Game 16: at Michigan
Game Date: Jan. 9, 2013
Tipoff Time: 6:01 p.m. (CT)
Venue: Crisler Arena
2012-13 Record: 9-6, 0-2 Big Ten
Head coach: Tim Miles
Record at Nebraska: 9-6 (1st year)
Career Record: 292-226 (18th year)
2012-13 Record: 15-0, 2-0 Big Ten
Head coach: John Beilein
Record at Michigan: 106-77 (6th year)
Career Record: 657-395 (29th 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: Kevin Kugler
Color: Greg Kelser
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 (Michigan feed): Sirius Ch. 123, XM Ch. 191
Huskers Travel to No. 2 Michigan
The Nebraska men's basketball team faces its second top-10 team in the last three games, as the Huskers travel to No. 2 Michigan Wednesday evening. Tipoff from Crisler Arena is set for 6 p.m. (central) and the game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
Wednesday'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 matchup between the Huskers and Wolverines will be televised nationally on BTN with Kevin Kugler and Greg Kelser on the call, as every remaining Husker game in 2012-13 will be televised nationally. Wednesday's game with the Badgers is also available on BTN2GO, including iOS or android devices.
The Huskers (9-6, 0-2 B1G) put together their best defensive effort of the season, holding Wisconsin to a season-low 47 points, but had just one basket in the final six minutes of a back-and-forth battle with the Badgers before succumbing 47-41. Nebraska shot just 37 percent from the field, including 2-of-12 from 3-point range. Dylan Talley and Ray Gallegos had 12 points each for Nebraska, but combined to go 0-for-8 from 3-point range, as the duo had combined for 58 of the Huskers' 67 3-pointers in the first 14 contests.
While NU's offensive has seen its share of struggles at times, the Huskers' defense has been solid for most of the season, holding eight of the Huskers' first 15 opponents to 60 points or less. Both of the Huskers' first two conference opponents were held to under their season average, but the Huskers may face their stiffest challenge of the season on Wednesday against the Wolverines.
Michigan (15-0, 2-0 B1G) comes into the contest ranking second in the Big Ten at 82.0 points per game, but has scored 90 or more points in three of the last four games, including 94.5 ppg in Big Ten play. All-American Trey Burke guides a Michigan attack that has four players in double figures, as the sophomore averages 18.2 points and a Big Ten best 7.5 assists per contest.
By The Numbers
2 - Freshman starters for Nebraska in Sunday's loss to Wisconsin (Shavon Shields, Benny Parker), marking the first time in 76 games that the Huskers started multiple freshmen.
3 - Number of blocked shots for senior Brandon Ubel against Wisconsin on Sunday, the most in the 109 games of his career.
6 - Number of scholarship players Nebraska played against Wisconsin, as Andre Almeida did not play because of an ankle injury.
7.0 - Rebounds per game for Shavon Shields in the Huskers' last five games. In Big Ten play, Shields is averaging a team-high 8.5 caroms per night.
47 - The fewest number of points allowed by a Husker team in conference play since allowing 46 against Oklahoma on Jan. 30, 2010.
Michigan comes into Wednesday's game with a 15-0 record and is one of the nation's four remaining unbeaten teams (Duke, Arizona and Wyoming). The Wolverines won the preseason NIT with wins over Pittsburgh and Kansas State and had been rolling in recent weeks. Michigan has won its last eight games by double figures, including routs of Northwestern and Iowa in Big Ten play. John Beilein is in his sixth season at Michigan following stints at West Virginia, Richmond, Canisius, LeMoyne, Nazareth and Eric Community College. Last year, he guided the Wolverines to a 24-10 record and shared the Big Ten title with Ohio State and Michigan State.
Michigan is one of the nation's most prolific offensive teams, ranking second in the Big Ten and seventh nationally in scoring offense while leading the Big Ten in field goal percentage (.522, second nationally) and 3-point percentage (.423, fourth). Sophomore Trey Burke makes the Wolverine offense go, as he leads the team and ranks third in the Big Ten in scoring at 18.2 ppg while topping the conference with 7.2 assists per game. He guides an attack which features four double-figure scorers, including junior Tim Hardaway Jr. and freshmen Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III. Stauskas leads all Big Ten freshman in scoring and is second nationally in 3-point shooting percentage (53.7 pct.)
