Game #30: Wisconsin
Game Date March 8, 2014
Tipoff Time 6:36 p.m. (CT)
Venue Pinnacle Bank Arena
2013-14 Record: 18-11, 10-7 Big Ten
Head coach: Tim Miles
Record at Nebraska: 34-29 (2nd year)
Career Record: 316-249 (19th year)
2013-14 Record: 25-5, 12-5 Big Ten
Head Coach: Bo Ryan
Record at UW: 316-118 (13th year)
Career Record: 699-221 (30th year)
Television: BTN (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
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: Sirius Ch. 91, XM Ch. 91
Huskers Host Badgers on Senior Night
The Nebraska basketball team returns to Pinnacle Bank Arena for one of the biggest home games in recent memory, as the Huskers host Wisconsin at a sold out Pinnacle Bank Arena. A standing room only crowd of close to 16,000 is expected for the Huskers’ regular-season finale, as Nebraska makes a push for its first NCAA appearance since 1998
Tipoff is set for 6:36 p.m. and the game will be carried nationally on BTN (Ch. 610 on DirecTV, Chs. 439 and 9500 on Dish; Chs. 24, 333 and 1333 on Time Warner Cable) with Kevin Kugler 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.
Sunday’s game will be senior day for Ray Gallegos and Mike Peltz, and the pair will be honored in pregame ceremonies. Gallegos is a fifth-year senior who has been a starter for Nebraska for most of the last two seasons, while Peltz walked on to the program in October of 2012, and become a fan favorite with his hard-nosed attitude on the court. Fans are encouraged to be in thier seats by 6:15 p.m. for Senior Night ceremonies.
The Huskers (18-11, 10-7 Big Ten) enter the final weekend in position for one of the four byes in next week’s Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis. NU has won seven of its last eight games, culminating with a 70-60 win at Indiana Wednesday evening. Sophomores Walter Pitchford and Shavon Shields combined for 34 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Huskers to their first-ever win at Assembly Hall.
As it has been for the past month, it was Nebraska’s defense that clamped down on the defensive end. The Huskers held Indiana to 37 percent shooting - the eighth straight opponent held under 40 percent shooting.
With a win, Nebraska could pick up its 11th conference win for only the third time in school history and first since the 1965-66 season, but a tall challenge awaits on Sunday.
Wisconsin (25-5, 12-5 B1G) has been on a roll over the last month, winning eight straight games for its longest conference winning streak in over 70 years following a 76-70 win over Purdue Wednesday night. The Badgers are playing for potential No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and could finish second in the Big Ten standings with a victory on Sunday.
Big Ten Tournament Scenarios
The following are Nebraska’s Big Ten Tournament scenarios heading into this weekend’s action. Nebraska can be either the fourth, fifth or sixth seed next week in Indianapolis.
1) Nebraska wins: Huskers are No. 4 seed
2) Nebraska, Iowa, Ohio State all lose: Huskers are No. 4 seed
3) NU and OSU lose; Iowa wins: Huskers are No. 5 seed
4) NU and Iowa lose; OSU wins: Huskers are No. 5 seed
5) NU loses; Iowa and Ohio State win: Huskers are No. 6 seed
By the Numbers
.846 - Nebraska’s winning percentage in games decided by five points or less under Tim Miles. The Huskers are 11-2 in such games over the last two seasons.
4 - The Huskers have had four players total double-doubles this season (Leslee Smith, Walter Pitchford, Shavon Shields and Terran Petteway).
9.3 - Rebounds per game for Shavon Shields over Nebraska’s last four games including nine rebounds against Indiana. He has had double-doubles in his last two home games (Purdue and Northwestern).
151 - Number of 3-pointers made by Ray Gallegos in his Husker career, including 130 over the last two seasons.
230,704 - Nebraska’s home attendance this season heading into the Wisconsin game, breaking the school mark of 213,715 in 1992-93.
Under Coach Bo Ryan, Wisconsin has been one of the Big Ten’s best programs over the past decade. Ryan, who is in his 13th season in Madison, has guided the Badgers to 12 NCAA Tournaments, including five appearances in the NCAA Sweet 16 in his tenure.
