Huskers Host Minnesota Sunday Afternoon
Game #19 Minnesota
Game Date Jan. 26, 2014
Tipoff Time 5:05 p.m. (CT)
Venue Pinnacle Bank Arena
2013-14 Record: 9-9, 1-5 Big Ten
Head coach: Tim Miles
Record at Nebraska: 24-27 (2nd year)
Career Record: 307-247 (19th year)
Minnesota Golden Gophers
2013-14 Record: 15-5, 4-3 Big Ten
Head Coach: Richard Pitino
Record at Minnesota: 15-5 (1st year)
Career Record: 33-19 (2nd year)
Huskers on TV/Radio/Internet
(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: Stephen Bardo
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. 93, XM Ch. 190
Huskers Host Minnesota on Suits and Sneakers Weekend
The Nebraska basketball team returns to Pinnacle Bank Arena Sunday afternoon, as the Huskers host Minnesota. Tipoff is set for 5:06 p.m. and the game will be carried nationally on BTN (Ch. 610 on DirecTV, Chs. 439 and 9500 on Dish; Chs. 2, 1333 on Time Warner Cable) with Kevin Kugler and Stephen Bardo on the call. The game will also be available online and on mobile devices on BTN2Go.
A limited number of 300 Level tickets are available for Sunday’s game. Those are $10 apiece and can be purchased by calling 1-800-8-BIGRED or (402) 472-3111 or at the Pinnacle Bank Arena Ticket Office beginning 90 minutes prior to tipoff, if available.
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.
As part of Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Awareness weekend, the Husker coaching staff will be in suits and sneakers. In addition, the orange and green ties the Husker staff will wear represents leukemia (orange) and bone marrow awareness (green). UNL students are encouraged to suit up as part of the BTN LiveBIG’s promotion with the student section with the most participation raising $10,000 for the Relay for Life Initiative. All fans will also have a chance to sign up for the Bone Marrow registry, a cause that is close to the Husker staff, as Avery Harriman, the son of assistant coach Chris Harriman was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia when he was 2 years old. Avery underwent a bone marrow transplant last year, and is now leukemia free.
The Huskers (9-9, 1-5 B1G) need to rebound quickly after losing in the final minute at Penn State Thursday evening, 58-54. Nebraska, which led by nine in the second half, allowed Penn State to outscore the Huskers 11-4 in the final 2:24 to prevent Nebraska from earning its first road win of the year. The Huskers held Penn State to 35 percent shooting and out-rebounded PSU, 40-35, but 14 turnovers - including three in the final stretch - led to 22 points, a deciding factor in Thursday’s loss.
Nebraska, which has played four of its first six Big Ten games on the road, caps a busy week with its third game since Monday when the Golden Gophers come to town. Minnesota is 15-5 on the year following an 81-68 win over No. 9 Wisconsin on Wednesday.
By the Numbers
2 - The Huskers are looking for their first two-game win streak over Minnesota since non-conference wins in 2002 and 2003.
8-2 - Nebraska’s record in games decided by five points or less under Tim Miles.
4 - Nebraska’s last four games have all been decided by six points or less.
9.3 - Rebounds per game for Shavon Shields over Nebraska’s last three games. Shields has tied or set season bests in each of the last three contests.
17.2 - Terran Petteway’s scoring average, which would mark only the second time since 1999 that a Husker has averaged 17.0 ppg (Aleks Maric, 2006-07, 18.5 ppg).
37.3% - Nebraska’s last two opponents have combined to shoot 37.3 percent from the field.
Under Richard Pitino, the Minnesota Golden Gophers are one of the biggest surprises in the Big Ten. Pitino is in his first year at Minnesota after coaching at Florida International during the 2012-13 season. Florida International went 18-14 and advanced to the title game of the Sun Belt Conference in 2013.
Minnesota is 15-5 on the season and 4-3 in the Big Ten following an 81-68 win over No. 9 Wisconsin Wednesday evening. The Gophers went 11-2 during non-conference action, including a six-game win streak before Big Ten action. UM’s best wins in non-conference actions were victories at Richmond and against Florida State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Four of Minnesota’s five losses are to nationally ranked teams, including against unbeaten Syracuse in the Maui Invitational and at No. 3 Michigan State, a contest they led most of regulation before falling to the Spartans.
The Gophers’ strength is a full-court press which leads the Big Ten with 8.2 steals per game, as Minnesota will occasionally play a four-guard lineup. Austin Hollins and DeAndre Mathieu both rank in the top six in the Big Ten in steals per game. Minnesota is also the best free throw shooting team in the conference, hitting 75.6 percent from the foul line.
