Game 25: at Indiana
Game Date: Feb. 13, 2013
Tipoff Time: 6:01 p.m. (CT)
Venue: Assembly Hall
2012-13 Record: 12-12, 3-8 Big Ten
Head coach: Tim Miles
Record at Nebraska: 12-12 (1st year)
Career Record: 295-232 (18th year)
2012-13 Record: 21-3, 9-2 Big Ten
Head coach: Tom Crean
Record at Indiana: 76-78 (5th year)
Career Record: 266-174 (14th 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: Eric Collins
Analyst: Shon Morris
Sideline: Stephanie White
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
Analyst: Matt Davison
Internet Radio/Stats: Free on Huskers.com
Satellite Radio (Indiana feed): Sirius Ch. 93, XM Ch. 190
Huskers Look to Take Down No. 1 Hoosiers
The Huskers make their first visit to Assembly Hall since 1974, as Nebraska travels to No. 1 Indiana Wednesday night at 6 p.m. (central).
The game with the Hoosiers will be carried nationally on BTN with Eric Collins, Shon Morris and Stephanie White on the call, as every remaining Husker game in 2012-13 will be televised nationally. Wednesday's matchup with Indiana is also available on BTN2GO on iOS or android devices.
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 Huskers (12-12, 3-8 Big Ten) come into the week looking to play spoiler in the Big Ten race, as Nebraska faces both conference co-leaders this week. In addition to Wednesday's game against the top-ranked Hoosiers, Nebraska faces No. 8 Michigan State Saturday night in Lincoln.
While Wednesday's trip to Indiana is the Huskers' first-ever as a Big Ten member, Nebraska has faced an Indiana team ranked in the top two in its two previous matchups against the Hoosiers in the state of Indiana. In 1974, Nebraska lost to. No. 2 Indiana in Bloomington and in 1982, the Huskers fell to No. 1 Indiana in the Hoosier Classic in Indianapolis.
Nebraska comes off one of its best defensive efforts of the season Saturday night in a 67-53 win over Penn State. The Huskers held the Nittany Lions to 29 percent shooting, the best defensive field goal percentage in conference play since Jan. 11, 2006. Nebraska, which was last in the Big Ten in free throws made and attempted coming into the weekend, went 32-of-41 from the foul line, the Huskers' most free throws since 2005.
Indiana (21-3, 9-2 Big Ten) comes into Wednesday's matchup following an 81-68 win over No. 10 Ohio State, the first time the Hoosiers beat a top-10 team on the road since the 2000-01 season. Indiana, which is 14-1 at home this season and has spent two stints at the top of the polls this season, features two of the nation's top players in Cody Zeller (16.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg) and Victor Oladipo (14.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg).
By the Numbers
73 - Number of games since Nebraska held an opponent to a lower shooting percentage than the 29.2 percent that Penn State shot on Saturday (North Dakota, 27.6, Jan. 3, 2011).
12.3.06 - The date of the last meeting between Tim Miles and Tom Crean as head coaches. That night, North Dakota State, in its third year as a Division I program, beat eighth-ranked Marquette, 64-60 in the championship game of the Blue and Gold Classic in Milwaukee.
9- Rebounds that Brandon Ubel needs against Indiana to reach 500 for his career. He would become the 25th Husker to reach 500 career rebounds. He is also two points away from 800 for his career.
61 - 3-pointers by Ray Gallegos this season, a total which leads the Big Ten heading into this week's games. Gallegos needs two 3-pointers to move into a tie for 10th on NU's single-season list.
One of the longtime powers in college basketball, Indiana comes into Wednesday's game with a 21-3 record and is the nation's top team in this week's polls. The Hoosiers, who returned all five starters from a team which won 27 games before losing to Kentucky in the NCAA Sweet 16, began the season as the nation's No. 1 team and spent six weeks in the top spot before losing to Butler, 88-86, on Dec. 13. Indiana won 15 of its first 16 games before falling to Wisconsin, 64-59, at home on Jan. 15. The Hoosiers then rattled off five straight wins, including an 81-73 triumph over then No. 1 Michigan before falling at Illinois in the final seconds last Thursday. IU bounced back with an impressive 81-68 win at No. 10 Ohio State on Sunday.