The 2013-14 Badgers come into the final weekend of the season with a 25-5 record after a 76-70 victory over Purdue Wednesday evening. Wisconsin is riding an eight-game win streak into the final weekend of Big Ten play. Wisconsin got off to a blistering start, winning its first 16 games, including St. John’s, Florida, Saint Louis, Marquette and Iowa and was ranked third in the country before hitting a rough patch. The Badgers lost five of six in one stretch, including a trio of home losses. As the calendar turned to February, Wisconsin has found its winning ways with eight straight wins, including road victories over Michigan and Iowa.
The Badgers are a much more offensive team than past editions, averaging 73.3 points per game while ranking fourth in the Big Ten with a .457 field goal percentage. Balance is the Badgers’ strength, as four UW starters average in double figures, led by Frank Kaminsky’s 13.0 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. He also shoots over 40 percent from 3-point range. Sam Dekker averages 13.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. UW’s top five scorers all shoot more than 33 percent from long range, while UW holds teams to just 33 percent from long distance.
Nebraska-Wisconsin Series History
Sunday’s matchup is the 21st meeting between the two programs, and the series is tied 10-10 in a rivalry which dates back more than a century. The Huskers will look to snap a five-game losing streak to the Badgers dating back to November of 1998. Wisconsin has won all four meetings as Big Ten members, sweeping both matchups in 2011-12 and 2012-13.
The series dates back to the 1903-04 season , as Nebraska won the first meeting, 55-25 over the Badgers in Lincoln before Wisconsin took five of the next six meetings from 1907 to 1955. Nebraska then won eight straight games before the Badgers began their current streak with a 78-41 win at the 1999 Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska. Nebraska is 5-3 all-time in Lincoln, while tonight’s meeting is the only regular-season matchup of 2013-14.
Last Time Out: Nebraska 70, Indiana 60
In a contest featuring a pair of teams on the brink of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament, Nebraska improved its resume with a 70-60 victory on the road Wednesday night in Indiana. The triumph gives NU its first 10-win conference season since 1999 and clinches its first winning season in the league since 1999-2000.
The Huskers (18-11, 10-7), who led wire-to-wire throughout, took control of the contest early, making shots and continuing their strong play on the defensive end, holding Indiana (17-13, 7-10) to only 37 percent shooting. This marks the eighth consecutive game in which NU has held its opponents to under 40 percent shooting.
The Scarlet and Cream went on a 5:11 field goal drought midway through the second half as Indiana quickened the tempo and used an 8-0 run to knot the contest at 52 with 10 minutes remaining. NU responded by holding Indiana without a field goal over the next 4:16 to preserve the win.
Sophomore Walter Pitchford, who tallied the second-best point total of his career (17) along with nine rebounds, recorded the first nine Husker points on four-of-six shooting from the field to give NU the early momentum. Senior Ray Gallegos finished the night with nine points on three clutch 3-pointers, including a triple that gave the Huskers momentum headed into halftime with a 34-26 advantage, which staved off a late Hoosier run at the end of the first half.
Shavon Shields came up big in the second half for the Big Red to finish with 17 points and eight rebounds. Leading scorer Terran Petteway, who played limited minutes due to foul trouble, amassed 13 points while Benny Parker added eight.
Huskers shot 51 percent in the first half and ended the contest firing over 45 percent on 25-of-55 from the floor, including 6-for-17 from beyond the arc. NU also went 14-for-19 from the line on the evening, connecting on its last eight attempts from the stripe.
- Nebraska will look for their 11th conference win of the season, the first time that has happened since the 1965-66 season. NU has won 11 or more conference games three times in school history and two of them were before WWII.
- Nebraska is bidding to close the Big Ten season with 10 wins in its final 12 contests dating back to Jan. 26. Since that date, the Huskers and Wisconsin are a Big Ten-best 9-2.
- A win would snap a five-game losing streak to the Badgers dating back to 1998. NU’s last win against Wisconsin was an 86-67 win on Dec. 11, 1992.
- A win would assure the Huskers no worse than a fourth-place conference finish, which would be only the third time in the last 20 years that has occurred at Nebraska (1993-94, 1997-98).
- The Huskers will look to improve to 15-1 at home, which would be the best home record since the 1982-83 team went 17-1 at the Devaney Center. The Huskers have won 16 of its last 17 home games dating back to last season with the only setback being a one-point loss to Big Ten regular-season champion Michigan on Jan. 9.
