Huskers Look for 3-0 Start on Sunday vs. SCSU
Game #3 South Carolina State
Game Date Nov. 17, 2013
Tipoff Time 2:05 p.m.
Venue Pinnacle Bank Arena
2013-14 Record: 2-0, 0-0 Big Ten
Head coach: Tim Miles
Record at Nebraska: 17-18 (2nd year)
Career Record: 300-238 (19th year)
South Carolina State Bulldogs
2013-14 Record: 1-2, 0-0 MEAC
Head Coach: Murray Garvin
Record at SCSU: 3-9 (2nd year)
Career Record: Same
Huskers on TV/Radio/Internet
Online: Big Ten Digital Network (subscription required - Video.btn.com)
Broadcast Team: Ryan Swanigan and Jon Kipper
Radio: Across the state on the 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
Huskers Look for 3-0 Start on Sunday vs. SCSUThe Nebraska men’s basketball team wraps up its three-game homestand on Sunday afternoon, as the Huskers play host to South Carolina State at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Tipoff is set for 2:05 p.m. (central) and Sunday’s game will be available online (subscription required) on the Big Ten Digital Network with Ryan Swanigan and Jon Kipper on the call.
Sunday’s matchup with the Bulldogs 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. The game can be heard for free on Huskers.com and is available on the Huskers’ app on iOS or android devices.
A limited number of tickets are available in the 200 and 300 Level sections with prices ranging from $7-$15. Visit Huskers.com or call 800-8-BIGRED for more information.
Nebraska avoided a letdown following an emotional season opener with a workmanlike 62-47 victory over Western Illinois Tuesday night. Sophomore Walter Pitchford’s 14 points led four Huskers in double figures. Pitchford and junior college transfer Leslee Smith keyed a 23-7 first-half run that gave the breathing room the Huskers would need. Smith came off the bench and started the run with six straight points before Pitchford scored eight straight to stake the Huskers to a 13-point lead.
Nebraska’s 62 points came against a team which was ranked second nationally in points allowed per game last season (53.6 ppg) and won 22 games in 2012-13. Nebraska was solid on the defensive end, allowing 37.8 percent shooting to the Leathernecks, including 32 percent during the first half.
The Huskers will get a boost on Sunday, as the game against South Carolina State marks the return of Ray Gallegos to the Husker lineup and the debut of Deverell Biggs. Both players missed the first two regular-season contests because of suspension.
Gallegos was the Huskers’ leading scorer in 2012-13, as he averaged 12.5 points per game and led the Big Ten with 2.5 3-pointers per game and ranked eighth in steals. Biggs was first-team junior college All-American at Seward CC who averaged 14.6 points, 3.1 assists and 3.3 steals per game in 2011-12 before redshirting for the Huskers last season.
South Carolina State is 1-2 on the season and will take on its second straight Big Ten team on Sunday. On Tuesday, the Bulldogs fell at Michigan, 93-59, despite a 19-point effort from Jordan Smith. SCSU will play its next two games in the state, as the Bulldogs will also face Nebraska-Omaha on Tuesday.
By the Numbers
1 - Leslee Smith had 10 points off the bench in Tuesday’s win over WIU. Last year, NU had a total of five double-digit efforts from its bench (Shields-1; Rivers-2, Ubel-1; Tyrance-1).
20.5 - Points per game for Shavon Shields which is second in the Big Ten. The 6-foot-7 sophomore is among the Big Ten leaders in field goal percentage (63.6, 3rd), free throw percentage (.929, 9th) and minutes (34.5, 4th).
26.5 - Free throw attempts for the Huskers per game in 2013-14, a total which ranks sixth in the conference. Last year, the Huskers were 12th in the Big Ten averaging 14.9 free throws per game.
300 - Nebraska Coach Tim Miles won his 300th game against Western Illinois on Tuesday night. Miles will look to get back to the .500 mark at Nebraska with a win on Sunday, as he is 17-18 in one-plus seasons at Nebraska.
