Huskers Take Down Florida Gulf Coast
Lincoln - 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 and added 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 three of its first four from long range. 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.
Favored to win the Atlantic Sun Conference, the Eagles shot just 44 percent, including 6-of-15 from 3-point range. Jones led FGCU with 17points and eight rebounds in a losing effort, while Thompson and Filip Cvjeticanin finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
The Huskers return to action Tuesday evening, when they take on Western Illinois. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Pinnacle Bank Arena and will be carried on the Husker Sports Radio Network and online on the Big Ten Digital Network.