- NU would be looking for its 19th win of the season, which would be the most by a Husker team since the 2010-11 team went 19-13.
- The Huskers have already topped last year’s win total, marking the 13th time in 14 seasons under a Miles’ coached-team that has matched or exceeded the previous season. The only time it did not happen in Miles tenure was in 2003-04 at North Dakota State.
- With 515 points this season, Terran Petteway is in 16th place on NU’s single-season scoring chart. With 12 points on Sunday, he can pass Erick Strickland (516, 1995-96), Venson Hamilton (518, 1998-99), Aleks Maric (519, 2007-08), Jerry Fort (525, 1974-75) and Rich King (526 (1990-91) and move into 11th on NU’s single-season scoring list.
- Ray Gallegos has 762 career points and is three points away from moving into the top 50 scorers in school history. Bus Whitehead and Jorge Brian Diaz share the No. 49 spot with 765 points. In addition, Shavon Shields is six points away from reaching 600 for his career.
Quick Look at Nebraska
It has taken less than two years for the Huskers to rebuild under Tim Miles. Only two of the 12 recruited scholarship players have been at NU longer than two seasons (Ray Gallegos and David Rivers), and Gallegos is the only scholarship senior on the 2013-14 roster before Mike Peltz was put on scholarship in January.
- Nebraska enters the game at No. 49 in the RPI and a schedule rated as the 39th toughest nationally according to realtime RPI. The Huskers have a golden opportunity on Sunday, hosting Wisconsin, which is fifth in the RPI. The Huskers are currently 7-8 vs. top 100 teams this season.
- The Huskers have three top-50 wins (at Michigan State, vs. Ohio State and Minnesota) while seven of the 11 losses are to teams in the top 40 of the RPI released Monday.
- The Huskers started Big Ten play with a 1-5 record with four of their first six on the road, but had chances to win in the final minutes of three of those losses.
vs. Michigan (Jan. 9) - Led 70-69 with 0:34 left (lost, 71-70)
at Purdue (Jan. 12) - Led 58-55 with 6:43 left (lost, 70-64)
at Penn State (Jan. 26) - Led 51-47 with 2:24 left (lost, 58-54)
- Nebraska has been playing its best basketball down the stretch, going 9-2 over its last 11 games dating back to Jan. 26.
- The Huskers have relied on its youth, as its top three active scorers (Petteway, Shields and Pitchford) are sophomores. In fact, the Husker sophomore class has combined for 62 percent of NU’s points and 54 percent of the individual rebounds heading into Sunday’s game against Wisconsin.
- Nebraska’s starting lineup is all underclassmen, one freshman (Tai Webster), three sophomores (Petteway, Shields and Pitchford) and one junior (David Rivers).
- Nebraska has beaten five teams that reached the Sweet 16 of last year’s NCAA Tournament (Florida Gulf Coast, Miami, Ohio State, Indiana and Michigan State).
Prior to the season, the Huskers were picked in the preseason poll of writers with a roster which is 293rd (of 351 teams) in experience according to KenPom.com. Five of NU’s nine 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.
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.
Husker Defense Makes Strides
With a roster featuring so many newcomers, it is only natural for the defense to get better as players got more accustomed to each other. Nebraska’s second half surge has been primarily based on defensive improvement. The Huskers entered Big Ten play 12th in field goal defense and eighth in scoring defense.
Over the last 13 games, NU held 10 opponents under 40 percent shooting from the field, including each of the last eight foes. The eight straight foes under 40 percent is the longest streak by a Husker defense in at least four decades. The Huskers are now second in conference games in scoring defense (63.1) and third in field goal percentage defense (.414).
Petteway on Track for Historic Season
Terrran Petteway has come from obscurity to being a Big Ten Player of the Year candidate in his first season at Nebraska. The 6-foot-6 forward from Galveston, Texas, enters the week leading the Big Ten at 17.8 points per game while adding 4.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists per contest.
- Petteway, who is second in scoring in conference play at 18.1 ppg, is bidding to become just the fifth Husker in the last century to lead a conference in scoring in conference games. He looks to join Andre Smith in 1980-81 as the only Husker to accomplish the feat in the last 65 years. In fact, only three Huskers have ranked in the top-three in conference scoring over the last four decades and none since Tyronn Lue in 1997-98.