Nebraska-Michigan Series History
Wednesday's meeting is the 10th between the Huskers and Wolverines and the only one of the regular season, as Michigan is one of the Huskers' four single-play opponents.
Michigan leads the all-time series, 7-2, in a series that dates back to 1949, although the Wolverines' win over the Huskers in the 1992 Rainbow Classic was later vacated. Michigan has been ranked in the national polls in four of the previous nine matchups and is second in this week's poll. One of Nebraska's two wins in the series was a 74-73 win over No. 1 Michigan at the NU Coliseum on Dec. 12, 1964. That win is one of three wins over No. 1 ranked teams in Nebraska's history.
Nebraska is winless in four games in Ann Arbor, but the two teams have not met in Ann Arbor since March 6, 1980, a 76-69 Wolverine victory.
Zack Novak's 14 points led three Wolverines in double figures, as No. 22 Michigan topped Nebraska, 62-46 on Feb. 8, 2012.
Novak scored 10 of his 14 points in the first half, as the Wolverines built a 22-15 halftime lead and took control with a 10-0 run early in the second half.
Nebraska was within 22-17 after a Brandon Ubel basket with 19:38 remaining, but Jordan Morgan keyed a 10-0 run over the next 4:33, scoring six of his eight points in a 10-0 surge as Michigan built a 32-17 lead with 15:05 left.
Stu Douglass and Trey Burke joined Novak in double figures with 13 and 12 points, respectively, as Michigan shot 52.2 percent on the night, including 11-of-24 from 3-point range. Bo Spencer paced Nebraska with 13 points, as Nebraska shot 39 percent, including 22 percent in the first half. Brandon Ubel grabbed nine rebounds for Nebraska, which out-rebounded Michigan, 29-22.
Last Time Out
An offensive cold spell down the stretch proved costly, as Wisconsin escaped Lincoln with a 47-41 win over the Huskers Sunday afternoon.
Wisconsin held Nebraska to just one field goal in the final six minutes, closing the contest on 10-3 spurt to pull away from a game that featured seven ties and nine lead changes. Ryan Evans' 3-point play with 5:56 left started a 7-0 surge for the Badgers, as the senior led Wisconsin with 10 points and a game-high 15 rebounds in a game that featured strong defense from both squads. Evans had five of his 10 points in the decisive run, as his jumper gave UW a 44-38 lead with 1:52 left.
Nebraska pulled to within three, at 44-41, on a three-pointer from Brandon Ubel with 1:00 left, but Traevon Jackson hit a tough jumper on the Badgers' next possession to keep the Huskers at bay.
Ubel was one of three Huskers to finish in double figures, totaling 10 points and eight rebounds before fouling out. Dylan Talley and Ray Gallegos had 12 points apiece, but the Huskers went just 2-of-12 from 3-point range against a stout Badger defense.
Scoring was tough for both teams, as Nebraska (9-6, 0-2 Big Ten) held Wisconsin a season-low point total on 37.7 percent shooting. Nebraska shot just 36.7 percent and allowed eight offensive rebounds which led to 10 second-chance points for the visitors.
Quick Notes From the Wisconsin
- Shavon Shields made his first career start on Sunday, the first time in 15 games NU used a different starting lineup. With Shields and Benny Parker in the lineup, it marked the first time since 2009-10 that the Huskers started two freshmen in a game.
- Nebraska held Wisconsin to a season-low 47 points, the eighth opponent held under 60 points this season. NU falls to 6-2 in those contests.
- Nebraska lost for the first time in eight games when getting three or more players into double figures.
- Brandon Ubel's 3-pointer with 2:24 left in the half was his first 3-pointer since Nov. 21. He went 2-for-2 from 3-point range after coming into the game just 1-of-9 from long distance. Ubel also had a career-high three blocked shots (previous high was two on five occasions).
- Nebraska was held to 36.7 percent and is now 1-6 this season when shooting less than 40 percent from the field.
- Shavon Shields grabbed eight rebounds and is averaging 8.5 rebounds per game in NU's two Big Ten games.
- NU committed just eight turnovers, the sixth time this season Nebraska committed 10 turnovers or less.
- Ray Gallegos tied a career high with three steals, as he also had three at Oregon on Dec. 15.
