2012-13 Record: 5-4, 0-0 MAC (as of Thurs. afternoon)
Head coach: Keno Davis
Record at Central Michigan: 5-4 (1st year)
Career Record: 79-59 (5th year)
2012-13 Record: 4-5, 0-0 WAC
Head coach: Tim Floyd
Record at UTEP: 44-32 (3rd year)
Career Record: 372-212 (19th year)
UAPB Golden Lions
2012-13 Record: 1-9, 0-0 SWAC
Head coach: George Ivory
Record at UAPB: 54-109 (5th year)
Career Record: Same
Huskers on TV/Radio/Internet
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; Color: Matt Davison
Internet Radio/Stats: Free on Huskers.com
Huskers Head to UTEP Tournament
The Nebraska basketball team hits the road for the final time in non-conference play, as the Huskers travel to El Paso, Texas, for the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational. The two-day tournament takes place at the Don Haskins Arena on Saturday, Dec. 22, and Sunday, Dec. 23.
Nebraska will take on Central Michigan in the tournament opener on Saturday night at 6 p.m. (central) while UTEP and Arkansas Pine Bluff will square off in the other semifinal at 8 p.m. (central). If Nebraska wins Saturday, the Huskers will be in the championship game Sunday at 8 p.m. (central) while the third-place game is slated for 6 p.m.
Saturday's Nebraska-Central Michigan game will be carried across the state on the 29-station Husker Sports Network, including flagship stations KLIN (1400 AM/94.5 FM) in Lincoln, KFAB (1110 AM) in Omaha and KRVN (880 AM) in Lexington, with Kent Pavelka and Matt Davison calling all of the action. The game can be heard for free at Huskers.com and is also available on the Huskers' app on iOS or android devices. The only way to follow all of the action this weekend is on the Husker Sports Network, as the two tournament games in El Paso are the only games on the Huskers' 2012-13 schedule not slated for either television or live internet broadcast.
The Sun Bowl Invitational is billed as the oldest holiday basketball tournament in the country, and the Huskers will be making their first appearance in the event since 1985. This also makes the first time a Big Ten team has played in the event since Northwestern in 2003. While its been a while since Nebraska has participated in the event, Husker Coach Tim Miles returns to El Paso after his Colorado State Rams won the 2011 event, downing UTEP and Jacksonville State.
Nebraska comes to El Paso with a 7-3 record after holding off Jacksonville State, 59-55, Tuesday evening. Nebraska built a 15-point second half lead and held on down the stretch to snap a two-game losing streak. Brandon Ubel led the Huskers with 15 points and 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the year, while freshman Shavon Shields enjoyed a career night with 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field.
Central Michigan enters Thursday night's game with Texas State with a 5-4 record under first-year coach Keno Davis. The Chippewas' mark after nine games is their best since 2004-05, as they returned just one starter from last season.
By the Numbers
67 - Consecutive games Nebraska had hit a 3-pointer before going 0-of-5 from long range against Jacksonville State on Tuesday night. In fact, Nebraska had hit a 3-pointer in 407 of its previous 408 games dating back to 1999.
Over the last 20 years, NU had won only three times when not hitting a 3-pointer
Date Opponent Score
12/18/12 Jacksonville State 59-55
2/14/98 Baylor 66-55
1/3/95 at No. 23 Texas 85-69
3- Number of double doubles for Husker senior forward Brandon Ubel following his 15-point, 10-rebound effort on Tuesday. It is the most double-doubles by a Husker since Aleks Maric had 15 en route to earning first-team All-Big 12 honors in 2007-08.
60 - Nebraska has held five of its nine opponents to under 60 points this year, and the Huskers are now 4-1 when holding opponents to 60 points or less.
81.0 - Nebraska's percentage from the free throw line in Tuesday's win, the Huskers' second-best effort of the season.
Scouting Central Michigan
Central Michigan heads into Thursday's game against Texas State with a 5-4 record following an 80-77 win at Pepperdine last Sunday. The Chippewas are coached by Keno Davis, who spent the 2011-12 season with the Big Ten Network following coaching stints at Drake and Providence. CMU returned just five players and one starter - senior forward Olivier Mbaigoto - from a team that went 11-21 last season.
