Huskers Look to Bounce Back at Purdue
Game #16 at Purdue
Game Date Jan. 12, 2014
Tipoff Time 11:01 a.m. (CT)
Venue Mackey Arena
2013-14 Record: 8-7, 0-3 Big Ten
Head coach: Tim Miles
Record at Nebraska: 23-25 (2nd year)
Career Record: 306-245 (19th year)
2013-14 Record: 10-5, 0-2 Big Ten
Head Coach: Matt Painter
Record at Purdue: 186-100 (9th year)
Career Record: 211-105 (10th year)
Huskers on TV/Radio/Internet
(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: Chris Denari
Expert Analysis: Shon Morris
Radio: 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
Expert Analysis: Matt Davison
Internet Radio/Stats: Free on Huskers.com
Satellite Radio (Purdue feed): Sirius Ch. 85, XM Ch. 85
Huskers Look to Bounce Back at Purdue
The Nebraska basketball team looks to rebound after a difficult loss to Michigan on Sunday, when the Huskers travel to Purdue for an important Big Ten matchup.
Tipoff is set for 11:01 a.m. at Mackey Arena and the game will be carried nationally on BTN (Ch. 610 on DirecTV, Chs. 439 and 9500 on Dish; Chs. 2, 1333 on Time Warner Cable) with Chris Denari and Shon Morris on the call. The game will also be available online and on mobile devices on BTN2Go.
Sunday’s game will also be carried across the state on the 27-station Husker Sports Network with Kent Pavelka and Matt Davison calling all of the action, including flagship stations KLIN (1400 AM/94.5 FM) in Lincoln and KFAB (1110 AM) in Omaha (complete list of affiliates is on page five of the game notes). The game can also be heard on Huskers.com and is available on the Huskers’ app on iOS or android devices, as well as Sirius and XM Radio.
The Huskers (8-7, 0-3 B1G) battled Michigan to the wire, but were unable to get the go-ahead basket in the final seconds of a 71-70 loss against Michigan Thursday night. Derrick Walton Jr. hit a driving basket with 23 seconds left to give the Wolverines a one-point lead. The Huskers had two chances in the final seconds, one on a drive by Terran Petteway and a tip in from Leslee Smith just before the buzzer, but both shots rolled out and Nebraska suffered its first loss at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Nebraska shot a season-high 53.1 percent against Michigan after shooting just 33 percent in losses at No. 22 Iowa and No. 3 Ohio State and out-rebounded the Wolverines, 26-20, but were done in by 13 turnovers which led to 21 Wolverine points.
If Nebraska is to get its first Big Ten win of the season on Sunday, the Huskers will need to continue to rebound well. Entering Big Ten play, Nebraska was out-rebounded by 2.4 boards per game, while the Huskers have turned that around in conference action, grabbing 2.3 caroms per game more than their opponents.
Nebraska will also need a strong effort from their backcourt, as Ray Gallegos, Tai Webster and Deverell Biggs combined for 30 points on 11 of 19 shooting in Thursday’s loss to the Wolverines.
Purdue (10-5, 0-2 B1G) has been off since an 82-79 loss at Minnesota last Sunday, as the Boilermakers look to avoid their first 0-3 Big Ten start since 2005-06. The Boilermakers, who are 8-1 at Mackey Arena this season, are led by Terone and Ronnie Johnson, as the brothers combine for 25.3 points and 6.2 assists per game. In addition, sophomore center A.J. Hammons averages 8.6 points and a team-best 7.1 rebounds per contest.
By the Numbers
1 - Thursday’s loss to Michigan was the first time in nine games under Tim Miles where Nebraska lost in a game decided by five points or less.
3 - Number of times Nebraska has shot 50 percent or better this season. Nebraska shot a season-high 53.1 percent against Michigan in Thursday’s loss.
18.5 - Scoring average of sophomore Shavon Shields in two games against Purdue last season. He went 14-of-23 from the field and also averaged 7.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game.
339:23 - Consecutive minutes that Walter Pitchford went without a turnover from Dec. 19, 2011, to the second half of Thursday’s game. The streak went back 22 games dating back to his time at the University of Florida. He was the last regular rotation player in the country to commit a turnover.