Tom Crean is in his fifth season at Indiana after spending the previous nine years at Marquette, including a Final Four appearance in 2002-03. A former assistant to Tom Izzo at Michigan State, Crean's first three Indiana teams won a combined 28 games before posting consecutive 20-win seasons in each of the past two years. Crean is 1-2 all-time against Nebraska, splitting a pair of meetings during his tenure at Marquette before losing to the Huskers last year in Lincoln.
Indiana features one of the nation's top offenses, as the Hoosiers rank second nationally in scoring at 83.2 ppg, and lead the Big Ten in field goal percentage (.502), 3-point percentage (.425) and 3-point percentage (.425), as well as field goal defense (.385). Cody Zeller was the consensus national preseason player of the year as the 7-foot sophomore is fourth in the Big Ten in scoring at 16.5 ppg and second in rebounding at 8.3 rpg. Victor Oladipo is also among the league's top scorers at 14.3 ppg, while pacing all Big Ten players with 2.3 steals per game. Indiana is very balanced offensively with four players averaging double figures and sixth man Will Sheehey just under at 9.8 ppg.
Nebraska-Indiana Series History
Nebraska and Indiana meet for the 11th time Wednesday night, and the Huskers are looking for consecutive wins over the Hoosiers for the first time in school history. The Hoosiers lead the all-time series, 8-2, and had a seven-game win streak dating back to 1937 snapped last season in Lincoln.
The two teams split the first two meetings in Lincoln during the 1919-20 season, including a 38-18 Husker victory. Seven of the 10 matchups were played before the end of World War II. Including Wednesday's game, Indiana has been ranked in the top two in three of the last four meetings.
Nebraska's last trip to Bloomington was in 1974, when the Huskers lost to IU, 97-60, in the championship game of the Hoosier Classic. All-American Scott May led Indiana with 17 points and 15 rebounds in the game, while Ron Taylor paced the Huskers with 20 points.
Last Year's Meeting
Jorge Brian Diaz hit two free throws with 11.0 seconds left to cap Nebraska's comeback, as the Husker stunned No. 11 Indiana, 70-69.
Nebraska trailed 69-68 with 22 seconds remaining when Jordan Hulls missed the front end of a 1-and-1, and Brandon Richardson got the rebound to give the Huskers a final possession. NU gave the ball to Bo Spencer, who drove the lane and found Diaz under the hoop and drew contact. Diaz, who was 4-of-5 from the line and finished with 10 points and four rebounds, then calmly sank both free throws to give Nebraska its first lead since the 14-minute mark of the first half. Indiana had a final possession, but Hulls missed inside on a scoop shot before his long 3-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark.
Bo Spencer led four Huskers in double figures with a game-high 23 points, while Toney McCray (11 points) and Dylan Talley (10 points and nine rebounds) helped lead Nebraska from an 11-point deficit in the final 6:38. Trailing 63-52, McCray's 3-pointer ignited an 8-0 Husker spurt, as Nebraska pulled to within 63-60 with 4:28 remaining. Hulls, who finished with 12 points, hit a 3-pointer to end the run but Talley, who finished with eight of his 10 points down the stretch, answered with a 3-pointer to pull the Huskers within 65-63.
The game would be a one-possession contest the rest of the way, as Indiana pushed ahead at 69-66 after a pair of Hulls free throws, but Talley's jumper made it a one-point game.
Cody Zeller led Indiana with 18 points and seven rebounds, as the Hoosiers shot 51 percent, but committed 15 turnovers which led to 16 Nebraska points.
