Lincoln -- The Star City will welcome Dunk City, as Florida Gulf Coast will be the first regular-season opponent for the Husker men’s basketball program at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The matchup between the Huskers and the Eagles will take place on Friday, Nov. 8, as part of opening day festivities at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The start time will be announced at a later date, but the first game at the new arena will be televised nationally in primetime on BTN.
“We are excited to have ‘Dunk City’ be our first game at Pinnacle Bank Arena” said Nebraska coach Tim Miles. “They play a style that I believe our fans will enjoy watching and have four starters back from a Sweet 16 team so it will be a challenge for the Huskers to start the season. Our players are excited for the opener in Pinnacle Bank Arena.”
The Eagles were the talk of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, becoming the first No. 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16, knocking off second-seeded Georgetown and seventh-seeded San Diego State by double figures before falling to Florida. FGCU, which became the first program to win its first two NCAA Tournament games since 1987, finished the 2012-13 season with a 26-11 mark and was ranked No. 25 in the final USA Today/Coaches poll. FGCU also knocked off ACC regular-season and tournament champion Miami during a record-setting season in 2012-13, as the program reached the NCAA Tournament in only its second year of eligibility. FGCU, now coached by former Kansas assistant coach Joe Dooley, welcomes back four starters, including Atlantic Sun Tournament MVP Brett Comer and Chase Fieler, a second-team A-Sun selection last season.
While the Eagles return four starters, Miles and the Huskers returns three starters from a team that went 15-18 in his first season, including guard Ray Gallegos and forwards David Rivers and Shavon Shields. Gallegos, who averaged 12.5 ppg in 2012-13, led the Big Ten in 3-pointers per game and ranked second in school history with 83 3-pointers, while Shields averaged 8.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game as a true freshman. Rivers started NU’s final 17 games and averaged 5.6 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. In all, 10 letterwinners return for the Huskers in 2013-14, while seven newcomers, including three scholarship redshirts, will suit up for the Scarlet and Cream this season.
This is the second meeting between the programs in the last three years, as Nebraska posted a 51-50 win over FGCU on Dec. 7, 2011. In that game, neither team led by more than three points in the final 11 minutes before Dylan Talley’s jumper with 10.4 seconds remaining proved to be the final margin.
NU’s season opener will be the first of five home games against 2013 NCAA Sweet 16 qualifiers during the first season at Pinnacle Bank Arena, a $179 million facility located in the Haymarket District blocks from the University of Nebraska campus. NU will also host Miami during the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, as well as NCAA runner-up Michigan, Big Ten regular-season champion Indiana and Big Ten Tournament champion Ohio State during Big Ten play. All general-public tickets at Pinnacle Bank Arena are pre-sold for the 2013-14 season, while the entire student second of 1,650 tickets are sold out for the year in May.
The matchup with FGCU will be the nightcap of a monumental day-night doubleheader at Pinnacle Bank Arena, which will be completed in mid-August. The Husker women’s program, which went 25-9 and reached the NCAA Sweet 16 for the second time in program history, will take UCLA in the first regular-season event in the building at Noon. The Bruins finished the 2012-13 with a 26-8 record and reached the second round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
For fans unable to use their 2013-14 season or single-game tickets, Nebraska has partnered with StubHub! for the Nebraska Basketball Marketplace. This exciting new partnership allows more freedom in pricing and expanded payment and posting options that enable you to reach a broader audience than ever before. This integration also includes electronic ticket delivery and allows you to post tickets for sale right up until game time in a safe and secure environment, supported by Nebraska Athletics. Go to huskers.com/marketplace for more details.
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