Purdue comes into Sunday’s contest with a 10-5 mark, but is winless in conference play at 0-2 following an 82-79 loss at Minnesota on Jan. 5. The Boilermakers look to rebound following a 16-18 campaign which snapped a streak of seven straight NCAA appearances.
With four returning starters, the Boilermakers opened the year with five straight wins, but are just 5-5 over the last 10 games. Purdue’s best win in a 73-70 win at West Virginia on Dec. 22, but Purdue has dropped games against No. 3 Ohio State and Minnesota. Purdue has mixed and matched its lineup, using eight different starting lineups and relying on a 10-player rotation for ninth-year coach Matt Painter.
Senior guard Terone Johnson leads the Boilermakers with 14.2 points per game, as Purdue averages 77.8 points per game. Ronnie Johnson is also in double figures at 11.2 points per game, while A.J. Hammons pulls down 7.1 rebounds per game and a Big Ten-leading 3.6 rebounds per game.
Nebraska-Purdue Series History
Sunday’s game between the Huskers and Purdue will be the 13th all-time meeting between the two programs in a series that dates back to 1947. Purdue holds a 9-3 lead in the all-time series, but Nebraska snapped Purdue’s five game win streak with a 57-55 win in the Big Ten Tournament. The Boilermakers are 3-1 against Nebraska since the Huskers joined the Big Ten prior to the 2011-12 season (2-0 in regular season; 1-1 in Big Ten Tournament). Nebraska will look for its first-ever win in West Lafayette on Sunday.
Nebraska 57, Purdue 55 - March 14: Shavon Shields and Brandon Ubel combined for 35 points and 14 rebounds, leading Nebraska to its first-ever Big Ten Tournament win with a 57-55 victory over Purdue at the United Center. Shields scored 15 of his 19 points in the first half to give NU the lead before Ubel powered the Huskers in the second half, scoring 11 second-half points, as Nebraska built an 11-point lead and weathered a Boilermaker comeback. Leading 30-28, Shields ignited a 9-0 Husker run with baskets on Nebraska’s first two possessions, as Nebraska built an 11-point lead at 39-28 after a Dylan Talley 3-pointer. Purdue cut the lead to one on two occasions, including 56-55 with 12 seconds left, but Ray Gallegos split a pair of foul shots, and Terone Johnson missed two game-tying attempts in the final four seconds to help Nebraska preserve the win.
Purdue 65, Nebraska 56 - Jan. 16: A strong night from Shavon Shields and a school record for fewest turnovers weren’t enough to complete a valiant comeback attempt, as the Huskers fell to Purdue, 65-56. Nebraska trailed by 20 at 43-23 with 16:21 left, but the Huskers rallied, using a 17-3 run to cut the lead to 46-40 with 9:06 remaining. NU trimmed the lead to five with 6:03 to play, but D.J. Byrd knocked down two of his four second-half 3-pointers over the next minute and a half to help Purdue lead by at least seven the remainder of the game. The comeback effort was fueled by Shields and walk-on Jordan Tyrance. Shields scored a career-high 18 points and added a game-high-tying eight rebounds. Tyrance added 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds. Nebraska committed only two turnovers against the Boilermakers, breaking the previous school mark of three, set most recently during the 2009-10 season. Purdue put four players in double figures, led by Terone Johnson’s 18 points. A.J Hammons finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots, while D.J. Byrd and Ronnie Johnson added 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Last Time Out
Derrick Walton Jr. hit a driving layup with 23 seconds remaining, lifting Michigan to a 71-70 win over Nebraska in front of a sellout crowd of 15,012 at Pinnacle Bank Arena Thursday night.
Walton’s heroics put the Wolverines (11-4, 3-0 Big Ten) ahead in a back-and-forth game which saw 11 ties and 10 lead changes, as neither team led by more than six points the entire game.