Scouting South Carolina State
South Carolina State plays its second straight Big Ten team this Sunday when the Bulldogs take on the Huskers at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Bulldogs have been off since Tuesday night, when they lost at Michigan, 93-59. It marked the third game in a five-game stretch, covering three states for SCSU. The Bulldogs opened the season with an 85-69 loss to Marshall on Nov. 8 before rebounding with a 59-55 double OT win over St. Andrews on Nov. 10. In the loss to Michigan, the Wolverines shot 50.8 percent from the floor, including 15-of-28 from 3-point range.
South Carolina State is coached by Murray Garvin, who took over as the interim coach last season and led SCSU to a 2-7 record before being named head coach in the offseason. Prior to joining the Bulldogs staff, Garvin worked at Winston-Salem State, Charleston Southern and Clinton Junior College.
The Bulldogs returned four starters and seven of eight letterwinners from a team that went 6-24 in 2012-13. Matthew Hezekiah is their top returnee, as the 6-foot-11, 225-pounder averaged team highs in both scoring (12.9 ppg) and rebounding (7.4 rpg) a year ago. This season, he is averaging team highs in both scoring (15.7 ppg) and rebounding (4.7 rpg). Sophomore Jordan Smith joins Hezekiah in double figures at 10.0 ppg, and has hit 8-of-19 from 3-point range. Smith had a game-high 19 points, including five 3-pointers, in the loss at Michigan. The duo of Darryl Palmer (5.0 ppg and 4.0 rpg) and Adama Adams (9.0 ppg) gives Garvin a solid returning group to work around with. Adams also has international experience, as he was chosen for the Senegal National Team earlier this year.
Series History vs. South Carolina State
Nebraska and South Carolina State have faced off only one other time, a 77-63 Husker win on Dec. 30, 2008. In that matchup Sek Henry led four Huskers in double figures with 18 points. Ade Dagunduro, Steve Harley and Paul Velander also finished in double figures, as the Huskers forced 21 turnovers and held SCSU to 42 percent shooting, including 3-of-12 from 3-point range.
Last Time Out
Walter Pitchford led four Huskers in double figures, as Nebraska improved to 2-0 on the season with a 62-47 win over Western Illinois Tuesday night.
Pitchford, a 6-foot-10 sophomore, totaled a game-high 14 points, including a trip of 3-pointers, to pace the Big Red. Sophomores Shavon Shields and Terran Petteway added 13 apiece, while Leslee Smith came off the bench with 10 points and five rebounds.
Petteway nearly recorded a double-double, finishing with 13 points and nine rebounds in 28 minutes, as Nebraska had a 34-30 advantage on the glass and forced 15 Leatherneck turnovers.
Pitchford and Smith keyed a decisive first-half run, as the Huskers used a 23-7 spurt to seize momentum and build a 17-point first-half cushion. Leading 8-7 after a 7-0 WIU run, Smith came off the bench for two quick baskets and a pair of free throws to stake the Huskers a 16-9 lead. Moments later, Pitchford’s conventional 3-point play started a run of eight straight points for the Florida transfer as his second 3-pointer of the half pushed the lead to 13 points at 24-11. Nebraska shot 56 in the first half, including 4-of-8 from 3-point range, while holding Western Illinois (0-2) to 32 percent in the half and 38 percent on the night, including 4-of-19 from long range. Petteway carried the Huskers in a sluggish second half, scoring 10 of his 13 points in the final 20 minutes, as Nebraska cooled off after halftime. Despite shooting just 32 percent in the second half, the Huskers led by as many as 23 points on several occasions, the last being at 58-35 with 4:56 remaining after a Petteway 3-point play, and cruised to a 15-point win.
Miles Wins No. 300 vs. WIU
Nebraska Coach Tim Miles collected his 300th career victory in Tuesday’s win over Western Illinois. Miles, who is in his 19th season as a college head coach, is 300-238 in his career with stops at Mayville State, Southwest Minnesota State, North Dakota State and Colorado State before taking the Nebraska job in March of 2012. Ironically enough, his 200th win came against current Husker assistant Craig Smith when Miles was at Noth Dakota State and Smith was the head coach at Mayville State.
The Son Also Rises
Nebraska sophomore Shavon Shields in 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 is carving out his own impressive career 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 was one of the few freshmen whose numbers improved during Big Ten play in 2012-13, as he upped his scoring and rebounding averages to 9.2 and 6.0 to rank among the Big Ten leaders. During the Huskers’ Big Ten Tournament run, the 6-foot-7, 219-pounder became one of the Huskers’ go-to players, averaging 16.5 points on 61 percent shooting in games against Purdue and Ohio State.
