Huskers look for season sweep of Penn State

Posted By: Sports

Game 24: vs. Penn State
Game Date: Feb. 9, 2013
Tipoff Time: 8:05 p.m.
Venue: Bob Devaney Sports Center
Capacity: 13,595
2012-13 Record: 11-12, 2-8 Big Ten
Head coach: Tim Miles
Record at Nebraska: 11-12 (1st year)
Career Record: 294-232 (18th year)
2012-13 Record: 8-14, 0-10 Big Ten
Head coach: Patrick Chambers
Record at Penn State: 20-34 (2nd year)
Career Record: 62-62 (4th year)
Television: ESPNU and also on WatchESPN
Television: ESPNU (DirecTV Ch. 208, Dish Ch. 141, Ch. 235 on Time Warner Cable; Ch. 220 on Cox Cable) Play-by-play: Dan Gutowsky
Color: Sean Harrington
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
Satellite Radio: Sirius Ch. 113, XM Ch. 193
Huskers Look for Series Sweep against Penn State
The Nebraska men's basketball team looks to snap a two-game losing streak Saturday night, as the Huskers welcome Penn State to the Devaney Center. Tip-off is set for 8:05 p.m. (central) and tickets can be purchased for as little as $10 by visiting, by calling 800-8-BIGRED or at the Devaney Center Ticket Office beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The game with the Nittany Lions will be carried nationally on BTN with Dan Gutowsky and Sean Harrington on the call, as every remaining Husker game in 2012-13 will be televised nationally. The game will also be available on the WatchESPN app for iOS or android devices.
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 and is also available on the Huskers' app on iOS or android devices.
The Huskers (11-12, 2-8 Big Ten) come off their longest break in Big Ten play, as Nebraska has been off since a 63-56 setback to No. 11 Ohio State last Saturday. In that game, the Huskers used a spirited comeback, nearly erasing a 15-point second-half deficit before the Buckeyes held on in the final minutes.
Despite the loss, the Huskers received a strong performance from sophomore David Rivers, who led NU with 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting, and six rebounds. In addition, Andre Almeida and Benny Parker gave the Huskers solid work from the bench, combining for eight points, eight rebounds, three blocked shots and two assists in 21 minutes of work. Almeida had Big Ten highs in both blocked shots (three) and rebounds (eight), while Parker hit both of the shots he attempted.
Penn State (8-14, 0-10 Big Ten) had a chance to pick up its first Big Ten win against Purdue, as the Nittany Lions led at halftime and were within two possessions in the final minutes of a 58-49 loss to Purdue. D.J. Newbill led PSU with 17 points and 17 assists in the losing effort.
The first matchup between NU and Penn State went down to the final seconds as the Huskers got a 68-64 win. Shavon Shields scored a career-high 29 points for the Huskers, hitting 10-of-11 shots from the field.
3-0 – The Huskers will be making their fourth and final regular-season appearance on ESPNU Saturday night and will look to remain unbeaten on the channel. NU is 3-0 this season with wins over Wake Forest, Penn State and Northwestern.
+5 – The Huskers' rebounding differential against Ohio State on Saturday, as NU enjoyed a 38-33 advantage on the glass. It marked only the second time in Big Ten action (also Northwestern) that the Huskers had out-rebounded its opponent.
58- Number of 3-pointers by Ray Gallegos, which ties Michigan's Nik Stauskas for the Big Ten lead entering this weekend's action. Gallegos is five 3-pointers away from moving into 10th place on NU's single-season chart. Prior to this year, Gallegos had 21 3-pointers in 55 career games.
45%- The Huskers' field goal percentage in the last three games, which has raised NU's field goal percentage in Big Ten play to 38 percent.
Penn State comes into Saturday's game looking to snap a 10-game losing streak, as the Nittany Lions are 8-14 on the season. PSU, under second-year coach Pat Chambers, was dealt with one of the biggest injuries during non-conference play, as senior guard Tim Frazier suffered a season-ending achilles injury in November. Frazier was a first-team All-Big Ten pick by the media, leading Penn State in scoring, rebounding and assists in 2011-12. PSU split its first eight games of the season before closing non-conference play with four straight wins, scoring 70 or more points in all four contests. In Big Ten play, Penn State has struggled offensively like Nebraska, cracking 60 points only three times in 10 Big Ten games, including a high of 72 against Michigan State.
Despite the loss of Frazier, Penn State still features two of the Big Ten's top scoring guards in junior Jermaine Marshall and sophomore D.J. Newbill. Marshall is seventh in the conference in both scoring and steals (1.5 spg), while Newbill, who transferred from Southern Miss, is sixth in the Big Ten in both scoring and assists (4.2 apg).