The Huskers (8-7, 0-3 Big Ten) had a shot to win, but Terran Petteway’s drive slipped off the rim and Leslee Smith’s putback attempt at the buzzer rolled off the rim, as Nebraska suffered its first loss at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Petteway, who had 14 of his 16 points in the second half, kept the Huskers in the game down the stretch, hitting baskets to tie the score at 67 and 69 before his free throw with 34 seconds left gave Nebraska a one-point lead at 70-69 before Walton’s basket gave the Wolverines the lead for good.
Nebraska trailed 42-36 before using an 11-4 run to take its first lead of the half at 47-44. A 3-pointer from Petteway started a run of seven straight points before baskets by Gallegos and Biggs forced Michigan to take a timeout.
The Wolverines trailed 51-48 before two straight Jordan Morgan baskets gave Michigan the lead. Morgan was one of five UM players in double figures with 15 points, while Glenn Robinson III led all scorers with 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting.
Trailing 54-51, Biggs’ 3-point play ended a 6-0 Wolverine run, but Nik Stauskas led Michigan back, hitting a long jumper before his 3-pointer made it a five-point game at 59-54. The Huskers were down 61-56 before using a 7-3 run to tie the score at 63 on Ray Gallegos’ fourth 3-pointer of the night.
Walton provided heroics in the first half, as Nebraska overcame an early five-point deficit to pull even on a Biggs jumper with four seconds left, but Walton closed the half with a 3-pointer from halfcourt to beat the buzzer and send Michigan with a three-point lead into the locker room.
Quick Look at Nebraska
As second-year coach Tim Miles continues his rebuilding process at Nebraska, the Huskers’ roster is starting to take shape. Only two of the 12 players on scholarship have been at NU longer than two seasons (Ray Gallegos and David Rivers), while Gallegos is the only scholarship senior on the 2013-14 roster.
This season, Nebraska is picked 12th in the preseason poll of writers with a roster which is 293rd (of 351 teams) in experience according to KenPom.com. Six of NU’s 10 primary rotation players are in their first year of competition at Nebraska, although three of the newcomers (Pitchford-Florida; Smith-SMU; Petteway-Texas Tech) have previous Division I experience.
- Nebraska enters the week at No. 84 in the RPI with a schedule ranked 24th nationally. According to RealimeRPI, it is the second-toughest schedule in the conference, trailing only Wisconsin (No. 3).
- Nebraska’s seven losses are to teams which enter the week with a combined 88-16 record (.846), including four teams ranked in at least one of the polls.
- Entering this week’s action, Nebraska has played seven games at road or neutral sites, matching Michigan State and Michigan for the most in the Big Ten.
- Nebraska’s youth has been evident so far in Big Ten play, as 79 percent of NU’s points and 84 percent of NU’s individual rebounds have been by newcomers in their first season of Big Ten play.
Miles, who was given a seven-year contract when he was hired in 2012, led the Huskers to a 15-18 record last year, as 14 of NU’s 18 losses came against NCAA Tournament teams despite having only eight recruited scholarship players available. Nebraska played one of the nation’s toughest schedules in 2012-13, facing 10 ranked teams while the strength of schedule was 13th nationally. The Huskers finished 10th in the Big Ten in 2012-13 after being picked to finish last by 23 of the 24 beat writers in the league.
Finding Offensive Pace
Despite having six new faces in Nebraska’s primary 10-man rotation, the Huskers have been a much more prolific offensive team in 2013-14. The Huskers are averaging over 10 points more per game than at this point last year, including a season-high 90 points against UMass on Nov. 21 - NU’s highest single-game total since the 2009-10 season.
- Nebraska’s team scoring average of 69.7 points per game is on track to be the highest at Nebraska since the 2003-04 season, when Nebraska averaged 70.5 points per game. In fact, Nebraska has averaged 70 points per game twice since 2000.
- The Huskers had been averaging more than 70 points per game before being held to a season-low 53 points at No. 3 Ohio State on Saturday. The Huskers bounced back with 70 points in a one-point loss to Michigan, its highest scoring game in conference play since the 2011-12 season.
- Last year, NU was 12th in the Big Ten in scoring offense at 58.3 points per game. So far this season, Nebraska has been held under 60 points just three times in 15 games.