- He is on track to enjoy one of the highest scoring sophomore seasons in school history. At 17.8 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).
- Petteway is closing in on Nebraska’s single-season top-10 scoring list. With 515 points this season, he is just 36 points shy of 10th place on NU’s single-season scoring list.
- He has raised his scoring average nearly 15 points from his true freshman year at Texas Tech (3.3) , as his career high entering this season was a 13-point effort against DePaul.
- Petteway is the only player in the Big Ten over the last two seasons with multiple 30-point games. The last person with three 30-point games in a season was John Shurna of Northwestern in 2011-12. Only nine Big Ten players have had multiple 30-point games in a season since 2009-10.
- He’s reached double figures in 27 of 29 games, including 16 of 17 Big Ten contests, after just having one double-figure effort prior to this season.
- His 10 20-point games, including five in Big Ten action, put him third in the league in that category. He has also scored 15 or more points in 13 of NU’s 17 conference games.
- Petteway put together the finest game of his career in the win over Minnesota on Jan. 26 with a career-high 35 points on 10-of-15 shooting and six rebounds. Petteway hit four 3-pointers in the win and went 11-of-14 from the foul line. It is the highest scoring performance in conference action this year.
- He led Nebraska to an upset win at No. 9 Michigan State with 23 points, including 16 in the second half, and five rebounds. It was NU's first win over a top-10 team since 1997.
- Led NU with a strong road performance at Northwestern on Feb. 8 when he led Nebraska in scoring (17), rebounds (eight) and assists (four) in NU’s 53-49 win.
- Averaged 27.5 ppg in wins over Penn State and Purdue, including a 29-point effort against the Boilermakers.
- Ranks fourth in the Big Ten in free throw shooting at 82.0 percent after shooting just 46 percent from the line during his lone season at Texas Tech.
- Recorded his first career double-double at Iowa on Dec. 31, leading all scorers with 20 points and grabbing a career-high 12 rebounds.
- Nearly put together a double-double in the loss at Purdue with 19 points, nine rebounds and two steals, along with two blocked shots.
- Led the Huskers at the Charleston Classic in November, averaging 22 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in three games, including a 30-point game against UMass.
- Put together his first 30-point game of the season in a 96-91 loss to UMass at the Charleston Classic, and is now only one of 13 players in school history with multiple 30-point games at Nebraska.
Shields Keys Huskers Success
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 and a three-time NFL Hall of Fame finalist, the younger Shields has played an integral role over the last two years on the court for the Huskers.
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.
- This season, Shields has started all 29 games and is averaging 12.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game, as he leads the Huskers in rebounding and is second in scoring.
- Shields has played some of his best basketball over the last month, averaging 15.0 points and 6.3 rebounds per game while shooting nearly 50 percent from the field over NU’s last nine contests. The Huskers are 7-2 over that stretch.
- He has put together two double-doubles over NU’s last four contests, including 17 points and 10 rebounds against Northwestern on Saturday. Over the last four games, he is averaging 9.3 caroms per contest.
- Shields shined in the win at Indiana on March 5, leading the team with 17 points and eight rebounds, as Nebraska picked up its first-ever season sweep against the Hoosiers.
- Shields keyed NU’s win over Purdue on Feb. 23, finishing with 18 points, 10 rebounds and three steals.
- His best offensive effort came against Illinois on Feb. 12, when he scored a career-high 33 points, hitting 8-of-12 shots from the field and all 15 of his free throws. Shields tied Nebraska’s single-game record for free throws without a miss and became only the 11th Big Ten player to hit at least 15 free throws without a miss and the first since 1997.
- He keyed Nebraska to a win over No. 17 Ohio State on Jan. 20 when he scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
- He has been in double figures 18 times, and has grabbed at least six rebounds 17 times, including a season-high 10 rebounds on three occasions (at Penn State, Purdue, Northwestern).
- Shields has paced the Huskers in scoring eight times and has a pair of 20-point games this season. All three of his 20-point nights came against 2013 NCAA Tournament qualifiers (Florida Gulf Coast, Creighton and Illinois).
- 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. He was named first-team Academic All-District VII on Jan. 31, as he carries a 3.77 GPA in microbiology.
