while holding reigning Horizon League Player of the Year Ryan Broekhoff to just 2-of-11 shooting in NU's 50-48 win.
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.
RETURN OF THE REDSHIRTS
While Nebraska had six returning letterwinners back from the 2011-12 team, it is a pair of returning redshirts who have taken the slack from a lineup which lost four starters from last year. Senior center Andre Almeida and junior guard Ray Gallegos have played major roles early on.
Almeida missed all of last season following a knee injury after playing 30 games in 2010-11, but has been healthy and playing solid basketball early on. He is averaging 7.6 points on 54 percent shooting, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game, ranking ninth in the Big Ten in blocked shots. After a slow offensive start, Almeida enjoyed one of his best games of his career against UNO on Nov. 18. Almeida totaled 19 points on 9-of-11 shooting, and matched his career best with seven rebounds. Against Tulane, the 6-foot-11 center keyed Nebraska's second half effort with 10 points, six rebounds and four blocks, scoring nine of his 10 points in the second half.
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 third-ranked Texas. Almeida was a force on the defensive end, ranking sixth in the Big 12 in blocked shots.
Gallegos used his redshirt year to get stronger and worked on improving his all-around game and the signs have been evident early in the season. Gallegos, who averaged 2.6 points per game in 2010-11, is third on the team in scoring at 11.6 points per game, while ranking fifth in the Big Ten with 2.6 3-pointers per game. He is shooting 35 percent from 3-point range and has been in double figures in four of the Huskers' first five contest after reaching double figures just three times in his first two seasons.
Gallegos racked up a career-high 16 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, in the opener against Southern and had 14 points, including a career high four 3-pointers, in wins over Valparaiso and Tulane.
As a sophomore, he 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.
With a short bench, the Huskers have relied on their starters often through the early part of the season. The Huskers three of the top nine players in minutes per game entering the week, including a team-high 35.2 minutes per game from Dylan Talley. Over the last 14 years, only one player - Charles Richardson Jr. in 2006-07 - has averaged more minutes than 32.5 minutes per game, while NU has three players on track this season to eclipse that mark.
PARKER MAKES A POINT
The lone freshman in the Husker starting lineup, Benny Parker became only the 10th freshman to start a season opener since 1995. Parker has been steady early on, averaging 6.0 points on 54 percent shooting and 2.8 assists per game. Parker has a 2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio and has had one turnover or less in four of the Huskers' first five games.
Parker dished out a career-high seven assists and had one turnover in Nebraska's 61-57 win over Tulane on Nov. 21. 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.
Of Nebraska's three active point guards playing this season, two are Division I newcomers, as junior college transfer Mike Peltz joined the team in October. Sophomore Trevor Menke is the Huskers' other primary point guard, as junior college transfer Deverell Biggs is redshirting this season.
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 early on, as he has averaged 4.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per game, as the Huskers' sixth man entering Tuesday's game at Wake Forest. He has already eclipsed his entire freshman year totals in points, rebounds and blocked shots in just five games.
Rivers totaled six points, two rebounds and had a pair of blocked shots in Saturday's loss to Kent State. Rivers had seven points and five rebounds against Valparaiso and established personal bests in minutes (27), rebounds (six) and assists (three) in the opener against Southern.
SHIELDS RETURNS TO ADD DEPTH
For the first three games, Nebraska relied on eight scholarship players, as Shavon Shields was sidelined by an elbow injury. He was cleared for practice on Nov. 20, and made his debut the following night, playing 14 minutes against Tulane. Shields did not play in Saturday's loss to Kent State because of the elbow.
His return helps the Huskers depth, as NU has only nine scholarship players available for the 2012-13 season, a total which includes former walk-on Trevor Menke. Of NU's nine scholarship players, only four (Dylan Talley, Brandon Ubel, David Rivers and Menke) saw action for the Huskers during the 2011-12 season.
Shields will also look to give the Huskers another scoring option, as only six players broke the scoring column in the Huskers' first three contests before Mike Peltz hit a 3-pointer in the win over Tulane. Nebraska has just 27 points off its bench in the first five contests.