Andre Hollins leads Minnesota and ranks among the Big Ten leaders at 15.4 points per game, but suffered an ankle injury early in Wednesday’s win and is doubtful for Sunday. Senior Austin Hollins chips in 11.8 points per game. On the inside, junior center Elliott Eliason, who is from Chadron, Neb., averages 6.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game to rank third in the Big Ten in rebounding. He is also second in the conference in blocked shots at 2.6 per game. One other Husker-Gopher connection is Minnesota assistant coach Ben Johnson, who was a member of Nebraska’s coaching staff last season.
Nebraska-Minnesota Series History
Nebraska and Minnesota will meet for the 69th time Sunday afternoon, which is the most between the Huskers and any other Big Ten member. To put it in perspective, Nebraska had faced the other 10 teams in the league just 96 times prior to joining the Big Ten in 2011. It is also NU’s longest-running series in the Big Ten, as it dates back to February of 1902. The Gophers lead the all-time series, 52-16, as the teams split the series last year. Prior to joining the Big Ten, NU and Minnesota met in non-conference action every year from 1995 until 2004 after not playing for 16 years.
Minnesota has won three of the four meetings since Nebraska joined the Big Ten, as Nebraska picked up its first win over Minnesota since 2003 with a 53-51 win in the Devaney Center finale on March 6, 2013. This will be the only time Nebraska and Minnesota will meet in the regular season, as the Gophers are one of Nebraska’s four single-play opponents in 2013-14 (also Iowa, Michigan State and Wisconsin).
Last Time Out
A late comeback by Penn State spoiled a golden opportunity for the Nebraska basketball team to capture a road win, as the Nittany Lions posted a 58-54 win Thursday evening.
Nebraska led 51-47 after a Deverell Biggs basket with 2:24 left, but Penn State closed the game on an 11-3 run to earn their first conference win.
The Huskers clung to a 51-50 lead, but Tim Frazier stole the ball from Biggs and found D.J. Newbill for a basket, and he was fouled on the play. Newbill, who finished with a game-high 16 points, converted the 3-point play to make it 53-31. After an errant shot on Nebraska’s next possession, John Johnson’s 3-pointer with 18 seconds left gave the Nittany Lions a five-point lead.
Nebraska still had chances in the final seconds, as Terran Petteway’s 3-pointer with 12 seconds left pulled the Huskers within 56-54. On the inbounds, pass, the Huskers’ pressure forced a PSU turnover, giving Nebraska a final opportunity. The Huskers were unable to get off a shot, as the 14th turnover of the evening gave the Nittany Lions the ball before Frazier was fouled. The fifth-year senior hit both free throws to ice PSU’s first Big Ten win, as he finished with 11 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
Ray Gallegos joined Petteway in double figures with 10 points, as Nebraska shot just 35.8 percent. PSU shot just 35 percent and were out-rebounded 40-35, but turned the 14 Husker miscues into 22 points.
Nebraska has won 10 of its last 11 games at Pinnacle Bank Arena dating back to last season. The only loss in that span is a one-point loss to Big Ten co-leader Michigan on Jan. 9.
Ray Gallegos has been in double figures in three of the last four games, including 10 points against Penn State on Thursday. Prior to that strech, Gallegos had been in double figures only three times this season.
Terran Petteway is one of three players who ranks in the top-10 in the Big Ten in scoring and rebounding in conference play, joining Aaron White (Iowa) and A.J. Hammons (Purdue).
Terran Petteway has scored in double figures in each of the last 15 games, the longest stretch by a Husker since Aleks Maric reached double figures in 17 straight games spanning the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons.
Ray Gallegos is 16 points away from cracking the top-60 career scoring list at Nebraska. Gallegos also is eight 3-pointers away from moving into seventh place on NU’s career 3-point list (145, Tyronn Lue).
Nebraska has been a much better rebounding team in Big Ten action, posting a +2.3 advantage on the glass in conference play after being out-rebounded by 2.0 before conference play.
Deverell Biggs has reached double figures in four of his last six contests (and scored nine points in the other two games). Prior to missing the Cincinnati game, he had been in double figures just three times in NU’s first 11 contests.
Quick Look at Nebraska
As second-year coach Tim Miles continues his rebuilding process at Nebraska, the Huskers’ roster is starting to take shape. Only two of the 12 players on scholarship have been at NU longer than two seasons (Ray Gallegos and David Rivers), while Gallegos is the only scholarship senior on the 2013-14 roster.