Pitchford Provides Scoring Punch
Another one of Nebraska’s transfers, sophomore Walter Pitchford has developed into a consistent scoring option for the Huskers. The 6-foot-10 forward began his career at Florida, where he was a reserve on the Gators’ Elite Eight squad in 2011-12. This year, he has taken advantage of the new surroundings and has been productive, averaging 9.2 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. One of the Huskers’ best athletes with a 42-inch vertical leap, Pitchford is also one of the Huskers’ top 3-point shooters at nearly 40 percent on the season.
- Is playing some of his best basketball of the season over the last month, averaging 11.3 points per game on 54 percent shooting over the last 11 games. Pitchford has been in double figures nine times in that stretch and has set season highs in points on two occasions, most recently at Michigan State on Feb. 16.
- Sparked Nebraska’s win at Indiana with 17 points and nine rebounds, as he scored the Huskers’ first nine points and then delivered a 3-pointer with 1:55 left to give Nebraska a four-point cushion.
- Nearly had a double-double against Northwestern on March 1, finishing with 10 points and nine boards.
- Bounced back from a knee bruise against Penn State and had 10 points and five rebounds against Purdue.
- Finished with 11 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots in 24 minutes against Penn State on Feb. 23.
- Enjoyed a successful homecoming at Michigan State on Feb. 16, totaling a career-high 18 points, including a season-high four 3-pointers, along with five rebounds and two steals in Nebraska's win over the No. 9 Spartans.
- Reached double figures in scoring 15 times this year, including a then-career-high 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the four-point win over Northwestern on Nov. 8. In that game, he scored 13 second-half points, including five straight points after the Wildcats cut an eight-point lead to 44-all in the final four minutes.
- Shined in the Big Ten opener at Iowa on Dec. 31, finishing with 13 points and a season-high 12 rebounds for his second double-double of the year. Pitchford also had eight offensive rebounds and helped NU cut a 20-point deficit to five in the second half.
- Posted his first career double-double against Arkansas State on Dec. 14 with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
- Totaled an incredible 339:23 without a turnover dating back to his time at Florida before his first turnover on Jan. 9. The streak lasted 22 games dating back to his freshman year at Florida, as he was the last regular rotation player in the country without a turnover.
Finding Offensive Pace
Despite having a revamped lineup, the Huskers have been more proficient offensively, averaging nearly eight points more per game than at this point last year.
- Last year, NU was 12th in the Big Ten in scoring offense at 58.3 points per game. This season, NU has been held under 60 points just eight times.
- The Huskers’ tempo has vastly increased, as Nebraska was over 300th in adjusted tempo in each of the last three seasons and is now 220th coming into Sunday’s game with Wisconsin.
- Nebraska’s 8.4 points per game improvement over last season is on pace to be the Huskers’ largest scoring increase since the mid-1960s. Only five Husker teams since 1948 have had a seven-point scoring jump from one season to the next.
- Nebraska’s 82 points against Minnesota on Jan. 26 marked the most points by the Huskers in a conference game since joining the Big Ten in 2011-12.
- 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 already scored 75 or more points six times this season after just reaching that plateau twice in 33 games during the 2012-13 season.
- Nebraska has had nine players reach double figures at least once this season. The Huskers had three games where five players reached double figures and seven others with four double-figure scorers.
- In two seasons under Miles, Nebraska is 25-8 when scoring over 60 points.
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 will shatter its single-season attendance record of 13,357 set in 1992-93. Currently, the Huskers are averaging 15,380 fans per game heading into Sunday’s regular-season finale with Wisconsin.
- Nebraska ranks 12th nationally in average attendance heading into this week’s games.
- 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 5,028 more fans per game than in 2012-13.
- The Huskers sold over 14,000 season tickets for its first season in the building, including 1,650 student tickets. The previous school record for season ticket sales was 12,000 set in 1992-93.
- The Huskers have rewarded the fans by going 14-1 in the first season at Pinnacle Bank Arena. With a win on Sunday against Wisconsin, the Huskers would close the regular season with its best home record since 1982-83 (17-1).
Gallegos Looks to Prove Less is More
While senior guard Ray Gallegos was Nebraska’s top returning scorer heading into the season, the Huskers’ increased depth has made him a more efficient player in 2013-14.