CMU, which is enjoying its best start since 2004-05, is averaging 64.2 points per game, but has been more consistent on the offensive end in recent games. CMU is among the national leaders in 3-pointers, making 7.8 per contest. The Chippewas are led by senior transfer Kyle Randall, who has scored at least 20 points in three of the last four games. Randell, who was the Mid-American Conference Player of the Week on Monday, transferred in after spending three seasons at UNC Greensboro. While Randall is the only player in double figures, CMU relies on its depth, as they typically rotate 10 players and nine players average at least 10 minutes per contest.
The Huskers are 17-6 all-time against schools from the Mid-American Conference, but have faced just five MAC schools since the 2000-01 season. NU fell to Kent State, 74-60, on Nov. 24.
Central Michigan Probable Starting Lineup 2012-13 stats
15 Chris Fowler Fr. G 6-0 185 6.3 4.3* Southfield, Mich.
33 Austin Keel So. G 6-4 188 5.4 2.6 Winter Springs, Fla.
25 Olivier Mbaigoto Sr. F 6-6 202 6.0 2.6 Chad, Africa
34 John Simons Fr. F 6-8 209 9.0 4.7 Cadillac, Mich.
Last Year vs. Central Michigan
Nebraska placed five players in double figures, as the Huskers posted a 72-69 victory. With two of its top three scorers unavailable due to injury, Nebraska's senior class carried the offense, accounting for 52 of the Huskers' 72 points. Brandon Richardson scored 15 points while Bo Spencer tied for team-high honors and also dished out nine assists. Toney McCray and Caleb Walker each scored 11, as McCray added a season-high eight rebounds. Junior Brandon Ubel was the fifth Husker in double figures with 11 points.
Nebraska won the game at the free throw line, getting to the line a season-high 26 times and hitting 20, while the Chippewas converted only 11-of-20 from the charity stripe.
Nebraska trailed 21-20 midway through the first half before using an 11-0 run to take control of the contest. The Huskers held the Chippewas scoreless for more than six minutes, and took a 34-28 lead into the locker room as McCray's 3-pointer beat the halftime buzzer. Nebraska eventually pushed the lead to 45-33 with 13:20 remaining, but could not put Central Michigan away in the second half. Central Michigan eventually used a 9-2 run of its own to pull within 57-56 with five minutes to play.
That would be as close as the Chippewas would get, as a quick basket by Spencer gave Nebraska a two-possession lead. The Huskers then held Central Michigan without a field goal for the next four minutes as they stretched their advantage to 64-56 with 1:26 remaining. The Chippewas cut the lead to three on four occasions in the final 30 seconds, but Nebraska hit 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch to preserve the win.
Weststar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational
The weekend's tournament marks the 51st annual Weststar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational. The event originated in 1961 as the Sun Carnival Basketball Tournament and took Don Haskins' name in 2009, as the Hall of Fame coach passed away in 2008.
Nebraska is making its second-ever Sun Bowl Invitational appearance and first since 1985. The Huskers dropped a 78-61 contest to Alabama in the semifinals before rebounding for a 69-66 win over Ohio State in the third-place game. NU is the first Big Ten team to participate since Northwestern in 2003.
Two of the four teams return to the Sun Bowl Invitational, as the host Miners and Arkansas Pine Bluff are back in the field. Current Nebraska Coach Tim Miles will bring a team to the Sun Bowl Invitational for the second straight season, as Colorado State won the event in 2011, defeating UTEP (56-53) and Jacksonville State (79-56).
The event is one of the events leading up to the Hyundai Sun Bowl on New Year's Eve. The Husker football team has played in the Sun Bowl one time, a 45-6 win over Georgia in 1969. The Huskers and Bulldogs will meet for the second time ever on the gridiron on Jan. 1 in the Capital One Bowl.
