Game 13: vs. Nicholls State Game Date: Dec. 29, 2012 Tipoff Time: 2 p.m. Venue: Devaney Center Capacity: 13,595
Nebraska Cornhuskers 2012-13 Record: 8-4, 0-0 Big Ten Head coach: Tim Miles Record at Nebraska: 8-4 (1st year) Career Record: 291-224 (18th year)
Nicholls State Colonials 2012-13 Record: 1-8, 0-0 Southland Head coach: J.P. Piper Record at Nicholls State: 89-151 (9th year) Career Record: Same
Huskers on TV/Radio/Internet Television: None Internet: Big Ten Digital Network - subscription required (http://video.btn.com/allaccess/) 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 SIRIUS/XM Radio: Sirius Ch. 117, XM Ch. 191
Men's MBB Ticket good for free GA seating for women's game at 7 p.m.
Senior CLASS Award Presentation to Gina Mancuso
Huskers Host Nicholls State on Saturday Following a break for the holidays, the Nebraska basketball team returns to the Bob Devaney Sports Center this Saturday, Dec. 29, for the final non-conference game of the season, as the Huskers take on Nicholls State at 2:05 p.m.
Tickets for Saturday's contest can be purchased for as little as $5 by visiting Huskers.com, by calling 1-800-8-BIGRED or by visiting the Devaney Center Ticket Office 90 minutes prior to tipoff. Saturday is also the second doubleheader day of the season at the Devaney Center, as fans who purchase tickets for the Husker men's game can also use the ticket for general admission seating at the Husker women's basketball game against Grambling State at 7:05 p.m.
Saturday's 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.
In addition, Saturday's game will be available on the Big Ten Digital Network (http://video.btn.com/allaccess) using the HuskerVision feed and the Husker Sports Network audio.
Saturday's game against Nicholls State is the final regular-season non-conference game at the Devaney Center, as the Huskers have combined a 279-37 (.883) record since the building opened for Husker basketball in the fall of 1976.
Nebraska (8-4) looks to rebound from a 68-52 loss to UTEP in the championship game of the Sun Bowl Invitational last Sunday night. Against the Miners, Nebraska fell behind early and was forced to catch up, cutting a 22-point deficit to 60-49 with 3:27 left, but could not trim the lead to single digits.
Junior Ray Gallegos led Nebraska with a career-high 22 points - his third 20-point night of the season - and was named to the Sun Bowl Invitational All-Tournament team. Gallegos averaged 20.5 ppg in El Paso, hitting 56 percent from the field and also averaged 2.5 assists per game. On the season, Gallegos is averaging 13.3 points per game, over 10 points per game above his career average during his first two seasons.
By the Numbers 3 - Number of 20-point games by Ray Gallegos this season. Prior to the 2012-13 season, he had been in double figures only three times in his first 55 career games. He is third in the Big Ten in 20-point games this season.
7.5 - Dylan Talley's rebounds per game last weekend in El Paso. Talley tied his season best with eight rebounds in the loss to UTEP. Talley, who was held without a field goal for the second time this season, is also NU's leading scorer on the season at 14.4 ppg.
20 - Points from David Rivers against Central Michigan on Saturday night. The sophomore set career bests in both points and rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench. His 20-point night equaled his entire freshman season total.
Scouting Nicholls State Nicholls State has battled injuries through the non-conference season, as the Colonials come to Lincoln with an 1-8 mark. NSU has played a difficult slate, including games at Vanderbilt, Missouri and Michigan State while playing just one home game. The Colonials, who were picked to finish eighth in the Southland Conference, had been without as many as four of their regulars during stretches of the season and come off an 0-3 tournament finish at Utah State over the weekend. Fifth-year senior Fred Hunter is the Colonials' leading scorer, as he averages 19.9 points per game on 53 percent shooting and grabs a team-high 7.7 rebounds per outing. Freshman T.J. Carpenter has been a consistent scorer for NSU and had a game-high 21 in its last game against UC Davis. The Colonials are bolstered by the return of junior guard Dantrell Thomas, who missed the first six games of the season. Thomas, who was the team's second-leading scorer in 2011-12 at 11.7 ppg, is averaging 12.0 points and a team-high 4.3 assists per outing since returning to the lineup.
Series History Saturday's matchup is the first-ever between Nebraska and Nicholls State in basketball. Realignment has played havoc with the Southland Conference in recent years, as Nebraska has met the current members of the Southland Conference a total of eight times with seven of those matchups coming against Sam Houston State (3-1) and newcomer Oral Roberts (2-1). The most recent meeting against a current Southland Conference opponent was a 77-59 win over Southeastern Louisiana on Jan. 5, 2010.
Mancuso to be PResented with Senior CLASS AWARD on Saturday Husker volleyball star Gina Mancuso will receive the Senior CLASS Award during Saturday's game. A two-time All-American and first-team Academic All-American this season, the award is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in Division I volleyball. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - classroom, community, character and competition. Mancuso, who is leaving next week to play professionally in Puerto Rico, led the Huskers to a 26-7 record and a regional finals appearance in 2012.