Saturday's game is only the seventh meeting between the Huskers and Nittany Lions – the two most recent members of the Big Ten – and the teams have split the six previous meetings. Prior to the Huskers' joining the Big Ten, the teams played a home-and-home series in the early 1980s with Nebraska winning 75-50 at the Devaney Center on Dec. 9, 1980, before the Nittany Lions won 60-58 in State College in Dec. 21, 1981. The other meeting before last season came in the second round of the 1995 NIT at the Devaney Center in a 65-59 PSU win. Last year, the teams held serve at home with Nebraska posting its first-ever Big Ten win with a 70-58 victory in Lincoln on Jan. 11 before Penn State earned the split with a 16-point win in State College on Feb. 11.
Nebraska earned its first win away from Lincoln in the first matchup of the season on Jan. 16. In that matchup, Shavon Shields scored a career-high 29 points to lead the Huskers to a 68-64 win over the Nittany Lions. Shields connected on 10-of-11 shots from the field and going 8-for-8 from the foul line, while his 29 points was one shy of the Huskers' school record for a freshman. Shields was one of three Huskers in double figures, as Ray Gallegos had 15 points while Brandon Ubel had 12 points and six rebounds.
A strong second-half effort wasn't quite enough to lift the Nebraska basketball team to an upset of 11th-ranked Ohio State, as the Huskers dropped a 63-56 decision to the Buckeyes Saturday night in front of a crowd of 11,478 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
The Huskers made the Buckeyes work for the win, as Nebraska whittled down a 15 point deficit to five and had a chance to make it a one-possession game. Nebraska was down 58-53 with 1:40 left, and the Huskers had a pair of good looks but were unable to convert, the last being on a 3-point attempt from Brandon Ubel.
Ohio State held the Huskers at bay from the foul line, going 5-of-6 in the final minute to thwart Nebraska's upset bid, as part of a 23-of-28 day for the Buckeyes from the charity stripe. Nebraska, despite out-rebounding OSU 38-33, was able to get to the line just five times in falling to 11-12 on the year and 2-8 in Big Ten play.
David Rivers led three Huskers in double figures with 13 points, including 11 in the second half, while Dylan Talley and Ray Gallegos chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Lenzelle Smith Jr. led Ohio State with a season-high 21 points, going a perfect 6-of-6 from the field, including 3-of-3 from long range. NU held Deshaun Thomas, who was the Big Ten's leading scorer, in check with 15 points while Aaron Craft added 14 points, six rebounds and six assists.
  • David Rivers led Nebraska with 13 points, the second time he has led the Huskers in scoring this season (also at MSU). It also marked his fourth game in double figures this season, all coming within the last 12 contests.
  • Nebraska held Ohio State to 39.1 percent shooting, the 10th time the Huskers have held an opponent under 40 percent shooting this season.
  • Nebraska out-rebounded Ohio State 38-33, marking only the second time in conference play NU has out-rebounded its opponent. The Huskers were out-rebounded by 11 in the first meeting on Jan. 2
  • Andre Almeida set conference highs in rebounds (eight), blocked shots (three) and minutes (21).
  • Nebraska has shot under 40 percent in 11 of its 12 losses this season.
Under Tim Miles, one thing the Huskers have done well is cut down on the number of turnovers. Despite losing its top three point guards from last year and losing its backup point guard to a season-ending injury, Nebraska is third in the Big Ten and 16th nationally with 11.1 turnovers per game – two fewer per game than last season – and has committed 10 turnovers or less nine times this season. The only two teams the Huskers trail in that category are Wisconsin and Michigan, the teams who are No. 1 and No. 2 nationally in that category.
The Huskers had a school-record two turnovers against Purdue on Jan. 16, breaking the mark of three set on the three previous occasions. The Huskers had just 10 turnovers in the loss to No. 11 Ohio State on Saturday.
The Huskers could match their entire 2011-12 win total on Saturday night, as they go for their 12th win of the season. Nebraska went just 12-18 during last season.
What makes it more impressive is that Nebraska has played one of the nation's toughest schedules. According to, Nebraska's strength of schedule is 14th nationally and fourth among Big Ten schools entering Wednesday's games.
With four new starters from last season and an eight-player rotation which includes only three players who saw action last season, there have been some bumps along the way, as the Huskers install 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 with Penn State ranked 10th (.415), 10th (.301) and ninth (.672), in those respective categories. When Nebraska has put up points, they have enjoyed success, going 9-2 when scoring at least 60 points.
