Randy York's N-Sider
A year ago about this same time, Nebraska’s all-time leading basketball scorer went to his first Husker men’s basketball practice in years. Two days later, Dave Hoppen told me that Terran Petteway was the most athletic Husker basketball player he had watched in more than a decade. “Now I know how Nebraska football walk-ons look at a scrimmage like it’s a bowl game,” Hoppen said after watching Petteway compete in the Hendricks Training Complex with no fans in the gym.
“Terran was a redshirt scrimmaging against last-year’s starters and playing like he was in the Final Four,” Hoppen said. “He was all over the court, penetrating on offense and diving for every loose ball. I’d never seen a guy so athletic hustle so much for so long. He was impressive. Later, I checked out his stats at Texas Tech, and they obviously didn’t see what I saw. Just watching that practice, and then another one just like it about a week later, I knew what our coaches knew – Terran had the ability and the determination to be a scoring machine.”
Hoppen was the first Husker to have his jersey retired after scoring a school-record 2,167 points (233 more than No. 2 Eric Piatkowski). The 6-11 Omaha native was right about Petteway. “He is a scoring machine; he really is,” Nebraska Coach Tim Miles said. “Terran is obsessed with work. There’s no doubt about it. I’ve had really hard workers throughout my 19-year career. I don’t know that I’ve had a guy work harder at their game than Terran and then be able to put it in team form. How it translates into not just me doing my thing, but team form. That’s a really important integration that not every player can pull off.”
Trainer: Petteway a Dream and Nightmare at Same Time
Petteway is obviously a gifted athlete but that’s not what separates him from others. “He has a mindset to always push himself to his max no matter how he’s feeling,” said Ryan (R.J.) Pietig, the Nebraska men’s basketball athletic trainer. “Even when he’s hurting he’ll refuse to give into the pain and remain on the floor. Not only does he have a high pain tolerance, but he has such a great mental edge, it does not affect him.
“Terran is an athletic trainer’s dream and nightmare at the same time,” Peitig told me. “He’s so tough that he’ll play through almost anything. But at the same time, you need to watch him and sometimes hold him back to make sure he’s getting the necessary rest to allow himself to heal.
“As much as we love having Terran on the floor, the coaches and I will force him to take a short break at times,” Pietig said. “He never likes it but will eventually listen because he knows we’re only looking out for him. With that being said, Terran does a great job of taking care of himself. Anytime I tell him to come in for treatment, he’s there with a great attitude to get better. That’s all I can ask of him.”
It’s all that his coaches and teammates can ask, too. Petteway is the second-leading individual scorer in the Big Ten Conference, but sets his sights on only one goal – winning. As Nebraska counts down to Thursday night’s opportunity to even the seasonal score against Penn State at Pinnacle Bank Arena, here are the N-Sider’s five magical moments that Petteway has put together at this point of the season:
Five Magical Moments for #5
1 Nebraska shocked No. 9 Michigan State, 60-51, in East Lansing last Sunday. “We played with a chip on our shoulder,” said Petteway, who scored 16 of his game-high 23 points in the second half. In 38 minutes, he made 7 of 17 field goals, including 4 of 10 from 3-point range while contributing five rebounds, two assists and a steal and did not commit a turnover, enabling him to take over the game. Petteway’s most amazing stat? From the 9:00-minute mark to 45 seconds left in the second half, he scored 14 straight points for Nebraska. “To beat one of the elite teams in the country is big,” Petteway said. “Now, we’ve got to keep doing it.”
2 On a Sunday afternoon in late January, in front of a sold-out crowd of 15,945, Petteway made 10-of-14 shots, including four 3-pointers, to lift Nebraska to an 82-78 win over Minnesota at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Gophers had beaten No. 9 Wisconsin four days earlier, but had no answers for Petteway’s career-high 35-point production. He also speared six rebounds and made two free throws in the final two seconds to preserve the win. “Terran’s a machine; he really is,” Nebraska Coach Tim Miles said. “He’s an excellent athlete. He can score in transition, and he can make threes. He took two bad shots and made one, so I can’t get mad. I’m not going to stop him and risk slowing him down one bit.”
3 Perhaps the turning point of the season was Nebraska’s 53-49 come-from-behind win at Northwestern on February 4. “It’s a great feeling to finally get a road win,” Petteway said. Nebraska had a three-point lead when Petteway launched a 25-footer just before the shot-clock buzzer sounded with 23 seconds left in the game. The Huskers had scored only 16 first-half points, but came back with a 37-point second half. “The first half was kind of shaky, which is the way we always seem to play on the road,” Petteway said. “Once we came back out at halftime, we were calm and started attacking.” Petteway led the Huskers with 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
4 Who can forget Indiana jumping to a 32-16 first-half lead against the Huskers in Pinnacle Bank Arena on January 30? Petteway didn’t pout but was definitely frustrated with a first half that produced only five points, one rebound and three turnovers. He fueled the Huskers’ second-half surge, hitting 7 of 10 field goal attempts, including 2-of-4 from 3-point land and 2-of-2 free throws without turning the ball over. “They threw a lot of defense at us in the first half and we stopped attacking,” Petteway said. “The second half we kind of got our composure back and started attacking. Once we calmed down, we got it together, stayed together and went on our own run. We’ve come a long way.”
5 Say this about Petteway: He has an uncanny ability to change a forgettable first half into a clutch performance. When Nebraska upset No. 17 Ohio State on January 20 in Lincoln, Petteway had more turnovers (8) than points, assists and steals combined in the game’s first 25 minutes. That landed him a spot on the Nebraska bench. Petteway returned with the spirit his coaches and teammates expect every game. Somehow, he was able to “short memory” his mistakes. “I had to forget about it,” he said. “I had to come back and help my team late in the game.” Petteway ended up making six of his nine field goals, five of seven free throws and finished with 18 points in Nebraska’s 68-62 win over the Buckeyes.
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