Huskers Against Ranked Teams
Nebraska will face its third ranked team of the season on Wednesday, as the Huskers take on No. 2 Michigan. Nebraska is 0-2 against ranked teams this season, falling to No. 16 Creighton on Dec. 6 and at No. 8 Ohio State on Jan. 2.
Nebraska is 59-223 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, while NU's most recent win over a top-10 team on the road was a 74-69 win at Iowa State on Feb. 22, 1997. The Huskers have lost their last 24 games away from home against top-10 teams, including 21 straight road games.
Big Ten Loaded in RPI
The Big Ten has a reputation for being one of the best conferences in college basketball and 2012-13 is no exception. Six teams are ranked in this week's national polls and nine of the 12 teams are in the top 100 of the NCAA's RPI released on Monday. The Huskers are in a stretch where they take on four straight top-100 RPI teams to open Big Ten action.
Learning to win the Close Ones
For most of the season, the Huskers have been good at winning the close games, going 3-0 in games decided by five points or less, but were unable to close out Wisconsin on Sunday. The Huskers led 38-37 with 6:16 left, but made just one of their final nine shots from the floor in the six-point loss to the Badgers. Last year, NU won just four of seven games decided by five points or less.
Balance Has been key to Success for Huskers
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 five players (Brandon Ubel, Dylan Talley, Ray Gallegos, Andre Almeida and David Rivers) have all scored at least 20 points at least once this season.
Nebraska has three players averaging at least 12.5 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 7-1 following Sunday's loss to Wisconsin, but just 2-5 when less than three players reach double digits. NU had three players in double figures, but just two points from its bench, as NU went to a seven-man rotation without Andre Almeida.
Creep, Crawl, Walk, Run
With four new starters from last season and an eight-player rotation which includes only two players who saw action last season, there have been some bumps 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 Wednesday's game at Michigan 10th, 10th and ninth, in those respective categories. Nebraska scored a season-high 89 points - its highest offensive output in four seasons - before being held to 52 points in the loss to UTEP.
Nebraska has struggled to find points in Big Ten play, averaging 42.5 ppg in losses to Ohio State and Wisconsin, and has gotten to the foul line just 13 times in two conference games.
Husker Defense Starts Strong
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 seventh in the Big Ten in scoring defense, allowing just 60.5 points per game. NU has held 12 of its first 15 foes under their 2012-13 scoring averages, while four teams have been held to season lows, including Creighton and Oregon, which both rank among the top-25 nationally in scoring offense. NU held Wisconsin nearly 25 points below its season average in Sunday's loss to the Badgers. The 47 points allowed marked the fewest points NU had allowed in a conference game in four years.
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 some of the scoring slack, averaging 12.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, as he ranks among the Big Ten leaders in both categories.
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 12 of the Huskers' first 15 contests despite averaging less than nine attempts per contest.
Ubel, who had one double-double in his first three seasons at Nebraska, has three this season, a 21-point, 12-rebound effort against Southern on Nov. 11, a 17-point, 13-rebound outing in the loss to Kent State on Nov. 24, and a 15-point, 10-rebound effort against Jacksonville State on Dec. 18. He enters the week ranked third in the Big Ten in double-doubles. Ubel nearly had his fourth double-double of 2012-13 against Wisconsin on Sunday with 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and eight rebounds, along with a career-high three blocked shots.
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 at 80.1 percent. Last year, Ubel shot 82.5 percent from the foul line. Ubel is shooting 94 percent (25-of-27) from the line over Nebraska's last seven contests, as he did not get to the line against Wisconsin.
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 Wednesday's game at Michigan averaging a team-high 13.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. He is 13th in the league in scoring and third in minutes played with 34.9 per game.
Talley has been in double figures in 12 of Nebraska's first 15 contests and has topped the Huskers in scoring seven times this season. 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. It was one of three 20-point efforts for the senior, who did not score more than 18 points any game in 2011-12. 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.
His biggest contribution this year may have come in one of only three only game he was held out of double figures this season. 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.
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 the Huskers' most improved player in 2012-13.
Gallegos, who averaged 2.6 points per game in 2010-11, is second on the team in scoring at 13.0 points per game and ranks fifth in the Big Ten with 2.4 3-pointers per game. He is shooting 33 percent from 3-point range and has been in double figures 11 times after accomplishing the feat just three times in his first two years at Nebraska.