One adjustment the Huskers have made recently is going to a bigger lineup and moving senior Dylan Talley to the point guard spot. Over the last seven games, Talley and the Huskers have responded well, averaging 12.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game while posting a 1.4 assist-to-turnover ratio.
After getting blown out in its Big Ten opener at No. 8 Ohio State, Nebraska has had opportunities in nearly every other Big Ten game. In the next five games after OSU, NU made it a two-possession game in the last seven minutes of each of the last five games, including a chance to tie or take the lead against Wisconsin and at Michigan State.
While NU was not able to pull out wins in the first four games, the Huskers found a way down the stretch against Penn State. In the final seven minutes at Penn State, the Huskers hit 60 percent of their field goals and went 9-for-9 from the foul line to earn a four-point win. Against Illinois, NU trailed by nine with eight minutes left, but did not make a field goal the remainder of the contest. The situation was reversed against Northwestern, as Nebraska held a double-figure lead for the final 9:53 against the Wildcats. Last Saturday against No. 11 Ohio State, the Huskers were within five points and had the ball with 2:00 left, but were unable to trim the deficit.
Nebraska is 4-0 on the season in games decided by five points or less after going 4-3 in games decided by five points or less last season.
One of the biggest keys to success for the Huskers has been finding multiple scoring options. Nebraska has three players averaging in double figures on the season, while six players (Brandon Ubel, Dylan Talley, Ray Gallegos, Andre Almeida, David Rivers and Shavon Shields) have all scored at least 20 points at least once this season.
Nebraska has three players averaging at least 11.5 points per game, which would mark the first time that the Huskers have had three players average double figures in a season since 2005-06.
When Nebraska has three or more players in double figures, the Huskers are 9-4 following Saturday's loss to No. 11 Ohio State, but are just 2-8 when not putting at least three players in double figures.
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 eighth in the Big Ten in scoring defense, allowing just 62.3 points per game.
  • NU has held 18 of its first 23 foes under their 2012-13 scoring averages, including season lows by Creighton and Valparaiso. Only five teams have scored 70 against the Huskers this season, as Minnesota's 84 points on Jan. 29 were a season high against the Huskers.
  • The Huskers have held 21 of 23 teams to under 50 percent shooting from the field, including 10 teams to under 40 percent. Northwestern was held to 32.1 percent on Jan.26, the Huskers' best defensive effort of the year.
  • Nebraska is sixth in Big Ten games in scoring defense, allowing 64.2 points per game. Nebraska held Wisconsin over 20 points below its season average on Jan. 6, and limited Michigan to 62 points on Jan. 9 after the Wolverines averaged 94.5 points per game in their first two Big Ten games.
While having to replace four starters and seven of the top nine scorers from last year, Tim Miles has had the challenge of putting players in new roles this year. The Huskers had five returning scholarship players in 2012-13, and all five are integral members of NU's rotation.
All five players have seen significant jumps in their averages from their last season of competition and are all enjoying personal bests in both scoring and rebounding. Prior to this season, the Huskers had only one player on the roster with a 20-point game as a Husker (Andre Almeida in 2010-11) and no returning player had averaged more than nine points per game.
One of the problems has been a lack of depth, as Coach Miles signed four players after arriving in late March (the three redshirts and freshman Sergej Vucetic) while NU's other two scholarship freshman (Shavon Shields and Benny Parker) have been mainstays in the rotation. NU's depth will be improved next year, as Miles signed three players in the fall and has two scholarships available for the spring signing period.
Nebraska junior Ray Gallegos enjoyed the finest offensive performance of his career in the Huskers' loss at Minnesota on Jan. 29.
  • -His 30-point performance against the Gophers marked the 61st time a Husker had scored 30 points since Feb. 13, 2008, a span of 159 games. It also marked the first time a Husker guard had scored 30 points since Tyronn Lue did so during the 1997-98 season.
  • Gallegos became the 24th player in school history to have a 30-point game at Nebraska. Of the 24 players, only 12 have multiple 30-point games in their Husker career.
  • His 30 points tied the Big Ten high for a conference game, set two other times this year. In addition, he set Big Ten highs in conference play in field goals made (12) and 3-pointers (six), setting career bests in both categories.
Freshman Shavon Shields enjoyed one of the finest efforts by a Husker freshman with his 29-point effort at Penn State on Jan. 19.
  • Shields 29-point effort tied for the second-highest scoring effort by a freshman in school history. Only Tyronn Lue, who had 30 points against Oregon in 1995, had more.
