Evan Taylor (11) and the Huskers celebrate after beating Big Ten regular-season champion Purdue.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

2016-17 Season Review

By NU Athletic Communications

NUMBERS TO KNOW
.600 - Nebraska went 6-4 this season in games decided by four points or less in 2016-17. Three of NU's Big Ten losses (Ohio State, at Rutgers, Wisconsin) were by one point, and NU had the lead in the final 20 seconds in all three games.

.626 - The combined winning percentage of Nebraska's 2016-17 opponents, which ranked sixth nationally and led the Big Ten.

3 - Number of overtime games in 2016-17, which was one shy of Nebraska's single-season record. Nebraska's loss to Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament opener was the first time the Huskers played an overtime in the conference tournament since 1991.

5 - Number of Huskers with 30-point games under Tim Miles (Ray Gallegos, Terran Petteway, Shavon Shields, Andrew White III and Glynn Watson Jr.).

7 - Nebraska's non-conference strength of schedule in 2016-17, a slate included seven teams that went on to postseason play.

8 - Number of different players who led the team in scoring in 2016-17. Evan Taylor became the eighth player to lead NU in scoring when he had 15 points in the Huskers' Big Ten Tournament opener against Penn State.

10 - Number of 20-point games by Huskers in 2016-17 (Webster-5; Watson-4; McVeigh-1). Entering the season, the entire returning roster combined for two, both coming from Webster in 2015-16.

13.3 - Nebraska averaged 13.3 offensive rebounds per game to rank second in the Big Ten and 18th nationally.

17.0 - Tai Webster's scoring average was the highest by a Husker senior since Eric Piatkowski averaged 21.5 ppg in 1994.

20 - Number of games NU played against teams which reached postseason play in 2016-17.

30 - Tai Webster reached double figures in 30 consecutive games, matching the longest streak by a Husker since Tyronn Lue reached double figures in 36 consecutive games spanning the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons.

34 - Points scored by Glynn Watson Jr. against Iowa on Jan. 5, a total which ranked 15th in school history.

15,427 - Average attendance for the Huskers in 2016-17, a total which ranked 11th nationally. Nebraska has been in the top 15 nationally in attendance in each of the past four years.

124 - Tai Webster's assist total which is the most by a Husker since 2011-12 season. His 4.0 assists per game is the most by a Husker since Lance Jeter averaged 4.5 assists per game in 2010-11.

404 - Glynn Watson Jr. was the ninth Husker sophomore to score 400 points in a season.

For the Nebraska men's basketball program, the 2016-17 season proved to be a rebuilding season. With a roster that featured one senior, the Huskers took on one of the toughest schedules in school history while trying to overcome a pair of injuries which limited the team's depth through a significant portion of Big Ten play.

The young Huskers went just 12-19, but had several defining moments during the year. Nebraska knocked off Big Ten regular-season champion and eventual Sweet 16 participant Purdue. It was one of three regular-season conference champions the Huskers knocked off in 2016-17, as Nebraska also notched wins over Dayton and South Dakota. In all, the Huskers played 20 of their 30 Division I games against teams which qualified for either the NCAA Tournament or the NIT in 2016-17, including five teams which reached the NCAA Sweet 16. NU's strength of schedule finished 10th nationally and was in the top-three throughout the entire regular season.

The 2016-17 team was led by senior Tai Webster. The 6-foot-4 guard from Auckland, New Zealand, continued his development into one of the Big Ten's best players as a senior. Webster saw his scoring average jump from 10.1 points per game as a junior to 17.0 points per game as a senior, while also averaging 5.1 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. A second-team All-Big Ten pick by the media, Webster was one of only seven players in the country - and one of two power conference players - to average 17 points, five rebounds and four assists per game in 2016-17.
Sophomore Glynn Watson Jr. emerged as a potent scoring threat for the Huskers and gave NU one of the best scoring back courts in the Big Ten. The 6-foot guard from Bellwood, Ill., averaged 13.0 points per game while ranking third in the Big Ten with 1.6 steals per contest. Watson, whose 404 points placed him ninth on Nebraska's sophomore scoring list, showed his ability to be a prolific scorer with seven 20-point games, including a career-high 34 point outburst against Iowa. Watson also gave the Huskers a long-range threat, shooting nearly 40 percent from 3-point range after connecting on 27 percent during his freshman campaign.