While Gallegos is known for being a long-range shooter who can hit shots in bunches, he has been a more well-rounded player during his senior year. He is fourth on the team in scoring at 7.0 points per game while averaging 1.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. Last year, Gallegos averaged a Big Ten-high 37.5 minutes per game, including nearly 39 minutes per game in conference play, but NU’s increased depth has reduced his minutes to just under 28 minutes per game.
- Leads the Huskers with a career-high 2.5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio on the season and has more steals (22) than turnovers (15) in 748 minutes of action.
- Ranks eighth in the Big Ten with 1.7 3-pointers per game, including a trio of 3-pointers in NU’s 70-60 win at Indiana on March 5. Gallegos’ first 3-pointer gave Nebraska an eight-point halftime lead before he drained a pair of 3-pointers in an 8-2 second half run. He also has four 3-pointers in the first matchup with Michigan on Jan. 9 and broke out of a mini slump with 11 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, against Penn State on Thursday night.
- Has already set a career high in assists on two occasions, including five assists against The Citadel on Dec. 21 and Minnesota on Jan. 23.
- 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 47 3-pointers this season and now sits in seventh place on Nebraska’s career 3-point chart with 151. He passed Cookie Belcher (146, 1997-01) against Penn State on Feb. 23.
- 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.
Setting a Benchmark
For Nebraska, one of the biggest improvements has been the development of its bench this season. Nebraska is averaging nearly 18 points per game from its bench, compared to just over seven last season. The bench has been reshaped following the dismissal of Deverell Biggs in late January.
Despite the loss of Biggs, the Huskers feature one of the Big Ten’s best sixth men in Leslee Smith. The 6-foot-8 junior forward has been the Huskers’ most consistent performer according to Tim Miles, as he gives NU a physical post presence. Smith is averaging 5.9 points and 5.1 rebounds per game to rank 20th in the Big Ten in rebounding. Smith is one of only two players from the British Virgin Islands playing Division I basketball.
- Leads the Huskers with three double-doubles, most recently an 11-point, 10-rebound effort at No. 3 Ohio State on Jan. 4.
- Has five games with at least 10 rebounds, as he is sixth in the Big Ten in that category. He is the only player on the list who is not a starter. He also leads all Big Ten reserves in rebounding entering this week’s action.
- Put together a solid effort at Illinois on Feb. 26 with nine points on 4-of-4 shooting and four rebounds in 13 minutes of work.
- Totaled four points and five rebounds in Wednesday’s win at Indiana.
- Leads the Huskers in steals (27) and is second in blocked shots (18) while averaging less than 18 minutes per contest. Smith is bidding to become the first Husker to lead Nebraska in both steals and blocked shots in the same season.
Sophomore Benny Parker has been in the lineup all 29 games this year and has a 2.1-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio as NU’s backup point guard. The 5-foot-9 guard is a pest on the defensive end, averaging nearly one steal per game and has taken many of the minutes that Biggs played. Over the last 11 games, Parker is averaging 3.6 points on 61 percent shooting, 1.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game in 17 minutes per game, a big reason why the Huskers are 9-2 in that span. Parker keyed NU’s win over Northwestern on March 1 with seven points and two rebounds while his charge in the final minute preserved the Huskers win. On Wednesday at Indiana, Parker had eight points and three steals to help the Huskers to a 70-60 win. Parker had a season-high nine points in the opener against Florida Gulf Coast and had two assists and three steals in NU’s win over Purdue on Feb. 23.
Junior David Rivers is NU’s other primary post player, as he averages 2.9 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. Rivers, who started during conference play last season, had a season-high 10 points against UMass on Nov. 21. He matched his career high with seven rebounds against Illinois on Feb 12. He has moved back into the starting lineup the last six games and is averaging 5.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Rivers had eight points and three rebounds against Illinois on Feb. 26 and seven points, six boards and three blocks against Purdue on Feb. 23.
The other player who has gained playing time in the wake of Biggs’ dismissal is Nathan Hawkins. He has played in 14 games and is averaging 1.6 points and 1.1 rebounds per game. His best effort of the year came against No. 10 Michigan on Feb. 5, and had 11 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, in 20 minutes of work.
- Nebraska has received 17 double-figure games from its bench, including seven from Deverell Biggs and five from Leslee Smith.
- 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.
- Nebraska had three bench players reach double figures in the win over Georgia (Tai Webster-14; Ray Gallegos-11; Leslee Smith-10).