Taking on No. 1
Nebraska's game against the Hoosiers will be the Huskers' first against a No. 1 team since Feb. 6, 2010, when the Huskers lost a 75-64 decision at Kansas. In that game, Nebraska led 43-39 with just under 14 minutes left, but Kansas used a 15-1 to regain the lead and the momentum. Brandon Ubel started that afternoon against Kansas and had six points and two rebounds in 14 minutes, while Ray Gallegos grabbed two rebounds but missed his only shot in 10 minutes of action.
The Huskers have lost their last 10 matchups against No. 1 teams, dating back to a matchup with the Hoosiers on Dec. 30, 1982. Nebraska's last win over a No. 1 team was a 67-51 win at Missouri on Feb. 6, 1982.
NU is 0-6 this season against ranked foes, including five of NU's eight losses in Big Ten play. Nebraska is 59-227 all-time against ranked teams, but has knocked off at least one ranked team in 11 of the past 12 seasons.
The Huskers have lost their last 25 games away from home against top-10 teams, including 22 straight road games. 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 the Huskers' last road win over a top-10 team was a 74-69 win at No. 7 Iowa State on Feb. 22, 1997.
Last Time Out
Dylan Talley had 16 points and seven rebounds, as Nebraska put together one of its best defensive efforts of the season in a 67-53 win over Penn State.
Talley led three Huskers in double figures, as the Huskers snapped a two-game losing streak and returned to the .500 mark (12-12, 3-8 Big Ten). Brandon Ubel joined Talley in double figures with 14 points and nine rebounds while Ray Gallegos added 11 points, including a trio of 3-pointers.
The Huskers made a living at the foul line, setting season bests in free throws made (32) and attempted (41), while their 32 free throws was its highest total since 2005.
Nebraska clamped down defensively against Penn State, holding the Nittany Lions to 29.2 from the floor en route to its first conference sweep of an opponent since 2009. The Huskers held D.J. Newbill and Jermaine Marshall - Penn State's top two scorers - to a combined 7-of-24 shooting.
The Huskers took control of the game on the defensive end, using a 20-4 first-half run to regain the lead after the first 10 minutes saw the teams trade the lead back and forth. Nebraska held PSU without a field goal for a stretch of 11:26, as the Nittany Lions went just 5-of-25 from the floor in the half.
Nebraska asserted control early in the second half, using a 12-2 spurt behind Talley and Ubel to build its largest lead of the night at 45-28 with 14:11 left and led by double figures the rest of the way.
Quick Notes from the win over Penn State
- Penn State was held to 29.2 percent shooting tonight, the lowest by a Husker opponent this year. The previous low was 32.1 percent by Northwestern on Jan. 26.
- The Huskers picked up their 12th win of the season, matching the entire season total from 2011-12
- Nebraska picked up its ninth home win of the season, the 37th consecutive season finishing at or above .500 in the Devaney Center.
- Nebraska swept both regular-season meetings with Penn State, the first time the Huskers had swept a season series from a conference opponent since the 2008-09 season against Colorado.
- Nebraska's 67 points is its second-highest total in Big Ten play this season, trailing only the 68 scored at Penn State on Jan. 19. The Huskers have scored 60 or more points in three of the last four games.
- Nebraska out-rebounded PSU, 40-39, the second straight game where the Huskers had out-rebounded an opponent.
- David Rivers dished out a career-best five assists after having just 11 assists in the Huskers' first 22 games. His previous season and career best was three in the season opener against Southern on Nov. 11.
Huskers Look to top 2011-12 Win Total
The Huskers will look to eclipse last year's win total beginning Wednesday night, as the Huskers travel to Indiana. Nebraska picked up its 12th win of the season on Saturday against Penn State and is in the top-100 of the RPI following Sunday's games.
Despite losing five of the team's top six scorers from last year, Nebraska has equaled last year's win total against one of the nation's toughest schedules. NU's strength of schedule is 22nd nationally heading into the homestretch of the season and nine of the Huskers' 12 losses are against teams currently in the top 50 of the RPI.
Nebraska's schedule will not get any easier in the final month, as the Huskers seven remaining regular-season games are all against top 100 teams, including five currently in the top 31 nationally in RPI.