While the back court accounted for much of the Huskers' offense, the trio of Ed Morrow Jr., Michael Jacobson and Jordy Tshimanga handled the bulk of the inside play, as the Huskers ranked among the top-20 teams nationally in offensive rebounding. Morrow averaged 9.4 points per game and paced the Huskers in rebounding at 7.5 rebounds per game despite missing nearly a month with a foot injury. His best performance came in a win over Dayton, when Morrow had a career-high 19 points and 10 rebounds. Jacobson chipped in 6.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per game while tying for team-high honors in blocked shots. He also had a pair of double-doubles and eight games where he reached double figures. Tshimanga averaged 5.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in his first season in the program and the 6-foot-11 freshman showed his potential in Big Ten play, averaging 7.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in nine conference starts, including a season-high 15 points against Michigan State.

Sophomore Jack McVeigh found his niche as one of the best sixth men in the Big Ten, as the 6-foot-8 wing was fourth on the team at 7.5 points per game and ranked second on the squad with 47 3-pointers. Newcomer Evan Taylor became a valuable piece of the puzzle, starting 21 games and averaging 5.2 points per game, while newcomers Anton Gill, Isaiah Roby and Jeriah Horne all cracked the Huskers' 10-man rotation.

The Huskers faced some adversity at the start of Big Ten play as Gill, who had played in NU's first 12 games, suffered a season-ending knee injury three days before NU's opener at No. 16 Indiana. The Huskers responded with one of its best performances of the season, snapping the Hoosiers' 26-game home win streak with an 87-83 victory. While Webster and Watson combined for 47 points, NU got contributions throughout the lineup, including 19 points and seven rebounds from Roby and Horne.

That fortitude was evident at Maryland, when the Huskers used a furious rally to overcome a 13-point deficit in the final seven minutes in a 67-65 win. Trailing 65-60, Webster scored Nebraska's final seven points, while NU held the Terrapins scoreless over the final 6:02 to become just the second Big Ten team to win in College Park since Maryland joined the conference.
The Huskers continued its strong start with more heroics in a 93-90 double OT win over Iowa. Behind 34 points from Watson, including 7-of-8 from 3-point range, the Huskers moved to 3-0 in conference play for the first time in 41 years.

Unfortunately, a second major injury would derail the Huskers' strong conference start, as Morrow suffered a stress reaction in his foot and was sidelined for seven games. NU went just 1-6 in his absence, including consecutive one-point losses in the final second of regulation.

Nebraska showed its resolve on #AveryStrong day with an impressive 83-80 win over No. 20 Purdue to snap a five-game losing streak. McVeigh came off the bench for a career-high 21 points to lead four Huskers in double figures.

After a third heartbreaking one-point loss - this one coming at the hands of No. 7 Wisconsin - Nebraska rebounded with wins over Penn State and Ohio State. Against the Nittany Lions, NU shot 55 percent while McVeigh and Taylor had 15 points apiece to pace four Huskers in double figures. At Ohio State, NU rallied from a five-point deficit in the final 30 seconds to earn its first-ever win in Columbus. After a McVeigh 3-pointer pulled NU within two, Webster and Nick Fuller forced a jump ball to give the Huskers the ball back and a chance to win. Watson took advantage, as his 3-point play with 11.3 seconds left provided the one-point win for the Huskers.

WEBSTER, TSHIMANGA HONORED BY BIG TEN
Senior Tai Webster was honored on March 6, as he garnered All-Big Ten honors by the league coaches and media. The 6-foot-4 guard was a second-team pick by the media covering the league and a third-team selection by the Big Ten coaches.
In Big Ten play, he finished in the top-10 in four categories, including third in scoring at 17.3 points per game, third in steals (1.6 spg), third in minutes played (35.5 mpg) and eighth in assists (4.1 apg). He reached double figures in 17 straight games, including a career-high 28-point performance at Michigan on Jan. 14.

In addition, freshman Jordy Tshimanga was NU's nominee for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior, and Tshimanga has been active in the Huskers' renowned Life Skills program.