- Nebraska scored 80 or more points in consecutive games against South Carolina State and UMass, the first time that has happened since the 2008-09 season.
- Nebraska has had eight of its 10 regulars reach double figures at least once this season. The Huskers had two games where five players reached double figures and six others with four double-figure scorers.
- Nebraska has already scored 75 or more points five times this season after just reaching that plateau twice in 33 games during the 2012-13 season.
- According to KenPom.com, Nebraska ranks 115th in free throw percentage rate this season after ranking 331st nationally in the category in 2012-13. Two of Miles’ final three Colorado State teams ranked in the top 40 in that category.
- In two seasons under Miles, Nebraska is 18-7 when scoring over 60 points.
Setting a Benchmark
As the Huskers have looked at different lineup combinations, one constant during non-conference play has been improved bench play. Nebraska is averaging 21.9 points and 14.5 rebounds per game from its bench entering Sunday’s game with Purdue, with Deverell Biggs and Leslee Smith providing much of the punch off the bench.
Biggs is third on the team in scoring at 9.9 ppg while averaging 19.4 minutes per outing. He is shooting 42 percent from the floor and is second among all Big Ten bench players in scoring average. Biggs scored a season-high 18 points against Northern Illinois on Nov. 30, one of five double-figure efforts this season. Biggs came off the bench for 14 points and grabbed five rebounds in Thursday’s loss to Michigan. He opened Big Ten play with 12 points, four rebounds and a pair of steals at No. 22 Iowa and had nine points and three assists at No. 3 Ohio State. In conference play, he is averaging 11.7 points per game to rank second on the team.
Smith has been the Huskers’ most consistent performer according to Tim Miles, as he gives NU a physical post presence. Smith is averaging 7.9 points on 60 percent shooting and a team-high 6.5 rebounds per game to rank ninth in the Big Ten. He also leads the Huskers and ranks 15th in the Big Ten with 0.9 blocks per game. The 6-foot-8 junior college transfer has a team-high three double-doubles, most recently an 11-point, 10-rebound effort at No. 3 Ohio State on Saturday when he was moved into the starting lineup for the first time. Smith had eight points and six rebounds in Thursday’s loss to Michigan.
The primary rotation is rounded out by guards Benny Parker and Nathan Hawkins and forward David Rivers. Parker has been NU’s primary backup point guard and has appeared in all 15 games. Hawkins missed NU’s first eight games with a foot injury and has eased his way into the rotation, while Rivers, who started 17 games in 2012-13, has appeared in nine contests.
- Nebraska’s bench has out-scored its opponents in nine of the last 13 games since Biggs and Ray Gallegos returned to the lineup on Nov. 17.
- Nebraska has received 13 double-figure games from its bench through the first 15 games, including five each from Smith and Biggs.
- Against South Carolina State, Nebraska’s bench combined for 51 of the 83 points, making the fifth time in the last decade NU has received at least 50 points from its bench.
- Last year, Ray Gallegos and Dylan Talley both ranked among the top five in the Big Ten in minutes per game at over 35 minutes per game. This year, no Husker is averaging more than 31.1 minutes per game, while nine Huskers average at least 12.7 minutes per game
- Nebraska had three players reach double figures in the win over Georgia (Tai Webster-14; Ray Gallegos-11; Leslee Smith-18).
Record-Breaking Season Ticket Sales
The move to Pinnacle Bank Arena has been a boon to Nebraska basketball, as the Husker program has shattered season-ticket records. On May 3, all of the season tickets allotted for 2013-14 had been accounted for, as season-ticket sales were up nearly 95 percent from 2012-13. It marked the third straight season that tickets sales were up.
- Nebraska is on track to shatter the school’s single-season attendance record of 13,357 per game set in 1992-93.
- The previous school record for season ticket sales was 12,000 set in 1992-93. Nebraska is averaging 15,127 fans per game in 2013-14, including the four largest crowds in school history.
- During non-conference action, attendance was up 56 percent from the 2012-13 season.