This season, Nebraska is picked 12th 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 eight 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.
Nebraska enters the game at No. 87 with a schedule ranked 28th nationally. According to RealtimeRPI, it is the fifth-toughest schedule in the conference, as six of the 12 schools have schedules in the top 30 nationally.
Of Nebraska’s nine losses, six are to teams ranked in either the AP or coaches poll this week (OSU, Iowa, UMass, Cincinnati, Michigan and Creighton).
Entering this weekend’s action, Nebraska has played two home conference games - the fewest of any Big Ten school.
Nebraska’s youth has been evident so far in Big Ten play, as 73 percent of NU’s points 76 percent of assists and 71 percent of NU’s individual rebounds have been by newcomers in their first season of Big Ten play.
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.
Finding Offensive Pace
Despite having several new faces in the rotation, the Huskers have been a much more prolific offensive team in 2013-14. The Huskers are averaging 11 points more per game than at this point last year, including a season-high 90 points against UMass on Nov. 21 - NU’s highest single-game total since the 2009-10 season.
Nebraska’s team scoring average of 68.4 points per game is on track to be the highest at Nebraska since the 2003-04 season, when Nebraska averaged 70.5 points per game. In fact, Nebraska has averaged 70 points per game twice since 2000.
Last year, NU was 12th in the Big Ten in scoring offense at 58.3 points per game. So far this season, Nebraska has been held under 60 points just four times in 18 games.
Nebraska is one of 56 teams averaging more than 10 points per game from 2013-14.
The Huskers’ 70 points against Michigan on Jan. 9, was NU’s highest in a conference game since scoring 80 against Illinois on Feb. 18, 2012.
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 had eight players reach double figures at least once this season. The Huskers had two games where five players reached double figures and six others with four double-figure scorers.
Nebraska has already scored 75 or more points five times this season after just reaching that plateau twice in 33 games during the 2012-13 season.
In two seasons under Miles, Nebraska is 19-8 when scoring over 60 points.
Setting a Benchmark
For Nebraska, one of the biggest improvements has been the development of its bench this season, most notably the development of Deverell Biggs and Leslee Smith. The Huskers are averaging 21.3 points and 14.3 rebounds per game from its bench this season.
Biggs is third on the team in scoring at 9.9 ppg and 3.3 rpg while averaging 20.5 minutes per outing. He is shooting 43 percent from the floor and is second among all Big Ten bench players in scoring average.
Biggs has been productive in Big Ten play, raising his scoring and rebounding averages to 10.8 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, respectively.
He has reached double figures seven times, including four of the Huskers’ first six Big Ten games. At Purdue, he had 10 points, a career-high seven rebounds, two blocked shots, two assists and two steals. Against No. 17 Ohio State, Biggs finished with 11 points, four rebounds and a team-high three assists.
Biggs’ high in conference play was 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the one-point loss against Michigan on Jan.9.
He helped the Huskers cut a 20-point second-half deficit to five at No. 22 Iowa on Dec. 31 with 12 points, four rebounds and a pair of steals.
His season high in points was an 18-point effort against Northern Illinois on Nov. 30. In that game, he hit four free throws in the final eight seconds after NIU cut the lead to one.
Smith has been the Huskers’ most consistent performer according to Tim Miles, as he gives NU a physical post presence. Smith is averaging 7.6 points on 58 percent shooting and a team-high 6.1 rebounds per game to rank 13th in the Big Ten. Smith is one of only two players from the British Virgin Islands playing Division I basketball.
Leads the Huskers and is eighth in the Big Ten in 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 fifth in the Big Ten in that category.
Leads the Huskers in both blocked shots (14) and steals (20) while averaging less than 20 minutes per game.
Nebraska’s bench has out-scored its opponents in 10 of the last 15 games since Biggs and Ray Gallegos returned to the lineup on Nov. 17.
Nebraska has received 15 double-figure games from its bench, including seven from 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.
Last year, Ray Gallegos and Dylan Talley both ranked among the top five in the Big Ten in minutes per game at over 35 minutes per game. This year, no Husker is averaging more than 31.5 minutes per game, while nine Huskers average at least 12.7 minutes per game.
Nebraska had three players reach double figures in the win over Georgia (Tai Webster-14; Ray Gallegos-11; Leslee Smith-18).