Last Time Out
Nebraska built a 15-point lead and had to hold on in a 59-55 win over Jacksonville State Tuesday evening. Nebraska led 50-35 following a pair of Dylan Talley free throws at the seven minute mark, but 20-6 run by the Gamecocks pulled Jacksonville State within 56-55 after Ronnie Boggs' 3-pointer with 21 seconds left. On Nebraska's next possession, Ray Gallegos split a pair of three throws with 18 seconds left, giving NU a two-point lead and the visitors an opportunity to tie. JSU's Brian Williams got into the lane, but his attempt missed and Dylan Talley pulled down the rebound. Talley, who finished with 10 points, then salted the game away by sinking a pair of free throws to preserve the win. Nebraska, which came into the contest hitting on 67 percent from the foul line, went 17-of-21 from the charity stripe to snap a two-game losing streak.
The Huskers (7-3) placed three players in double figures and received an outstanding performance from Shavon Shields, who came off the bench for 14 points. The 6-foot-6 freshman from Olathe, Kan., hit 6-of-7 shots from the field while setting career highs in rebounds and steals, as his offensive output in the first 30 minutes staked Nebraska a seemingly comfortable lead.
Brandon Ubel was the third Husker in double figures, as he totaled his third double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds, as Nebraska outscored JSU, 28-16 in the paint and held the Gamecocks to just 36 percent shooting on the floor.
Worth Noting from the Jacksonville State Game
•-Shavon Shields tied his career high for the third straight game with 14 points, and is averaging 8.6 ppg over the Huskers' last three games. The freshman wing also tied or set personal bests in rebounds (three) and steals (two) in Tuesday's win.
•-Brandon Ubel picked up his third double-double of the season and fourth of his career with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Ubel's three double-doubles is the most by a Husker since 2007-08.
•-Nebraska has now held five of its first 10 opponents to 60 points or less and only one opponent has scored above its season average against the Huskers.
•-Nebraska's bench outscored Jacksonville State, 18-4, marking the second straight game and third time this year the Husker bench as outscored its opponents.
•-Nebraska went 0-for-5 from 3-point range, snapping a 67-game streak with at least one 3-pointer. Prior to Tuesday's win, the last time Nebraska went without a 3-pointer and won was on Feb. 14, 1998 against Baylor.
•-Nebraska tied a season best with 17 free throws, going 17-of-21 from the foul line. Its 81 percent shooting marked the team's best effort since shooting 89 percent against UNO on Nov. 15.
Learning to win the Close Ones
The Huskers have been tested early in 2012-13, posting a 7-3 mark through the first 10 contests. The Huskers have found ways to win the close ones, going 3-0 in game decided by five points or less, including Tuesday's win over Jacksonville State. Last year, NU won just four of seven games decided by five points or less.
Creep, Crawl, Walk, Run
With four new starters from last season and an eight-player rotation which includes only two players who saw the court last season, it has taken some time to implement a new offensive system and the headline has been a common mantra of Coach Miles during his first season on the job.
Last year, his Colorado State team led the Mountain West Conference in field goal percentage, 3-point percentage and free throw percentage, ranking in the top-10 nationally in both free throw and 3-point percentage. The 2012-13 Huskers come into this weekend's tournament at UTEP ranked ninth, 10th and eighth, in those respective categories. After struggling to get the ball inside in losses to No. 16 Creighton and Oregon, where post players Andre Almeida and Brandon Ubel took a combined 26 shots, NU got 23 points and 16 rebounds from the pair in Tuesday's win, as they combined for 19 field goal attempts. NU also did a much better job getting to the foul line, going 17-of-21 against JSU after getting to the line 13 times in the previous two contests.
Husker Defense Starts Strong
While Nebraska's offense has been in transition, the Huskers have done a good job slowing tempo and controlling things on the defensive end. The Huskers are fifth in the Big Ten in scoring defense, allowing just 58.9 points per game. NU has held nine of its first 10 foes under their 2012-13 average, while five teams have been held to season lows. NU has held three of its last four opponents to season-low point totals and is 5-1 when allowing 60 points or less.