- Over the last five seasons, only four schools have increased their attendance by more than 3,000 fans per game in a single season with the largest increase by BYU in 2010-11 (4,685 per game increase). Nebraska is currently averaging 4,775 more fans per game than in 2012-13.
- The Huskers have rewarded the fans by going 7-1 in the first season at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Nebraska finished non-conference play unbeaten for the first time since 2010-11.
The Son Also Rises
Nebraska sophomore Shavon Shields is on his way to creating an impressive resume in his own right. While his father, Will, is one of the greatest linemen in college and NFL history, the younger Shields has played an integral role over the last two years on the court.
As a freshman, Shavon overcame an early season elbow injury and averaged 8.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in 29 games. Shields started to shine during the 2013 Big Ten Tournament, averaging 16.5 points on 61 percent shooting in games against Purdue and Ohio State.
- Shields enters the Purdue game averaging 11.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game, as he is second on the team in scoring and assists and third in rebounding.
- Shields has the team's longest starting streak at 34 games dating back to last season.
- He is 28th in the Big Ten in scoring and has been in double figures nine times to rank second on the team. He has also been a consistent rebounder, grabbing at least six rebounds in eight of NU’s 15 contests, including a season-high eight boards at Cincinnati.
- Shields looks to break out of a slump over the last four games, where he’s averaged five points and 4.3 rebounds per game.
- Shields has paced the Huskers in scoring three times and has a pair of 20-point games this season. Both of his 20-point nights came against 2013 NCAA Tournament qualifiers (Florida Gulf Coast and Creighton).
- He was named Big Ten Player of the Week and Lute Olson National Player of the Week for his effort against Sweet 16 qualifier Florida Gulf Coast in the season opener. In that game he scored a game-high 28 points - one off his career high - hitting 8-of-13 shots from the field and a perfect 12-of-12 from the line. The 6-foot-7 forward also led NU in rebounds (six) and assists (three)
- Last summer, Shields played for the Denmark U-20 National Team, leading the country to the 2013 Nordic Cup Championship. He averaged 13.3 points per game in wins over Sweden, Finland and Estonia, capping the tournament with a 17-point, 12-rebound effort in a 101-94 double overtime win over Estonia.
- Off the court, Shields is a microbiology major who wants to become a doctor following his basketball career and will be a candidate for CoSIDA Academic All-America honors this season.
Transfers Make Immediate Impact for Big Red
While the Huskers were short-handed last year with just eight recruited scholarship players available for action, Nebraska knew that help was on the way in the form of transfers Terran Petteway, Walter Pitchford and Deverell Biggs. The trio led a scout team which regularly pushed the Husker starters in practice and set the stage for the 2013-14 season. All three have played significant roles for the Huskers this season.
Petteway, who began his career at Texas Tech, has been one of the Big Ten’s best newcomers. He enters the weekend ranked fifth in the conference in scoring at 17.2 ppg, while also averaging 5.1 caroms per outing.
Petteway has raised his scoring average more than 14 points from his true freshman year at Texas Tech. Prior to joining the Husker roster, his career high in points at the college level was 13 against DePaul in 2011-12.
Petteway is on track to enjoy one of the highest scoring sophomore seasons in school history. At 17.2 points per game, it would be the highest by a Husker sophomore since Tyronn Lue averaged 18.8 points per game in 1996-97. In fact, only three players have averaged more than 16 points per game as a sophomore - Dave Hoppen (19.9), Lue and Jerry Fort (18.0).
- He has six games of at least 20 points this season, including a career-high 30 points against UMass in the Charleston Classic.
- Petteway had a streak of three straight 20-point games (27 vs. Citadel; 22 at Cincinnati; 20 at Iowa) - the first time that has happened at Nebraska since Aleks Maric had four consecutive 20-point games in 2006-07.
- Entering this weekend’s games, Petteway is tied for the Big Ten lead with six 20-point games this season.
- Recorded his first career double-double at Iowa on Dec. 31, leading all scorers with 20 points and grabbing a career-high 12 rebounds.
- Ranks fifth in the Big Ten in free throw shooting at 86.1 percent after shooting just 46 percent from the line during his lone season at Texas Tech.