Sophomore Benny Parker has been in the lineup all 18 games this year and has 2.3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio as NU’s backup point guard. Junior David Rivers is NU’s other primary post player, as he averages 2.5 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. He played 14 minutes - his highest total since Nov. 30 - in Monday’s win over Ohio State and played 10 minutes at Penn State on Thursday.
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. It marked the third straight season that tickets sales were up.
Nebraska is on track to shatter the school’s single-season attendance record of 13,357 per game set in 1992-93.
The previous school record for season ticket sales was 12,000 set in 1992-93. Nebraska is averaging 15,151 fans per game in 2013-14, including the four largest crowds in school history.
During non-conference action, attendance was up 56 percent from the 2012-13 season.
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 4,779 more fans per game than in 2012-13.
The Huskers have rewarded the fans by going 8-1 in the first season at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Nebraska finished non-conference play unbeaten for the first time since 2010-11, and knocked off their first ranked foe since 2012 with the win over No. 15 Ohio State on Jan. 20.
The Son Also Rises
Nebraska sophomore 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.
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.
Shields, who was hampered by a knee bruise suffered in practice early in Big Ten play, comes into Sunday’s game averaging 11.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game, as he is second on the team in all three categories.
He has been solid the last two games following the bye, averaging 12.0 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 53 percent from the floor.
Shields has the team's longest starting streak at 37 games dating back to last season.
He has been in double figures 10 times, and has grabbed at least six rebounds in 11 of NU’s 18 contests. Shields has tied or set season bests in rebounds in each of the last three games, including 10 in Thursday’s loss at Penn State.
Shields broke out against No. 17 Ohio State on Jan. 20 with a game-high 18 points and nine rebounds. In the previous five games, he was averaging five points per game on 24 percent shooting.
Shields has paced the Huskers in scoring four times and has a pair of 20-point games this season. Both of his 20-point nights came against 2013 NCAA Tournament qualifiers (Florida Gulf Coast and Creighton).
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 and will be a candidate for CoSIDA Academic All-America honors this season.
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 Terran Petteway, Walter Pitchford 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. All three have played significant roles for the Huskers this season.
Petteway, who began his career at Texas Tech, has been one of the Big Ten’s best newcomers. He enters the weekend ranked fourth in the conference in scoring at 17.2 ppg, while also averaging 5.3 caroms per outing.
Petteway has raised his scoring average more than 14 points from his true freshman year at Texas Tech. Prior to joining the Husker roster, his career high in points at the college level was 13 against DePaul in 2011-12.
Petteway is on track to enjoy one of the highest scoring sophomore seasons in school history. At 17.2 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).
He has six games of at least 20 points this season, including a career-high 30 points against UMass in the Charleston Classic. He is tied for second in the Big Ten in 20-point games.
Petteway had a streak of three straight 20-point games (27 vs. Citadel; 22 at Cincinnati; 20 at Iowa) - the first time that has happened at Nebraska since Aleks Maric had four consecutive 20-point games in 2006-07.
Nearly put together a double-double in the loss at Purdue with 19 points, nine rebounds and two steals, along with two blocked shots.
Recorded his first career double-double at Iowa on Dec. 31, leading all scorers with 20 points and grabbing a career-high 12 rebounds.
Ranks fourth in the Big Ten in free throw shooting at 84.4 percent after shooting just 46 percent from the line during his lone season at Texas Tech.
Reached double figures in 17 of 18 games after just having one double-figure effort prior to this season.
Led the Huskers at the Charleston Classic in November, averaging 22 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in three games.
Became the 25th Husker to post a 30-point game, as he had 30 points in a 96-91 loss to UMass. In that game, he hit 8-of-20 shots from the floor, including a trio of 3-pointers, and converted 11 of 12 shots from the foul line.
Pitchford, who played 13 games at Florida in helping the Gators to the Elite Eight in 2011-12, has started at center for the Huskers, averaging 7.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-10 forward is a threat from long range, shooting 36 percent from 3-point range.
Put together the best game of his career at Iowa on Dec. 31, finishing with 13 points and 12 rebounds for his second double-double of the year. Pitchford had eight offensive rebounds in the loss to the Hawkeyes.
Reached double figures in scoring seven times, including a season-high 14 points against Western Illinois.
Finished with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting against Michigan on Jan. 9
Posted his first career double-double against Arkansas State on Dec. 14 with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Played a key role in the Huskers’ win over Miami in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge with 13 points and five rebounds against Miami.