  • His 10-of-11 shooting effort against the Nittany Lions is the second-best shooting night by a Big Ten player this season, trailing only David Rivers' 8-of-8 effort at Michigan State on Jan. 13.
  • Shields also went 8-of-8 from the foul line, which tied for the second-best effort from the foul line by a Big Ten player this season.
  • The 29 points matched the highest scoring effort in a conference game this year until D.J. Richardson's 30-point effort against the Huskers on Jan. 22.
  • He also tied for team-high honors with six rebounds and added a career-high three steals while playing 38 minutes before fouling out.
  • Shields earned Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week honors on Jan. 23, after averaging 23.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game against Purdue and Penn State.
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 entered the season with 59 career starts at Nebraska, while the remaining seven returnees on the roster had combined for seven career starts for the Scarlet and Cream.
While most known for his rebounding, Ubel has picked up some of the scoring slack, averaging 11.8 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds per game, as he ranks among the Big Ten leaders in both categories. Ubel missed two games with an elbow injury, the first games he missed since his freshman year, but came back to the lineup against Penn State on Jan. 19, and put together four straight double-figure scoring games before it was snapped against Ohio State last Saturday. He had 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the loss to No. 23 Minnesota on Jan. 29, and dominated on the interior against Northwestern with 14 points and 12 rebounds, including seven on the offensive glass.
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 16 of the 21 games he has played. Entering the season, he had one double-double, but already has four this season for the Huskers (21 points & 12 rebounds vs. Southern, 17 points & 13 rebounds vs. Kent State, 15 points & 10 rebounds vs. Jacksonville State and 14 points and 12 rebounds vs. Northwestern).
Ubel nearly had another double-double against Wisconsin on Jan. 6 with 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and eight rebounds, along with a career-high three blocked shots. Ubel also had a team-high 10 rebounds at No. 2 Michigan on Jan. 9, the fourth time this year he has grabbed double figures in rebounds, before suffering the elbow injury in the final minutes of action. 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 also had 18 points, including 10-of-11 shooting from the foul line, against Nicholls State.
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 fourth on Nebraska's career free throw percentage list at 80.7 percent. Last year, Ubel shot 82.5 percent from the foul line. Ubel is shooting 91 percent (41-of-45) from the foul line dating back to Dec. 15.
Off the court, Ubel is a broadcasting major who will graduate in May. He has done some women's basketball play-by-by for the campus radio station and interned at a local ABC affiliate over the summer.
Senior Dylan Talley came into the 2012-13 season as the Huskers' most proven scorer and has shouldered a significant role in NU's offense. The 6-foot-5 senior enters Saturday's game with Penn State averaging 13.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. He is 14th in the league in scoring and third in minutes played with 35.4 per game.
Talley has been in double figures in 17 contests and has topped the Huskers in scoring nine times this season, including 16 points against Illinois on Jan. 22 and 20 points against Northwestern on Feb. 26. In that game, Talley hit 8-of-15 shots and also grabbed eight rebounds to help the Huskers pick up their first home win since Dec. 29. It was Talley's fourth 20-point effort of the season after not having one all of 2011-12. Talley was one of three Huskers in double figures against Ohio State with 12 points.
He put on a display against Kent State on Nov. 24, scoring a career-high 27 points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out three assists. Talley also had 22 points against Nebraska-Omaha on Nov. 18 and 21 points, including a career-best six 3-pointers, against Central Michigan on Dec. 22.
Talley's role has changed in recent games, serving as one of the Huskers' primary point guards and helping to run the offense. Over the last seven games, he is averaging 12.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.3 steals per game while posting a 1.4-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
He handled much of the point guard duties at No. 2 Michigan as Benny Parker battled foul trouble, and finished with 12 points and a then-career-high five assists. Talley started at point guard against No. 22 Michigan State on Jan. 13 and had 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists in 38 minutes. Against Purdue on Jan. 16, he had just six points, but led the Huskers in rebounds (eight), steals (four) and assists (three). He dished out a season-high six assists and added eight points and four rebounds in the win at Penn State on Jan. 19.
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.
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 one of the Big Ten's biggest surprises in 2012-13.
Gallegos, who averaged 2.6 points per game in 2010-11, leads the Huskers in scoring at 13.3 ppg and tops all Big Ten players with 58 3-pointers. He has been in double figures 17 times this season after accomplishing the feat just three times in his first two years at Nebraska.