- Reached double figures in 14 of 15 games in 2013-14 after just having one double-figure effort prior to this season.
- Led the Huskers at the Charleston Classic in November, averaging 22 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in three games.
- Became the 25th Husker to post a 30-point game, as he had 30 points in a 96-91 loss to UMass. In that game, he hit 8-of-20 shots from the floor, including a trio of 3-pointers, and converted 11 of 12 shots from the foul line.
Pitchford, who played 13 games at Florida in helping the Gators to the Elite Eight in 2011-12, has started at center for the Huskers, averaging 8.6 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-10 forward is a threat from long range, shooting 38 percent from 3-point range.
- Put together the best game of his career at Iowa on Dec. 31, finishing with 13 points and 12 rebounds for his second double-double of the year. Pitchford had eight offensive rebounds in the loss to the Hawkeyes.
- Reached double figures in scoring seven times, including a season-high 14 points against Western Illinois.
- Finished with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting in Thursday’s loss to Michigan.
- Posted his first career double-double against Arkansas State on Dec. 14 with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
- Played a key role in the Huskers’ win over Miami in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge with 13 points and five rebounds against Miami.
- Biggs has become a vital spark plug off the bench, as he averages 9.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game while playing 19.4 minutes per game. He was a first-team NJCAA All-American at Seward (Kan.) Community College in 2011-12 before redshirting last season. Biggs, who is from Omaha, was the Huskers’ first scholarship recruit from Nebraska since 2001.
- Enjoyed a memorable debut against South Carolina State on Nov. 17, scoring 17 points, grabbing four rebounds and dishing out a pair of assists in 23 minutes off the bench.
- Reached double figures five times, including a season-high 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting in NU’s win over Northern Illinois on Nov. 30. In that win, he preserved NU’s lead by hitting four free throws in the final eight seconds to clinch the win.
- Dished out a season-high six assists against Arkansas State on Dec. 14, the highest single-game total for a Husker this season.
- Nearly led Nebraska to a comeback win at Iowa, finishing with 11 points, four rebounds and a pair of steals, as the Huskers cut a 20-point deficit to five in the final two minutes.
- Came off the bench to score nine points and grab three rebounds at No. 3 Ohio State on Jan. 4.
- Put up 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting and five rebounds in 20 minutes against Michigan on Jan. 9
Value the Basketball
Under Tim Miles, one major emphasis is taking care of the basketball, and the Huskers were among the nation’s best in that category in 2012-13. Nebraska finished 10th nationally with 10.7 turnovers per game - nearly three fewer than 2011-12. NU’s turnovers per game were the fewest in school history, bettering the 11.30 per game in 1984-85. Nebraska committed 10 turnovers or less 15 times in 2012-13, including a school-record two turnovers against Purdue on Jan. 16.
This season, the Huskers have also been among the national leaders in that category, ranking 44th nationally with 10.9 turnovers per game. Nebraska is fifth in the Big Ten in turnover margin at +2.3 per contest. The Huskers also do a good job of getting the ball from opponents, ranking third in the Big Ten in both steals with 7.6 per game.
Webster Makes a Point, Plays the Point
Tai Webster has found a home in the Huskers’ backcourt, averaging 5.9 points, 2.5 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game entering this weekend’s action. Webster has been a much better distributor in recent games, averaging 3.1 assists per game over the last eight contests, including a streak of five straight games with a season high before it was snapped against The Citadel on Dec. 21. Webster had four assists and matched his personal best with four steals in Tuesday’s Big Ten opener at No. 22 Iowa and five points and four rebounds at No. 3 Ohio State.
The 6-foot-4 freshman enjoyed the best game of his career on Nov. 24 against Georgia, scoring 14 points and dishing out three assists in NU’s 73-65 win. Webster scored 13 of his points in the second half and went 7-of-9 from the foul line. It was his second double-figure effort of the Charleston Classic, as he totaled 12 points and two assists in NU’s loss to UMass.