Ubel Proving Offense, Leadership
Senior Brandon Ubel came into the 2012-13 season as the Huskers' most known quantity and NU's most experienced player - by a wide margin. Ubel came into this season with 59 career starts at Nebraska, while the remaining seven returnees had combined for seven career starts for the Scarlet and Cream.
While most known for his rebounding, Ubel has picked up the scoring slack in the early going, averaging 12.8 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, as he ranks among the Big Ten leaders in both categories.
Ubel, who had one double-double in his first three seasons at Nebraska, has three this season, a 21-point, 12-rebound effort against Southern on Nov. 11, a 17-point, 13-rebound outing in the loss to Kent State on Nov. 24, and a 15-point, 10-rebound effort against Jacksonville State on Dec. 18. He enters the weekend second in the league in double-doubles.
Ubel, who averaged only 5.7 points per game over his first three seasons at Nebraska, has become more offensive-minded as a senior, reaching double figures in eight of the Huskers' first 10 contests despite averaging less than nine attempts per contest. He is 11th in the Big Ten in field goal percentage, shooting at 55.7 percent.
He began the season with a career-high 21 points in the win over Southern, before pacing Nebraska with 17 points in a 50-48 win over Horizon League favorite Valparaiso. Ubel had 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the loss to Kent State and 11 points in 18 minutes in the win over Wake Forest. Against USC, he was held to nine points, but grabbed seven rebounds, dished out four assists and limited USC's Dewayne Dedmon to just two points. Ubel nearly had his third double-double of the season against Creighton, finishing with 10 points and eight rebounds. He was held in check at Oregon, totaling five points on 1-of-6 shooting, but found ways to help, leading NU in assists, steals and rebounds in the loss to the Ducks.
The 6-foot-10 forward is the Huskers' top returning rebounder (5.3 rpg) and second-leading scorer (6.7 ppg) while being one of the Huskers' most consistent performers at the free throw line. Ubel is eighth on Nebraska's career free throw percentage at 78.9 percent. Last year, Ubel shot 82.5 percent from the foul line.
Ubel closed out his junior season by playing some of the best basketball of his career, averaging 9.3 points on 68 percent shooting, 5.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game in the Huskers' final six contests. He reached double figures in scoring seven times in 2011-12, including a season-high 17 points against Iowa on Feb. 28, on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting from the floor.
Talley Takes Offensive Role
Senior Dylan Talley came into the 2012-13 season as the Huskers' most proven scorer and has shown versatility early in the season. The 6-foot-5 senior enters the UTEP Tournament averaging a team-high 14.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. He is 10th in the league in scoring and 18th in rebounding while ranking third in minutes played with 35.4 per game.
Talley, who has been in double figures in nine of Nebraska's first 10 contests, put on a display against Kent State on Nov. 24, scoring a career-high 27 points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out three assists, as Nebraska suffered its first loss. He has topped NU in scoring five times, including a then-NU best 22 points against Nebraska-Omaha on Nov. 18. He also paced the Big Red with 17 points and seven assists in a 61-57 win over Tulane on Nov. 21 and had 14 points and seven rebounds in the win at Wake Forest. Talley also finished with 14 points in the win over USC on Dec. 3 and against No. 16 Creighton on Dec. 6. Talley had 10 points and four rebounds against Jacksonville State, including a pair of free throws to preserve the four-point win.
His biggest contribution this year may have come in the only game he was held out of double figures. Against Valparaiso, Talley scored one point, but topped NU in rebounds (six) and assists (four) while holding reigning Horizon League Player of the Year Ryan Broekhoff to just 2-of-11 shooting in NU's 50-48 win.
In his first season at Nebraska, Talley tied for the Big Ten lead in scoring by a reserve, averaging 8.9 points per game, as he was in double figures 11 times. Talley has been a prolific scorer throughout his collegiate career, earning America East Conference Rookie-of-the-Year honors in 2009-10, averaging 11.8 points per game at Binghamton University. At Blinn (Texas) College, he was sixth nationally in scoring at 23.0 points per game.
Return of the Redshirts
While Nebraska had six returning letterwinners back from the 2011-12 team, it is a pair of returning redshirts who have picked up the slack from a lineup which lost four starters from last year. Senior center Andre Almeida and junior guard Ray Gallegos have played major roles early on.