One of three captains this season, Shields picked up right where he left off and leads the Huskers in scoring at 20.5 points per game while ranking second in rebounding at 5.0 per game. Shields has been in double figures both games and put on a show against Florida Gulf Coast in the opener. He led all scorers with a game-high 28 poins - one off his career high - on 8-of-13 shooting 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) en route to earning Big Ten Player of the Week and the Lute Olson Award National Player of the Week. Shields’ 28-point night marked the most points by a Husker in a season opener since 2006. He followed up with a 13-point effort in Nebraska’s win over Western Illinois on Tuesday.
How Shavon Spent His Summer
Sophomore Shavon Shields spent part of the summer with 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. Shields had nine points in the opener against Sweden and 14 points in the victory over host Finland.
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 Walter Pitchford, Terran Petteway 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.
Pitchford, who played 13 games at Florida in helping the Gators to the Elite Eight in 2011-12, gives the Huskers an athletic big man with extended shooting range. The 6-foot-10 center is averaging 10.5 points per game on 58 percent shooting, including 5-of-8 shooting from 3-point range. Pitchford led NU with 14 points in Tuesday’s win over Western Illinois, including eight straight points in a first-half run.
Petteway, who began his career at Texas Tech, has been one of the Huskers’ most valuable performers. He added 15 pounds since coming to Nebraska, earning lifter-of-the-year honors in 2012-13, and was chosen as a team captain before playing a single game at Nebraska. He comes into Sunday’s game with South Carolina State averaging 15.0 points and a team-high 6.5 rebounds per game. Petteway had 17 points in the opener against Florida Gulf Coast, and nearly had a double-double in NU’s win over Western Illinois with 13 points and nine rebounds.
The third transfer will make his Husker debut on Sunday, as Deverell Biggs missed NU’s first two games because of a suspension.
Webster Makes a Point, Plays the Point
Tai Webster has been a mainstay in the Husker lineup, starting at point guard in both of Nebraska’s games. He is averaging 8.5 points and 2.5 assists per game while playing 32 minutes a game.
With his start against Florida Gulf Coast, 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 followed up with eight points, three rebounds and an assist in NU’s win over Western Illinois.
In each of his first two seasons at Nebraska, Tim Miles has started a true freshman in the backcourt, as Benny Parker started the 2012-13 opener.
Although he is a freshman, 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.
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. Despite losing its top three point guards from 2011-12 and having a backup point guard (Mike Peltz) suffer a season-ending injury in January, Nebraska finished fourth in the Big Ten and 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. Nebraska set a school record with two turnovers against Purdue on Jan. 16, breaking the mark of three set on three previous occasions.
In all, five of the top 11 teams in the country resided in the Big Ten, including Michigan and Wisconsin which ranked first and fourth, respectively in that category.
In the first two games of this season, Nebraska is averaging just 9.0 turnovers per game, which is third in the Big Ten entering this weekend’s action. the Huskers lead the conference in turnover margin, forcing a league-best 15.5 turnovers per contest. Including its exhibition win over Nebraska-Kearney, the Huskers have not had more than nine turnovers in a game.
Captains Chosen for 2013-14
Nebraska Coach Tim Miles announced on Oct. 12 that senior Ray Gallegos and sophomores Shavon Shields and Terran Petteway were chosen as team captains for the 2013-14 season. It is the first time that any of the three Huskers had been chosen captain. Shields and Gallegos are returning starters who started 19 and 33 games, respectively, while Petteway sat out the 2012-13 season after transferring from Texas Tech.
Double-Figure Returneees Rare Recently
With the debut of senior guard Ray Gallegos on Sunday, the Huskers regain the services of their top returning scorer heading into the 2013-14 season. Gallegos, who averaged 12.5 points per game, was one of three Huskers to average double figures last year. Gallegos’ per-game average is the most for a Husker returner since Aleks Maric in 2007-08. In fact, Nebraska has returned only four double-figure scorers since the 2006-07 season.