Among Big Ten players, he is sixth among all players in 20-point games this year - an impressive feat for a player whose career high in his first two years was 15 points.
Gallegos is averaging a team-high 15.4 points per game over the Huskers' last five games, and has led the Huskers in scoring in both Big Ten games following his 12-point afternoon against Wisconsin. Gallegos' five straight games in double figures is the longest stretch in his career.
Last month, 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, he scored 11 of Nebraska's first 16 points to help the Huskers get out to an early lead.
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 with 36.3 minutes per game and has played every minute of conference play. Gallegos' minutes per game is the most since Charles Richardson Jr. also averaged 36.3 minutes per game in 2006-07. In the last 25 years, Richardson is the only Husker to average more then 35 minutes per game.
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.
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.
Andre Provides Giant Inside Presence
The Huskers were without the services of Andre Almeida against Wisconsin, but he is expected to return to action on Wednesday against Michigan. Almeida has been a solid performer in the middle, as the 6-foot-11 senior averages 7.1 points on 57 percent shooting, 4.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. Almeida, who sprained his right ankle in the first half of the Ohio State game on Jan. 2, is sixth in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (.568) and 10th in blocked shots (1.3 per game).
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 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.
With a short bench, the Huskers have relied on their starters often through the first half of the season. Ray Gallegos and Dylan Talley rank first and third, respectively, in the Big Ten in minutes per game while NU has three players averaging over 31 minutes per night.
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, Nebraska is fifth in the Big Ten with 11.7 turnovers per game - nearly two fewer per game than last season - and has committed 10 turnovers or less six times this season. NU had eight turnovers in the loss to Wisconsin, the third time in the last four games the Huskers committed 10 turnovers or less.
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, averaging 3.8 points and 2.7 assists per game. Parker has a 1.6 assist-to-turnover ratio and has committed one turnover or less in seven of NU's first 15 games.
The Kansas City, Kan., native has shown his toughness over the last month, battling foot and knee injuries and not missing any game action. Parker had one turnover while playing a career-high 31 minutes in the loss to Wisconsin on Sunday. 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 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. Against No. 16 Creighton, Parker was held scoreless, but had five assists in the losing effort.
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 after walking on 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 5.3 points and 3.4 rebounds per game as the Huskers' sixth man in 2012-13.
Rivers has surpassed his entire freshman year totals in every offensive category and had averaged 20.1 minutes per game this year. He is in the midst of the best stretch of his career, averaging 8.2 points per game on 64 percent shooting and 4.0 rebounds over the Huskers' last five games.
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. Prior to that game, Rivers turned an ankle against Oregon and played just 11 minutes in NU's previous two contests. Against Nicholls State, Rivers cracked double figures for the second time in three games, totaling 12 points, six rebounds and a pair of steals in 28 minutes against Nicholls State. He came off the bench to add seven points and four rebounds in Wednesday's loss at No. 8 Ohio State after not scoring in Big Ten play as a freshman. Against Wisconsin, he made his only shot in 16 minutes of action.
Shields Returns to Add Depth
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 to the Husker bench.
After playing once in NU's first six games, Shields has averaged 24.2 minutes per game over the Huskers' last nine games, averaging 5.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-6 freshman has been a force on the glass in recent games, averaging a team-high 7.0 rebounds per game over Nebraska's last five games. Shields pulled down a personal-best nine rebounds at No. 8 Ohio State on Jan. 2 and tied for team-high honors with eight rebounds in his first career start on Sunday against Wisconsin.
At 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.
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 also provides the Huskers with another scoring option, as NU was getting just 5.5 points per game from the bench in its first six contests before averaging 12.3 points per game in the last nine games.
- Nebraska is a perfect 4-0 when it shoots above 50 percent from the field, but has struggled in its six losses, being held under 40 percent in each setback.
- The Huskers have held 14 of 15 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 six opponents to under 40 percent shooting.
- Balance has been key for the Huskers, as Nebraska is 7-1 when three players reach double figures and just 2-5 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.
- The 89 points against Central Michigan was Nebraska'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.
- 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. Prior to the Wake Forest win, Nebraska has won nine road games by double figures over the last decade.
- 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.