Almeida missed all of last season following a knee injury, but has been healthy and playing solid basketball early on. He is averaging 8.0 points on 58 percent shooting, 4.7 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game, leading the Big Ten in blocked shots and ranking eighth in field goal percentage.
After a slow offensive start, Almeida is playing some of the best basketball of his career, averaging 9.3 points on 67 percent shooting, 5.0 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots per game over the Huskers' last eight games.
He put together the best game of his career at Wake Forest, when he had 20 points on 9-of-10 shooting and a career-high 11 rebounds to earn Big Ten Player-of-the-Week honors on Dec. 3. It marked the first time since 2009 that a Big Ten player had 20 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 90 percent from the field. He played just 15 minutes against USC because of foul trouble, but had eight points and three blocked shots in holding USC to a season-low 51 points. Almeida began the stretch against UNO on Nov. 18, when he had 19 points on 9-of-11 shooting, and matched his then-career best with seven rebounds. Against Tulane, the 6-foot-11 center keyed Nebraska's second half effort against Tulane on Nov. 21 with 10 points, six rebounds and four blocks, scoring nine of his 10 points in the second half. Almeida had eight points and three blocked shots against USC and added six points, five rebounds and a season-high four blocked shots in the loss to Creighton. He played just 16 minutes against Jacksonville State, but finished with eight poitns and six rebounds.
In 2010-11, he averaged 5.2 points on 56 percent shooting, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots per game as the Huskers' top reserve in the post. Almeida reached double figures on five occasions, including a 20-point, seven-rebound effort in his debut against South Dakota. Two of Almeida's best efforts of 2010-11 came against a pair of top-five teams, as he had 10 points and seven rebounds at No. 3 Kansas and 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting and five rebounds in 15 minutes off the bench in Nebraska's win over third-ranked Texas. Almeida was a force on the defensive end, ranking sixth in the Big 12 in blocked shots.
While Almeida used his redshirt year to recover from injury, Gallegos worked on improving his shooting and all-around game and the changes have been evident early on in 2012-13.
Gallegos, who averaged 2.6 points per game in 2010-11, has been one of the most improved players in the Big Ten this season. He is third on the team in scoring at 11.8 points per game and ranks sixth in the Big Ten with 2.5 3-pointers per game. He is shooting 34 percent from 3-point range and has been in double figures six times after accomplishing the feat just three times in his first two years at Nebraska.
Gallegos put together the best stretch of his career earlier this season, posting consecutive 20-point efforts against Wake Forest and USC, a stretch where he shot 56 percent from 3-point range. Against USC, Gallegos had a career-high six 3-pointers and scored the Huskers' final 11 points of the first half to break open a tie game. At Wake Forest on Nov. 27, he finished with a career-high 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting, as he made his first seven shots of the second half and totaled 17 of his 20 points after halftime. Gallegos has established career bests on three occasions in NU's first eight games, as he had 16 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, in the opener against Southern. His shooting also keyed NU's win over Valparaiso on Nov. 15, as he finished with 14 points, including four 3-pointers. He was held to just five points against Creighton and had nine points and three steals in the loss at Oregon. He took just seven shots against Jacksonville State and finished with six points, but dished out three assists, had two steals and four rebounds in 39 minutes.
As a sophomore, he played in 25 games, including a start in the season opener, and averaged 2.8 points and 1.0 rebound per game. The Salt Lake City native's best game of 2010-11 came against Grambling, when he came off the bench for 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting.
When Andre Almeida and Ray Gallegos enjoyed 20-point efforts against Wake Forest on Nov. 27, it marked the first time since March 5, 2007, that the Huskers had multiple players with 20-point nights. In that game, Marcus Perry (25); Aleks Maric (23) and Paul Velander (20) all eclipsed the 20-point mark.