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 fourth in the Big Ten and 13th nationally with 10.9 turnovers per game - two fewer per game than last season - and has committed 10 turnovers or less 10 times this season, including eight in the win over Penn State. The Huskers are keeping heady company as two of the teams - Wisconsin and Michigan - are second and third nationally in fewest turnovers per game. The Huskers had a school-record two turnovers against Purdue on Jan. 16, breaking the mark of three set on the three previous occasions.
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 Wednesday's game with Indiana ranked 11th (.412), 10th (.300) and ninth (.684), in those respective categories. When Nebraska has put up points, they have enjoyed success, going 10-2 when scoring at least 60 points, following Saturday's win over Penn State.
One adjustment the Huskers have made recently is going to a bigger lineup and moving senior Dylan Talley to the point guard spot prior to the game at Michigan State on Jan. 13. Over the last eight games, Talley and the Huskers have responded well, averaging 12.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while posting a 1.3 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.
Six times in the last 10 games, Nebraska has been within two possessions in the final seven minutes of a game, including four times against ranked teams. 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 for its first Big Ten win on Jan. 19. 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 No. 11 Ohio State on Feb. 2, the Huskers were within five points and had the ball with 2:00 left, but were unable to trim the deficit.
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 11.5 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 10-4 following Saturday's win over Penn State, 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.
- Nebraska is seventh in the Big Ten and 72nd nationally in scoring defense, allowing 61.9 points per game.
- NU has held 19 of its first 24 foes under their 2012-13 scoring averages. Only five teams have scored 70 against the Huskers this season, as Minnesota's 84 points on Jan. 29 were a season high against the Huskers.
- The Huskers have held 22 of 24 teams to under 50 percent shooting from the field, including 11 teams to under 40 percent. The Huskers have held its last two opponents - Ohio State and Penn State - under 40 percent.
- Nebraska held Penn State to 29.3 percent shooting, the Huskers' best defensive effort in a conference game since holding Kansas State to 23.4 percent on Jan. 11, 2006.
•-Nebraska is fifth in Big Ten games in scoring defense, allowing 63.1 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 freshman 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.
Gallegos Goes for 30 vs. Gophers
Nebraska junior Ray Gallegos enjoyed the finest offensive performance of his career in the Huskers' loss at Minnesota on Jan. 29.
- His 30-point performance against the Gophers marked the 61st time a Husker had scored 30 points since Feb. 13, 2008, a span of 159 games. It also marked the first time a Husker guard had scored 30 points since Tyronn Lue did so during the 1997-98 season.
- Gallegos became the 24th player in school history to have a 30-point game at Nebraska. Of the 24 players, only 12 have multiple 30-point games in their Husker career.
- His 30 points tied the Big Ten high for a conference game, set two other times this year. In addition, he set Big Ten highs in conference play in field goals made (12) and 3-pointers (six), setting career bests in both categories.
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 in a single game.
- 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.
- Te 29 points ties for the fourth-highest total in a Big Ten conference game this season.
- 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 Jan. 23, after averaging 23.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game against Purdue and Penn 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 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 11.9 points and a team-high 6.9 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 has been in double figures in five of the past six games since returning to the lineup on Jan. 19, including 14 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots in the win over Penn State on Saturday. He had 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the loss to No. 23 Minnesota on Jan. 29, and 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 17 of the 22 games he has played. Entering the season, he had one double-double, but already has four this season (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).
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, 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 84 percent (49-of-58) from the foul line dating back to Dec. 15.
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 the Indiana game averaging 13.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. He is 15th in the league in scoring and third in minutes played with 35.6 per game.
Talley has been in double figures in 18 contests and has topped the Huskers in scoring 10 times this season, including a 16-point, seven-rebound effort against Penn State and 20 points against Northwestern on Feb. 26. In the win over the Wildcats, Talley hit 8-of-15 shots and also grabbed eight rebounds. It marked 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 eight games, he is averaging 12.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game while posting a 1.3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in that span. Talley's move has also benefitted the Huskers' offense, as they are averaging over 60 points per game in that stretch, a jump of over 16 points per game in the first three conference games.