With his start against Florida Gulf Coast on Nov. 8, Webster became just the ninth true freshman to start a season opener in the last 18 years. Webster totaled nine points, two rebounds and an assist in helping the Huskers to a 79-55 win. He reached double figures for the first time in his young career against South Carolina State on Nov. 17, totaling 13 points, four rebounds and two assists.
Although he is a freshman who does not turn 19 until after this season, Webster was considered one of the top international guards in this year’s senior class. He played for New Zealand’s national team in qualifying for the 2012 Olympics, averaging 13.5 points per game in 52.5 percent shooting in three games. He also played in New Zealand’s National Basketball League, averaging 18.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game last spring despite being the youngest player in the league. Webster is among the five Big Ten freshmen to watch by ESPN’s Paul Biancardi, joining Indiana’s Noah Vonleh, Illinois’ Kendrick Nunn, Michigan’s Zak Irvin and Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes.
Gallegos Dials in From Long Distance
Senior guard Ray Gallegos is Nebraska’s top returning scorer, giving Tim Miles a luxury that few Husker coaches have had over the past few years. Gallegos’ 12.5 points per game average is the highest for a Husker returnee since Aleks Maric in 2007-08.
While Gallegos is known for being a long-range shooter who can hit shots in bunches, he has been more well rounded in 2013-14. He is fifth on the team in scoring at 8.2 points per game while averaging 1.6 assists and 1.6 rebounds per game.
- Leads the Huskers with a career-high 3.5-to-1 assist-to-turnover rate on the season. He has been even better since moving back into the starting lineup on Dec. 4, posting a nearly 5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio over Nebraska’s last eight games.
- Is enjoying his best shooting season both overall (.400, previous best was .366 as a freshman) and from 3-point range (.397, previous best was .349 in 2009-10).
- Ranks fifth in the Big Ten with 2.2 3-pointers per game after hitting four 3-pointers on his way to a 14-point effort against Michigan
- Has already set career high in assists on two occasions, including five assists against The Citadel on Dec. 21.
- Enjoyed one of his best games of the season at Cincinnati on Dec. 28 with a season-high 18 points, including four 3-pointers, while dishing out three assists.
- Leads the Huskers with 29 3-pointers this season and now sits in ninth place on Nebraska’s career 3-point chart with 133. He is 12 3-pointers away from eighth place on NU’s career chart (Tyronn Lue, 145, 1996-98).
- Opened the 2013-14 season by hitting six of 10 3-pointers in a win over South Carolina State on Nov. 17, the fifth time he has hit on at least six 3-pointers in a game.
- As a junior, he connected on 83 3-pointers, a total which ranked second on Nebraska’s single-season list. It is more impressive when you consider that Gallegos made only 21 3-pointers during his first two seasons at Nebraska before redshirting in 2011-12.
- Led the Big Ten in 3-pointers per game (2.5 per game) during the 2012-13 season. He became the first Husker basketball player to lead the Big Ten in any statistical category.
- Connected on a career-high seven 3-pointers at Iowa on March 9, 2013, a total which is one shy of Nebraska’s single-game record.
The Huskers’ New Home
Opened on Aug. 29, 2013, the 15,000-seat Pinnacle Bank Arena is the new home of the Nebraska men’s and women’s basketball programs. Pinnacle Bank Arena is part of a $344 million project in the Haymarket District which also includes a 200-room hotel, 100,000 square feet of retail space, another 100,000 square feet of office space and 100 residential units.
The $179 million dollar arena is easily accessible in downtown Lincoln as nearly 5,100 parking stalls will be within walking distance of the facility by the fall of 2014. Pinnacle Bank Arena includes an expansive student section with 1,000 seats on the 100 Level, including behind the team benches. Pinnacle Bank Arena also includes 36 suites, 20 loge boxes and 11 permanent concession stands around the arena.
Containing 470,400 square feet, the Pinnacle Bank Arena seats over 15,000 fans when configured for Husker basketball games. It is divided into two bowls (upper and lower) and three levels (100, 200, 300) with Premium Seating Suites and Loge Boxes located between Level 100 and Level 200. There are over 160 concession points of sale and two private Club Lounges, one located on the Main Concourse (Level 100) and one on the Premium Level Concourse.