With a short bench, the Huskers have relied on their starters often through the early part of the season. Ray Gallegos and Dylan Talley rank first and third, respectively, in the Big Ten in minutes per game while NU has three players averaging over 31.5 minutes per night. Over the last 14 years, only one player - Charles Richardson Jr. in 2006-07 - has averaged more minutes than 32.5 minutes per game, while NU has two players on track this season to eclipse that mark.
Parker Makes A Point
The lone freshman in the Husker starting lineup, Benny Parker became only the 10th freshman to start a season opener since 1995. Parker has been steady early on, averaging 4.7 points and 2.9 assists per game. Parker has a 1.6 assist-to-turnover ratio and has had one turnover or less in five of the Huskers' first 10 contests. The Kansas City, Kan., native has shown his toughness in recent games, battling through foot and knee sprains over the last two weeks without missing any action game. Parker played 27 minutes at Oregon after suffering the knee injury on Dec. 10 and had just two turnovers against a pressing Oregon defense and then played 24 minutes in Tuesday's win over Jacksonville State.
Parker dished out a career-high seven assists and had one turnover in Nebraska's 61-57 win over Tulane on Nov. 21, and totaled eight points, four assists and a career-high four steals at Wake Forest on Nov. 27. Against UNO on Nov. 18, he had eight points - all coming in the second half - after sitting most of the first half because of foul trouble. Parker also had seven points, three rebounds and three assists in a two-point win over Valparaiso on Nov. 15. Against No. 16 Creighton, Parker was held scoreless, but had five assists in the losing effort.
Parker was a four-year starter at Sumner Academy of Arts and Science, leading the school to an 85-15 mark and a pair of state titles during his high school career. As a senior, he averaged 24.8 points, 6.2 assists and 3.9 steals per game, winning the 2012 DiRenna Award, representing the top player in the Kansas City metro area.
Of Nebraska's three active point guards playing this season, two are Division I newcomers, as junior college transfer Mike Peltz joined the team in October. Sophomore Trevor Menke is the Huskers' other primary point guard, as junior college transfer Deverell Biggs is redshirting this season.
RIvers Looks to Get into Offensive Flow
Throughout the summer and the preseason, one Husker returnee who was flying under the radar was sophomore David Rivers. The 6-foot-7 wing totaled only 20 points and 16 rebounds in 19 contests as a freshman, but has added nearly 20 pounds since last year and has made significant strides.
Rivers' improvement has been evident early on, as he has averaged 3.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game as the Huskers' sixth man in 2012-13. He has already eclipsed his entire freshman year totals nearly every category, including points, rebounds and blocked shots. Rivers has been a consistent scorer off the bench, totaling at least five points in five of the Huskers' eight games, including four straight before the streak was snapped against Creighton on Dec. 6.
Rivers played a major role at Wake Forest with five points, a career-best seven rebounds and two assists in the win at Wake Forest and had five points and four rebounds in 23 minutes against USC. Rivers had seven points and five rebounds against Valparaiso and established personal bests in minutes (27), rebounds (six) and assists (three) in the opener against Southern.
He played just four minutes against Oregon, as he turned an ankle and did not return and played just seven minutes in Tuesday's win.
Shields Returns to Add Depth
For nearly the first month of the year, Nebraska relied on a shortened bench, as Shavon Shields missed five of NU's first six games with an elbow injury. A layoff following the win at Wake Forest helped Shields get back into game action and the freshman has provided a much-needed boost to the Husker bench.
After playing once in NU's first six games, Shields has averaged 22.0 minutes per game over the Huskers' last four games, averaging 7.0 points per game. Shields has tied or set career highs in three straight games, capped by a 14-point effort against Jacksonville State. The 6-foot-6 wing hit 6-of-7 shots from the field and also added three rebounds and two steals to help NU snap a two-game losing streak. At Oregon on Dec. 15, Shields seven points and logged a career-high 30 minutes. In the loss to No. 16 Creighton, Shields had five points in 20 minutes, while he had two points and two assists in 10 minutes against USC on Dec. 3.
His return helps the Huskers depth, as NU has only nine scholarship players available for the 2012-13 season, a total which includes former walk-on Trevor Menke. Of NU's nine scholarship players, only four (Dylan Talley, Brandon Ubel, David Rivers and Menke) saw action for the Huskers during the 2011-12 season.