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, leads the Huskers in scoring at 13.3 ppg and tops all Big Ten players with 61 3-pointers, which is two shy of 10th place on NU's single-season list. Gallegos has been in double figures 18 times this season after accomplishing the feat just three times in his first two seasons at Nebraska.
Gallegos has led the Huskers in scoring four times in conference play, highlighted by a 30-point effort at Minnesota on Jan. 29. In that game, he tied or set career bests in 3-pointers (six) and field goals (12) while becoming the first Husker since 2008 to have a 30-point game. His previous Big Ten high was a 19-point night at No. 2 Michigan on Jan. 9, which was part of a seven-game stretch where he was in double figures. Gallegos had 11 points in the Huskers' win over Penn State, and keyed Nebraska's win over Northwestern with 11 second-half points, 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 10th nationally with 37.3 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. He has sat just eight minutes in the Huskers' first 11 Big Ten contests.
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.
Shields Makes Name For Himself
After missing most of the first month of the season, Shavon Shields has become a mainstay in the Husker lineup.
On the season, Shields is averaging 7.4 points and 4.7 rebounds per game while averaging 26.3 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 9.1 points and 5.8 rebounds per outing. He is making a bid to become the first Husker freshman since the 2005-06 season to average double figures in conference games. Shields has reached double figures three times in Big Ten play, most recently a 10-point effort at No. 23 Minnesota on Jan. 29.
Shields set career highs in consecutive games last month, 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 freshman since 2007 (Ryan Anderson at Hawaii). He also had team bests in both rebounds (six) and steals (three) to help NU to its first Big Ten win. 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.
Shields has also grabbed at least six rebounds in seven of the Huskers' 11 Big Ten games, including a season-best nine rebounds at No. 8 Ohio State on Jan. 2, and is third among Big Ten freshman in rebounding in conference play.
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 then-career-high 14 points, hitting 6-of-7 shots from the field.
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 6.0 points and 3.4 rebounds per game while playing in all 24 contests.
He has been at his best in the last 14 games, reaching double figures for the first four times of his career, as he averages 7.6 points per game on 53 percent shooting dating back to Dec. 22. He led the Huskers in scoring for the second time this season against No. 11 Ohio State on Feb. 2, with 13 points, as he hit five of seven shots from the floor and added six rebounds. Against Penn State, Rivers had nine points, six rebounds and a career-best five assists. 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 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 on Dec. 15 and played just 11 minutes in NU's previous two contests.
Parker Makes A Point
Benny Parker has been a solid contributor in his first season in the Husker program. The 5-foot-9 guard became only the 10th freshman to start a season opener since 1995 and is one of four Huskers who has played in every game this season. Parker averages 3.0 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game and has a team-high 1.5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. He has committed one turnover or less in 12 of the Huskers 24 games this year.
Parker, who has come off the bench over the last month, has been a spark for the Huskers. He scored just two points in NU's first six Big Ten games, but has scored 14 points over the last five contests, while also averaging 2.4 assists per game in that span. He dished out a team-high six assists and grabbed three rebounds in 30 minutes of work against Minnesota on Jan. 29, and had four points and an assist in nine minutes against No. 11 Ohio State on Feb. 2. Parker had four points and two assists without a turnover in 21 minutes against Penn State Saturday night.
Parker had 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.
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 5.6 points on 50 percent shooting, 4.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game.
He has been slowed by injuries at times in Big Ten play, missing two whole games and a half of another over the last month. The injury bug began against Ohio State in the Big Ten opener when he sprained his ankle. His best effort since his return to action was eight points and four rebounds against Purdue on Jan. 19. Almeida has provided strong efforts in the last two games, grabbing a team-high eight rebounds and blocking three shots in just 21 minutes of work against Ohio State on Feb. 2, and adding six points, three rebounds and three blocked shots in 12 minutes against Penn State last Saturday.
Earlier this season, he 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.
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.