Lincoln – Ray Gallegos scored a game-high 18 points off the bench to lead five players in double figures, as Nebraska improved to 3-0 on the season with an 83-57 win over South Carolina State.
Gallegos, who didn’t play in Nebraska’s first two games, showed no rust by hitting 6-of-10 from 3-point range, as the senior guard finished with 18 points in 23 minutes of action. It marked the fifth time in his career that Gallegos hit at least six 3-pointers in a game, as he led the Big Ten in 3-pointers per game last season.
Gallegos was one of two Huskers making their season debut on Sunday, as junior guard Deverell Biggs added 18 points, two assists and three rebounds in 23 minutes. Biggs, who redshirted last season, hit 5-of-10 shots from the floor and got to the line 10 times, as Nebraska went 23-of-32 from the line.
Freshman Tai Webster added 13 points and four rebounds, while Leslee Smith finished with 12 points, a team-high seven rebounds and three steals, and Shavon Shields added 10 points and six rebounds to help Nebraska improve to 3-0 on the season. In all, Nebraska got 51 points from its bench while the 83 points marks the second-highest total in Tim Miles’ two seasons at Nebraska.
Nebraska took charge on the defensive end early, holding South Carolina State without a field goal for a stretch of 7:42, as the Huskers built an early double-figure lead. The Huskers used an early 13-1 run, highlighted by 3-pointers from Walter Pitchford and Biggs to take a 13-3 lead after a Smith putback.
Nebraska would keep the visitors at bay during the first half by going 6-of-12 from long range, including four 3-pointers from Gallegos in his 2013-14 debut. Gallegos’ fourth 3-pointer of the half gave the Huskers their largest lead of the half, at 36-23 with 2:35 left in the half. South Carolina State would chip away in the final minutes, using an 8-3 run to pull within 39-31 at the break on an Adama Adams’ jumper to beat the halftime buzzer.
South Carolina State (1-3) pulled to within 40-35 after an Adams basket with 18:21 left, but baskets by Shields and Terran Petteway highlighted a 7-0 spurt which pushed the lead to 12 points after Petteway banked in a jumper. The Bulldogs were unable to cut the lead to single figures, but continued to hang around and were within 65-51 after a Devin Joint basket with 8:30 left before Nebraska finally put the game out of reach.
A Leslee Smith dunk ignited a 10-0 Husker spurt over the next two and a half minutes, as NU built a 75-51 lead after a Webster basket with 6:01 left and cruised to a 26-point win.
Jordan Smith led SCSU with 14 points, while Adams finished with 12 in a losing effort.
The Huskers will now hit the road for the first time this season, as they head to Charleston, S.C. for the Charleston Classic. The Huskers take on UMass Thursday at 11:30 a.m. The game will be available on the Husker Sports Radio Network and shown online on ESPN3.