Shields also provides the Huskers with another scoring option, as NU was getting just 5.5 points per game from the bench in its first six games before averaging 10.8 points per game in the last three games.
Walk-ON Peltz is Huskers Jack of All Trades
While the Nebraska football program is nationally known for its walk-on program, Nebraska basketball has a walk-on of its own playing a significant role in junior Mike Peltz. The 6-foot-2 guard from Alliance, Neb., joined the team in October days before the start of practice and has been a valuable contributor.
A two-year starter at Western Nebraska Community College, Peltz has backed up Benny Parker at the point guard spot, but has also seen time at guard and forward, depending on the matchup. He has played in all 10 games, playing over 17 minutes per contest and averaging 2.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.0 points per game.
He had one of his best games of 2012-13 at Oregon, totaling four points and four rebounds in 15 minutes of action. Peltz played a career-high 22 minutes against Kent State, where he grabbed six rebounds, including four on the offensive glass, and had three rebounds and two assists in the win over USC on Dec. 3.
Two other former walk-ons have been in the Huskers' rotation at times this season in sophomores Trevor Menke and Jordan Tyrance. Menke came to Nebraska as a walk-on, but was put on scholarship for this season for his efforts in the classroom and on the practice court. Menke, who played seven minutes as a redshirt freshman, played a career-high 16 minutes in Nebraska's season opener and has averaged 7.7 minutes per game in six contests. Tyrance has played in five games off the bench for the Big Red.
•-Nebraska is a perfect 5-0 when it shoots above 50 percent from the field, but has struggled in its three losses, being held under 40 percent in each setback.
•-The Huskers have held nine of 10 opponents under 50 percent shooting this year, as Kent State, which shot 57.1 percent on Nov. 24, is the only foe to shoot better than 50 percent. The Huskers have also held five opponents to under 40 percent shooting.
•-Balance has been key for the Huskers, as Nebraska is 5-0 when three players reach double figures and just 2-3 when two players or less reach double digits.
•-Husker coach Tim Miles became just the sixth coach in the 117-year history of Nebraska basketball to win his first four games. In fact, only two Husker basketball coaches had won their first four games since 1920.
•-Nebraska's 4-0 start to begin the season marked the first time the Huskers had opened the year with four straight wins since the 2008-09 season.
•-Miles becomes the first Nebraska Head Coach to win his first road game at Nebraska since Paul Schlisser in 1919-20, a 47-9 win over Hastings College on Jan. 13, 1920. Prior to Miles' win, the previous 14 Nebraska basketball head coaches had lost their first road game as Husker head coach.
•-Nebraska's 16-point victory at Wake Forest was its largest road margin since a 77-60 win at Minnesota on Nov. 29, 2003, and the seventh-largest win over the past quarter century. Prior to the Wake Forest win, Nebraska has won nine road games by double figures over the last decade.
•-Nebraska's win over Wake Forest marked the first time the Demon Deacons had lost at home in seven ACC/Big Ten Challenge games and was just their third loss in the series history.
•-Nebraska's 51-point second half at Wake Forest was its highest scoring half since scoring 55 against Arkansas Pine Bluff on Nov. 15, 2010, a span of 67 games.
•-Nebraska held Horizon League favorite Valparaiso to just 48 points in a 50-48 win, the Crusaders' lowest point total in 29 games dating back to Nov. 25, 2011. Over the last three-plus seasons, Valparaiso has been held to 50 points or less just four times.
•-Nebraska's 50 points in the win over the Crusaders equaled the fewest the Huskers have scored in a win since a 50-44 win over Oregon State on Dec. 12, 2009.
•-Nebraska held Southern to 55 points and Valparaiso to 48 points, marking only the fifth time in the last 60 years that the Huskers had held its first two opponents of the season to 55 points or less (1958-59, 1985-86, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2012-13).
•-The Huskers defeated Jacksonville State while going 0-of-5 from 3-point range. It marked the first time since Feb. 14, 1998, that NU won a game without making a 3-pointer.