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, as he was the last regular rotation player in the country without a turnover.
Biggs has become a vital spark plug off the bench, as he averages 9.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. He was a first-team NJCAA All-American at Seward (Kan.) Community College in 2011-12 before redshirting last season. Biggs, who is from Omaha, was the Huskers’ first scholarship recruit from Nebraska since 2001.
Enjoyed a memorable debut against South Carolina State on Nov. 17, scoring 17 points, grabbing four rebounds and dishing out a pair of assists in 23 minutes off the bench.
Reached double figures seven times, including a season-high 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting in NU’s win over Northern Illinois on Nov. 30. In that win, he preserved NU’s lead by hitting four free throws in the final eight seconds to clinch the win.
Dished out a season-high six assists against Arkansas State on Dec. 14, the highest single-game total for a Husker this season.
Nearly led Nebraska to a comeback win at Iowa, finishing with 11 points, four rebounds and a pair of steals, as the Huskers cut a 20-point deficit to five in the final two minutes.
Put up 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting and five rebounds in 20 minutes against Michigan on Jan. 9.
Totaled 10 points and a personal bests, in seven rebounds (seven) and two blocked shots (two) at Purdue.
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. Nebraska finished 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, including a school-record two turnovers against Purdue on Jan. 16.
This season, the Huskers have also been among the national leaders in that category, ranking 45th nationally with 11.2 turnovers per game. Nebraska is seventh in the Big Ten in turnover margin at +1.4 per contest. The Huskers also do a good job of getting the ball from opponents, ranking fourth in the Big Ten with 7.3 per game.
Webster Makes a Point, Plays the Point
Tai Webster has found a home in the Huskers’ backcourt, averaging 5.7 points, 2.3 assists and 2.2 rebounds per game coming into Sunday’s game with Minnesota. While he is averaging just 3.8 points per game in Big Ten play, he also leads the Huskers in both assists (11) and steals (seven).
Webster had four assists and matched his personal best with four steals at No. 22 Iowa and put together his best game in Big Ten play against No. 17 Ohio State with nine points, including 5-of-6 from the foul line, and two rebounds.
The 6-foot-4 freshman enjoyed the best game of his career on Nov. 24 against Georgia, scoring 14 points and dishing out three assists in NU’s 73-65 win. Webster scored 13 of his points in the second half and went 7-of-9 from the foul line. It was his second double-figure effort of the Charleston Classic, as he totaled 12 points and two assists in NU’s loss to UMass. He has dished out a season-high five assists on three occasions, most recently against Arkansas State on Dec. 14.
With his start against Florida Gulf Coast on Nov. 8, 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 reached double figures for the first time in his young career against South Carolina State on Nov. 17, totaling 13 points, four rebounds and two assists.
Although he is a freshman who does not turn 19 until after this season, 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.
Gallegos Dials in From Long Distance
Senior guard Ray Gallegos is Nebraska’s top returning scorer, giving Tim Miles a luxury that few Husker coaches have had over the past few years. Gallegos’ 12.5 points per game average is the highest for a Husker returnee since Aleks Maric in 2007-08.
While Gallegos is known for being a long-range shooter who can hit shots in bunches, he has been more well rounded in 2013-14. He is fourth on the team in scoring at 8.1 points per game while averaging 1.6 assists and 1.5 rebounds per game.
Leads the Huskers with a career-high 3.4-to-1 assist-to-turnover rate on the season. He has been even better since moving back into the starting lineup on Dec. 4, posting a 5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio over Nebraska’s last 11 games.
Is enjoying his best shooting season both overall (.405, previous best was .366 as a freshman) and from 3-point range (.384, previous best was .349 in 2009-10).
Ranks fifth in the Big Ten with 2.1 3-pointers per game, including 14 points and four 3-pointers against Michigan.
Has already set career high in assists on two occasions, including five assists against The Citadel on Dec. 21.
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 33 3-pointers this season and now sits in ninth place on Nebraska’s career 3-point chart with 137. He is eight 3-pointers away from eighth place on NU’s career chart (Tyronn Lue, 145, 1996-98).
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.
Ending a Streak
Nebraska ended a 15-game losing streak to ranked teams with the win over No. 17 Ohio State on Jan. 20. The streak dated back nearly two seasons, and also marked the first win over Ohio State since joining the Big Ten Conference prior to the 2011-12 season. The six-point win snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Buckeyes, and marked Nebraska’s first win over OSU since 1985.
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 which 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 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 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 are 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.