WEBSTER EARNS A PAIR OF ALL-DISTRICT HONORS
Webster earned a pair of all-district honors for his performance this season, as he was a first-team selection by the USBWA and a second-team honoree by the NABC.

Webster averaged a team-high 17.0 points per game in 2016-17 while chipping in 5.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.4 steals per game. The Auckland, New Zealand, native finished fourth in the Big Ten in scoring, fifth in steals and eighth in assists, while topping the Huskers in both scoring and assists. He set career highs in all four categories as a senior and is one of four players in school history to score 500 points and dish out 100 assists in a season. Webster led the Huskers in double-figure games (30), including a team-high nine 20-point games.

He was the first Husker to garner first-team all-district honors since Terran Petteway in 2014.

HUSKER TRIO NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-BIG TEN
A trio of Husker men's basketball players were honored last month, as the Big Ten Conference announced the Winter Academic All-Big Ten teams. The Huskers who were recognized included Nick Fuller, Michael Jacobson and Tanner Borchardt.

To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, students must be letterwinners who are in at least their second academic year at their institution and carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. Fuller is a two-time honoree, as he also earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2014-15, while it is the first honor for both Jacobson and Borchardt.
Under Tim Miles, the Huskers have had 15 Academic All-Big Ten selections over the past five seasons, including three or more honorees in four of the past five years.

14 HUSKERS NAMED TO TOM OSBORNE CITIZENSHIP TEAM
At the annual Night at the Lied on April 9, a total of 14 Huskers were named to the annual Tom Osborne Citizenship Team. To earn a place on the Osborne Citizenship Team, student-athletes who complete a minumum of six new service projects within the academic calender year, while maintaining good academic and athletic standing. Over the last four seasons, a total of 44 Husker men's basketball players have earned a spot on the Osborne Citizenship Team.

WORTH NOTING

  • Tai Webster was one of only seven players in Division I - and two from power conferences currently who averaged 17.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game in 2016-17. The other is Washington's Markelle Fultz, who is listed as the top prospect on Draft Express' 2017 draft board.
    To put Tai Webster's season averages (17.2 ppg; 5.1 rpg; 4.0 apg) in perspective, only two other Big Ten players - Purdue's Caleb Swanigan and Michigan's Derrick Walton Jr. - averaged at least 14.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in 2016-17.
  • The Huskers played four one-point games this past season. While the four one-point games tie for third in school history and the most since 2010-11, NU's four one-point games in conference play was the most in school history.
  • Nebraska averaged 70.6 points per game in Big Ten play, which is the Huskers' highest scoring average in conference play since the 2001-02 campaign.

WEBSTER JOINS EXCLUSIVE HUSKER CLUB
Senior guard Tai Webster became just the fourth player in school history to have 500 points and 100 assists in the same season on March 3. Webster joins a list which includes Erick Strickland, Jaron Boone and Tyronn Lue, as players with at least 500 points and 100 assists in a season.

TAI MAKES HIS CASE IN 2016-17
The only senior on the 2016-17 roster, Tai Webster has worked hard to become one of the Big Ten's best performers this season. The Auckland, New Zealand, native earned All-Big Ten honors from both the coaches (3rd) and media (2nd) and averaged 17.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.4 steals per game.

  • Finished among the Big Ten leaders in scoring (fourth), steals (fifth) and assists (eighth) in 2016-17.
  • Became the first Husker to average 17.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game this past season. In fact, the last Husker to average 16.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game was Cookie Belcher in 2000-01 (16.4 ppg; 5.1 rpg; 4.4 apg) and only two other Huskers have done it since 1994 (Erick Strickland in 1994-95 and Tyronn Lue in 1997-98).
  • Was just the ninth Big Ten player since 1993-94 to average 17.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game, joining a list which includes D'Angelo Russell, Michael Finley, Evan Turner and Denzel Valentine among others.
  • According to Stats, Inc., Webster became just the sixth Big Ten player in the last 20 years to average 17.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game in Big Ten Conference action. Webster finished Big Ten play at 17.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game.
  • Led the Huskers in both double-figure (30) and 20-point games (nine), as he had a career-high 28 points, along with nine rebounds at Michigan on Jan. 14. Entering this season, Webster had just two 20-point games in his Husker career.
  • Was exceptional against the Huskers best foes, as he averaged 19.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.7 steals per game in NU's six games against ranked opponents in 2016-17.
  • Earned his first-ever Big Ten Player of the Week award on Jan. 2, as he averaged 19.5 points, 3.5 assists, 3.0 steals and 3.0 rebounds per game in helping NU to wins over No. 16 Indiana and Maryland. He keyed NU's comeback at Maryland with 18 points, including the Huskers' final seven points, in a 67-65 win.
  • Became Nebraska's 28th 1,000-point scorer on Feb. 5, and finished his career in 26th place on NU's career scoring list. He also made two of the largest single-season scoring improvements in recent years, as he raised his scoring average more than 13 points over the final two years of his career.