Gallegos was Husker Ironman
If it seems like Ray Gallegos was on the court nearly every minute last season, it probably is true, as he was one of the nation’s leader in minutes played in 2012-13.
•-According to kenpom.com, Gallegos ranked third nationally in percentage of minutes played, as was on the court for 93.7 percent of the Huskers’ minutes in 2012-12. He trailed only Travis Bader of Oakland (94.8) and Kyle Vinales of Central Connecticut State (94.0) among all Division I players.
•-In the last five years (2009-2013), 16 Big Ten players, including Gallegos, have played at least 90 percent of their team’s minutes in a season, and Gallegos’ season total was second to Penn State’s Talor Battle.
•-Gallegos played all 40 minutes 10 times in 18 Big Ten games and 12 times during the 2012-13 season. Gallegos set Nebraska’s single-season record for minutes with 1,237, breaking the mark of 1,155 by Dave Hoppen in 1984-85.
•-In Big Ten play, he averaged 38.6 minutes per game, sitting just 26 minutes in league play. His total minutes played were 26 more than runner-up Deshaun Thomas of Ohio State.
•-Gallegos was on the court consecutively for a stretch of 218:39 minutes dating from Dec. 29 to Jan. 19, playing all 40 minutes of Nebraska’s first five Big Ten games.
•-His season low in minutes - which was set in the season opener against Southern - were the most minutes played of his career, as he never played more than 27 minutes in any game during his first two seasons (2009-10, 2010-11).
Bench Has Been Productive For Huskers Early
One difference between last year and this season so far, as been the contributions Nebraska has gotten from its bench. Not only have the Huskers increased their scoring and rebounding from last year - numbers which will go up with the addition of Ray Gallegos and Deverell Biggs - but they have made key plays in each game so far.
•-Against Florida Gulf Coast, sophomore Benny Parker had a career-high nine points and two steals in 27 minutes. He single-handedly sparked the Huskers in a 10-0 second half run with seven points and both steals.
•-In Tuesday’s win over Western Illinois, Leslee Smith had 10 points, five rebounds and a pair of steals in 20 minutes. Smith scored six of his points in a 23-7 first-half run, turning a one-point lead into a 17-point advantage.
The 2013-14 Huskers have a number of players with relatives in college athletics. Sophomore Shavon Shields is the son of former Husker and Kansas City Chiefs great Will Shields, who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in December of 2011. Will Shields is also a two-time finalist (2012-13) for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Two other Husker players have parents who participated in college sports, as David Rivers’ father, Ezelle, played collegiately at Arkansas Little Rock for four seasons, while Tai Webster’s father, Tony, was a first-team All-Western Athletic Conference selection at Hawaii.
Four-year letterwinner; Starter in 1983-84
2011 College FB Hall of Fame; 12x NFL Pro Bowler
First-team All-WAC in 1983; Ranks 4th on Hawaii steals list
Member of New Zealand National Team
Two-year starter at middle blocker/rightside hitter
Played at Lamar & professionally in England from 1999-2004
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. In addition, all 1,650 seats in the Nebraska student section - including all 1,000 lower-bowl seats - had been purchased for the upcoming season. The previous school record for season ticket sales was 12,000 set in 1992-93.
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 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 be 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 new 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 will be 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.
Huskers Face Challenging Schedule in 2013-14
Under Tim Miles, Nebraska has put together a challenging season for the upcoming season. Nebraska is slated to play four teams in the preseason AP Top 25 (Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin) and could face another as the Huskers could play New Mexico in the Charleston Classic. In addition, four other opponents (Creighton, Indiana, Iowa and Cincinnati) are receiving votes in the preseason poll.
•- The Huskers will play seven teams who finished in the final Top 25 of the final 2012-13 Associated Press poll, including Indiana (fourth), Miami (fifth), Ohio State (seventh), Michigan State (ninth), Michigan (tied, 10th), Wisconsin (18th) and Creighton (22th). In addition, NU could face New Mexico (tied, 10th) in the second round of the Charleston Classic.
•- Nebraska will welcome five teams (Florida Gulf Coast, Miami, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio State) that reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in its first season at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
•- Massachusetts, which played in the NIT in 2013, is the only first-team opponent on the Huskers’ 2013-14 schedule, as the two teams will meet in the opening round of the Charleston Classic. In addition, the only other team that NU could face for the first time is Clemson in the Charleston Classic, but both teams are on the opposite sides of the bracket.