Last Time Out Not even a career night from Ray Gallegos could help Nebraska overcome a sluggish offensive start, as the Huskers fell to UTEP, 68-52, in the championship game of the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational.
Gallegos finished with a career-high 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting to lead all scorers, but Nebraska dug too deep of hole in the opening half minutes against the Miners, who improved to 6-5 on the season and snapped Nebraska's two-game win streak.
One night after scoring the first 10 points against Central Michigan, Nebraska missed its first seven shots and had three turnovers in the first 10 possessions, allowing UTEP to get off to a quick start. The Miners hit five of their first seven field goal attempts, including a trio of 3-pointers, to wrestle control early.
Konnor Tucker keyed the early surge for the hosts, as he scored all eight of his first half points in the first four minutes, as UTEP took a 13-0 lead in the first 3:37 of the contest. Tucker finished with 17 points, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range, to earn tournament MVP honors, while Jacques Streeter also added 17 for UTEP, which has won three of its last four since Tucker returned to the lineup.
The Huskers, who fell to 8-4 on the season, were hurt by cold shooting, going without a field goal for a pair of six-minute stretches in the first half. NU went just 6-of-27 from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, as UTEP built a 36-16 advantage.
Nebraska went scoreless for the first 6:29 until a basket by Mike Peltz broke the extended cold spell and trailed 15-2 before Gallegos connected on two straight jumpers to pull NU within eight. Nebraska hung around and was within 22-13 after an Andre Almeida put back, but another extended scoring drought put the visitors in a hole. The Huskers did not hit a field goal for the final 6:40 of the first half, as UTEP closed the first stanza on a 14-3 run.
In the second half, Nebraska found a better offensive tempo, hitting 52 percent from the field and began to claw back behind the play of Gallegos. The junior from Salt Lake City posted his third 20-point effort of the season by scoring 17 of the Huskers' 36 second-half points. Nebraska trailed 56-36 before Gallegos and Brandon Ubel, who finished with 11 points and six rebounds, led the Huskers on the comeback trail. The pair combined for 11 straight Husker points before Almeida's baseline jumper capped a 13-4 run and made it 60-49 with 3:27 left.
That would be as close as the Huskers got in the second half, as Tucker quickly changed the momentum by hitting a long 3-pointer on the next possession to stretch the lead back to 14. Nebraska got to within 12 on two occasions, the last being a Gallegos free throw that made it 64-52 with 2:00 left, but Streeter scored the final four points to give UTEP its first Sun Bowl Invitational title since 2010.
Quick Notes the UTEP Game
Ray Gallegos tied or set his own career high for the fourth time this season, totaling 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field. Gallegos scored 17 of his 22 points in the second half en route to posting his third 20-point game of the season.
Gallegos was also selected to the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational All-Tournament team, as he averaged 20.5 ppg and 2.5 apg in Nebraska's two games.
UTEP became only the third Husker opponent this season to exceed their season average on Nebraska, scoring 68 points after averaging 63.1 ppg heading into the game.
Dylan Talley (eight) and Shavon Shields (seven) tied season highs in rebounding in the loss, but the Huskers were out-rebounded 36-32.
Nebraska committed just 10 turnovers, the fourth time this year the Huskers have committed 10 turnovers or less in a game.
Nebraska went just 2-of-13 from the 3-point line after going 9-18 in the win over Central Michigan.
Nebraska had just two players reach double figures in scoring, falling to 2-4 in those contests.
The 13-0 run by UTEP to open the game was the largest spurt of the season against the Huskers.
Learning to Win the Close Ones The Huskers have been tested early in 2012-13, posting a 8-4 mark through the first 12 contests. The Huskers have found ways to win the close ones, going 3-0 in game decided by five points or less, including the four-point win over Jacksonville State on Dec. 18. Last year, NU won just four of seven games decided by five points or less.
Balance Has been Key to Success for Huskers One of the biggest keys to success for the Huskers has been finding multiple scoring options. Nebraska has three players average in double figures on the season, while five different players (Brandon Ubel, Dylan Talley, Ray Gallegos, Andre Almeida and David Rivers) have all scored at least 20 points at least once this season. When Nebraska has three or more players in double figures, the Huskers are 6-0, but just 2-4 when less than three players reach double digits.
Huskers Have Been Challenged in Non-Con As the Huskers wrap up the non-conference portion of the schedule this week, Nebraska has had one of the toughest schedules so far according to RealtimeRPI.com. Nebraska's strength of schedule is 30th nationally heading into this week, which would rank third among Big Ten teams. The Huskers have played four of their last five games against top-100 RPI teams, and has not played a team with a losing record at game time since Nov. 18. Nebraska has played just one team with an RPI above 250 in its first 12 contests and has gone 2-2 away from Lincoln.
The schedule will get significantly tougher as the Big Ten leads all conferences in both RPI and strength of schedule and has compiled a 115-31 record (.788) in non-conference action.
This week, six Big Ten teams are ranked in the top 20 in this week's national polls including No. 2 Michigan, No. 5 Indiana and No. 10 Ohio State.