WATSON IS POINT OF IT ALL
Glynn Watson Jr. has continued his emergence as one of the best young guards in the Big Ten. The 6-foot sophomore averaged 13.1 points, 2.6 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Watson comes from a basketball family, as his older brother Demetri McCamey was a first-team All-Big Ten performer at Illinois, but Watson has quickly made his own name at Nebraska.

  • Watson was second on the team in scoring and assists and ranks among the conference leaders in scoring (18th) and steals (third).
  • Reached double figures 21 times this season, including seven 20-point efforts.
  • Provided two of the most memorable moments this season, hitting a pair of free throws with 8.8 seconds left to give Nebraska the lead in an 80-78 win over the Flyers and converting a 3-point play at Ohio State with 11.3 seconds left to give NU the margin of victory in a 58-57 win.
  • Finished 18th in the Big Ten in scoring (13.4 ppg) in conference games only and was also among the Big Ten leaders in steals (1.4 5th), 3-pointers per game (1.9, 15th) and 3-point percentage (.425, 11th). Most of Watson's numbers have improved compared to his non-conference numbers.
  • Carried the Huskers with a career-high 34-point effort against Iowa on Jan. 5. In that game, Watson went 11-of-18 from the field, including a blistering 7-of-8 shooting from 3-point range. His seven 3-pointers was one off NU's single-game record, while his .875 percentage was the fourth-highest total in school history.
  • Keyed NU's win over No. 16 Indiana with 26 points, five steals and four assists, as he had 19 second-half points.
  • Scored a then-career high 27 points on 10-of-18 shooting against No. 14 UCLA, scoring 21 of his 27 points in the second half as Nebraska rallied back and cut a 15-point deficit to two.

TAKING ON A CHALLENGING SCHEDULE
Nebraska has faced one of the most difficult schedules in program history in 2016-17. The Huskers were right around .500 until closing the season on a five-game losing streak.

  • Nebraska's strength of schedule finished 10th nationally according to the NCAA RPI. Since 2005-06, it is just the second time NU has had strength of schedule in the top-20 nationally. The other came in Coach Miles' first year in 2012-13, when it was 15th nationally.
  • Nebraska's non-conference strength of schedule led the nation entering Selection Sunday. Over the last 10 years, only one Big Ten team (Wisconsin, 2014) has had a non-conference schedule among the top 10 nationally on Selection Sunday.
  • Of the 30 Division I games on the schedule, 22 were against teams in the top-100 of the RPI, including 15 against teams that finished in the top-50 of the RPI. NU played only two opponents outside the top-200 of the RPI this season.

COMEBACK KIDS
Nebraska has shown the ability to come back throughout the year. NU has a pair of double-digit road comebacks, overcoming a 13-point deficit at Maryland on Jan. 1, and an 11-point deficit at Ohio State on Feb. 17.

  • Nebraska has come back from seven points down on four occasions in Big Ten play (7 at Indiana; 13 at Maryland; 9 vs. Purdue; 11 at Ohio State).
  • The Jan. 1 comeback over Maryland marked the fifth time that Nebraska has overcome a double-digit deficit under Tim Miles, but the first one on the road. The 13-point deficit NU overcame was its largest away from home since overcoming a 13-point deficit at Texas Tech in a 61-59 win on Feb. 6, 2007.

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