•- The Charleston Classic is the first of three ESPN-sponsored events that the Huskers will compete in over the next three seasons. In 2014-15, Nebraska will be in the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu, while participating in the Wooden Legacy in 2015-16.
•- Nebraska’s single-plays in Big Ten action this season are Iowa (away), Michigan State (away), Minnesota (home) and Wisconsin (home).
Shields Named Big Ten Player of the Week
Nebraska basketball player Shavon Shields garnered Big Ten Player-of-the-Week honors on Nov. 11 following his performance against Florida Gulf Coast in the season opener.
The 6-foot-7 sophomore had a game-high 28 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field and a perfect 12-of-12 from the foul line in the win over 2013 Sweet 16 qualifier FGCU. Shields, whose 28 points were the most by a Big Ten player last weekend, also led the Huskers in rebounds (six) and assists (35) while not committing a turnover in 35 minutes of action.
The Big Ten honor was the third of Shields’ career, as he was a two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week in 2012-13. He was the first Husker to earn the Big Ten Player of the Week since Andre Almeida last December.
Huskers Sign Oklahoma Big Man
Nebraska Men’s Basketball Coach Tim Miles announced that Jacob Hammond signed a National Letter-of-Intent with the Husker basketball program on Nov. 13, the first day of the fall signing period.
Hammond, a 6-foot-10, 230-pounder from Comanche, Okla., is considered one of the nation’s top big men in the class of 2014. Hammond is rated among the top 150 players in the country by Rivals.com, while he was a consensus three-star selection by ESPN.com, Scout.com and 247 Sports.com. The 6-foot-10, 230-pounder is rated as the No. 2 prospect in the state of Oklahoma by both ESPN.com and 247 Sports. Hammond is the first Rivals’ top-150 recruit Nebraska has signed since the site began ranking prospects in 2003. Hammond selected Nebraska over a number of schools, including Oklahoma, TCU and Texas Tech.
While Miles has upgraded the talent at Nebraska since arriving in March of 2013, finding a quality big man who compete in the Big Ten was a priority in this year’s recruiting, and Hammond has all the tools to be successful.
“I am really excited about Jacob Hammond joining the Huskers,” Miles said. ”He has excellent size and length. He is a great kid who wants to get better and better. I was very impressed with him all summer. He plays in a physical manner and has excellent athleticism. I really think he has a lot of room for growth and development and is someone who will be a great asset to our program. It has been fun getting to know him as a person. I truly like him and think he’ll be a valuable part of the future of Husker basketball.”
Hammond currently attends Comanche High School, where he plays for Coach Nick Price. As a junior, he played for national power Sunrise Christian Academy in Bel Aire, Kan., for Coach Kyle Lindsted when he averaged 12 points per game in helping the school to a 29-1 record and a No. 6 ranking in the MaxPreps Academy Top-10 in 2012-13. Hammond, who grew up in the Dallas area before his family moved to Oklahoma, spent the summer playing for the Dallas-based Pro Skills and the Oklahoma Magic AAU programs. As a sophomore, Hammond averaged 14 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks per game for the Oklahoma City Storm, a home school team, and began his high school career at Duncan High School as a freshman.
Time Out with Coach Miles Set for Nov. 26
Join Nebraska men’s basketball coach Tim Miles for an exclusive look into the Husker Basketball program with Time Out with Coach Miles on Tuesday, Nov. 26.
This luncheon will provide fans a fun and unique look into the Husker basketball program, as Coach Miles guides you through a film breakdown session to learn the Xs and Os of the Huskers and their opponents.
The luncheon will be held at 11:30 a.m. at the Marcus Midtown Cinema (3201 Farnam Street) in Omaha. Tickets cost just $20 each (sales tax included) and must be purchased no later than Thursday, Nov. 21. Parking is available in the adjacent garage (three hours free parking).
To reserve your seat at this informative and entertaining event, call the Huskers Athletic Fund at (402) 472-2367 or 800-8-BIG RED, or visit www.huskers.com/donate.