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 Saturday's game ranked ninth, ninth and eighth, in those respective categories. Nebraska scored a season-high 89 points - its highest offensive output in four seasons - before being held to 52 points in the loss to UTEP.
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 ninth in the Big Ten in scoring defense, allowing just 61.2 points per game. NU has held nine of its first 12 foes under their 2012-13 average, while five teams have been held to season lows. NU has held three of its last six opponents to season-low point totals and is 5-1 when allowing 60 points or less this season.
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 6.7 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 Big Ten 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 10 of the Huskers' first 12 contests despite averaging less than nine attempts per contest. He is 14th in the Big Ten in field goal percentage, shooting at 54.6 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. Ubel finished in double figures in both games at the Sun Bowl Invitational, including a 14-point effort on 6-of-8 shooting from the field against Central Michigan.
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 sixth on Nebraska's career free throw percentage at 79.4 percent. Last year, Ubel shot 82.5 percent from the foul line. Ubel has made 12 of his last 13 free throws over the last four contests.
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 Saturday's game against Nicholls State averaging a team-high 14.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. He is 11th in the league in scoring and 17th in rebounding while ranking second in minutes played with 35.4 per game.
Talley, who has been in double figures in 10 of Nebraska's first 12 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 six times in 2012-13, 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. Talley led NU with 21 points, including a career-high six 3-pointers, against Central Michigan, but was held to four points in Sunday's loss to UTEP.
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.
Gallegos Provides Ray of Light for Offense One of the biggest surprises for the Huskers has been the emergence of Ray Gallegos. The fourth-year junior from Salt Lake City redshirted last year and spent the year adding strength and improving his shooting range. The work has paid off for Gallegos, who may be the Huskers' most improved player in 2012-13.
Gallegos, who averaged 2.6 points per game in 2010-11, is second on the team in scoring at 13.3 points per game and ranks fourth 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 eight times after accomplishing the feat just three times in his first two years at Nebraska.
Among Big Ten players, only Brandon Paul of Illinois (six) and Deshaun Thomas of Ohio State (five) have had more 20-point nights than Gallegos this season.
Last weekend, Gallegos put on a show in El Paso, as he earned a spot on the Sun Bowl Invitational All-Tournament team. He averaged 20.5 ppg, including a career-high 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting in Nebraska's loss to UTEP. In the semifinals, he scored 11 of Nebraska's first 16 points to help the Huskers get out to an early lead.
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 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.
Andre Provides Giant Inside Presence While Gallegos' return helped shore up the Huskers' outside attack, the return of senior Andre Almeida following a knee injury has helped the Huskers on the interior. The 6-foot-11 senior has been steady, averaging 7.6 points on 58 percent shooting, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game, leading the Big Ten in blocked shots and ranking eighth in field goal percentage.
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.
Almeida put together a dominant effort 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. Almeida had eight points and five rebounds in Nebraska's loss to UTEP. 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.
20-20 Vision Nebraska has enjoyed a pair of efforts with multiple 20-point games this season. Against Central Michigan, Dylan Talley (21) and David Rivers (20) both had at least 20 points in Nebraska's 89-74 win. Earlier this season, Andre Almeida and Ray Gallegos enjoyed 20-point efforts against Wake Forest on Nov. 27, marking 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.
Husker Ironmen 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 second, 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 4.3 points and 2.9 assists per game. Parker has a 1.6 assist-to-turnover ratio and has had one turnover or less five times in NU's first 12 games. The Kansas City, Kan., native has shown his toughness in recent games, battling through foot and knee sprains over the last three weeks without missing any action game. Parker played 27 minutes at Oregon after suffering the knee injury on Dec. 10. He dished out three assists in 18 minutes in the loss to UTEP on Sunday night.
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 4.8 points and 3.3 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. The Little Rock, Ark., product put on a show in Nebraska's win over Central Michigan, scoring a career-high 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting and matching his personal best with seven rebounds. Prior to that game, Rivers turned an ankle against Oregon and played just 11 minutes in NU's previous two contests.
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.
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 23.0 minutes per game over the Huskers' last six games, averaging 6.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. Shields has tied or set career bests in either points or rebounds in each of his last five appearances. At Sun Bowl Invitational, he averaged 5.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, as he grabbed seven rebounds in each game. Against Jacksonville State. Shields came off the bench to score a career-high 14 points, hitting 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 13.0 points per game in the last six 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 12 games, playing over 16 minutes per contest and averaging 2.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.2 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. Peltz tied for team-high honors with four assists in 18 minutes off the bench against Central Michigan.
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 six games off the bench for the Big Red.
Nebraska is a perfect 4-0 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 11 of 12 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 6-0 when three players reach double figures and just 2-4 when two players or less reach double digits.
Nebraska's 89 points against Central Michigan on Dec. 22, was the Huskers' highest total since scoring 94 on Southern Utah on Dec. 29, 2009.
The 89 points against Central Michigan was Nebraska's highest total in a road or neutral site since scoring 89 in a 101-89 loss at TCU on March 15, 1999.
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.
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).