Gallegos has led the Huskers in scoring four times in conference play, highlighted by a 30-point effort at Minnesota on Jan. 29. In that game, he tied or set career bests in 3-pointers (six) and field goals (12) while becoming the first Husker since 2008 to have a 30-point game. His previous Big Ten high was a 19-point night at No. 2 Michigan on Jan. 9, which was part of a seven-game stretch where he was in double figures. Against Northwestern, Gallegos had 11 second-half points, including a trio of 3-pointers in an 11-2 run to put the game away.
Earlier this season, 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 against Central Michigan, he scored 11 of Nebraska's first 16 points to help the Huskers get out to an early lead and finished with 19 points.
Gallegos put together the best two-game stretch of his career, posting consecutive 20-point efforts at Wake Forest and USC, a stretch where he shot 56 percent from 3-point range. Against USC on Dec. 3, 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, who never played more than 27 minutes in any game during his first two seasons, leads the Big Ten and is 10th nationally with 37.2 minutes per game. He played every minute of the Huskers' first five Big Ten games and saw his streak of consecutive minutes end at 218:39 when he exited the game midway through the first half at Penn State on Jan. 19. He has sat just eight minutes in the Huskers' first 10 Big Ten contests.
His minutes per game are the most since Dave Hoppen averaged 38.5 minutes per game in 1984-85. In the last 25 years, Charles Richardson Jr. is the only Husker to average more than 35 minutes per game for a full season when he averaged 36.3 minutes per game in 2006-07.
As a sophomore, Gallegos 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.
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.
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.
On the season, Shields is averaging 7.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game while averaging 26.3 minutes per game. In Big Ten play, he has continued to make strides, raising his scoring and rebounding numbers from his non-conference totals, averaging 9.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per outing. He is challenging to be the first Husker freshman since the 2005-06 season to average double figures in conference games. Shields has reached double figures three times in Big Ten play, most recently a 10-point effort at No. 23 Minnesota on Jan. 29.
Shields set career highs in consecutive games last month, highlighted by a 29-point effort at Penn State on Jan. 19. Shields hit 10-of-11 shots from the field and went 8-of-8 from the line in posting the highest scoring effort by a Husker freshman since 2007 (Ryan Anderson vs. Kansas). He also had team bests in both rebounds (six) and steals (three) to help NU to its first Big Ten win. On Jan. 16 against Purdue, Shields became the first Husker freshmen to lead the team in scoring in three seasons with 18 points and eight rebounds. Shields was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Jan. 21, the first time since 2009 that a Husker freshman was honored by the league.
Shields has also grabbed at least six rebounds in seven of the Huskers' 10 Big Ten games, including a season-best nine rebounds at No. 8 Ohio State on Jan. 2, and is third among Big Ten freshman in rebounding in conference play.
At the 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 on Dec. 18, Shields came off the bench to score a then-career-high 14 points, hitting 6-of-7 shots from the field.
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, as he is averaging 5.9 points and 3.3 rebounds per game while playing in all 23 contests.
He has been at his best in the last 13 games, reaching double figures for the first four times of his career, as he averages 7.5 points per game on 55 percent shooting dating back to Dec. 22. He led the Huskers in scoring for the second time this season against No. 11 Ohio State with 13 points, as he hit five of seven shots from the floor and added six rebounds.
He made his first career start at No. 22 Michigan State on Jan. 13, leading the Huskers with 18 points on a perfect 8-of-8 shooting from the field. His eight field goals without a miss was one off Nebraska's single-game record, and he also chipped in six rebounds while playing all 40 minutes.
Rivers put on a show in Nebraska's win over Central Michigan on Dec. 22, scoring a career-high 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting and matching his personal best with seven rebounds. His effort against CMU matched his entire season output as a freshman. Prior to that game, Rivers turned an ankle against Oregon on Dec. 15 and played just 11 minutes in NU's previous two contests. Against Nicholls State on Dec. 29, Rivers cracked double figures for the second time in three games, totaling 12 points, six rebounds and a pair of steals in 28 minutes.
  • Nebraska is 4-1 when it shoots above 50 percent from the field, but has struggled in its 10 losses, being held under 40 percent in 11 of its 12 losses.
  • The Huskers have held 21 of 23 opponents under 50 percent shooting this year, as Kent State and Minnesota are the only foes to shoot better than 50 percent. The Huskers have also held 10 opponents to under 40 percent shooting, most recently Ohio State last Saturday.
  • Balance has been key for the Huskers, as Nebraska is 9-4 when three players reach double figures and just 2-8 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. It was also NU'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.
  • Earlier this 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.
  • 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.
  • Nebraska held Wisconsin to 47 points on Jan. 3, the fewest points allowed by Nebraska in conference action since giving up 46 in a win over Oklahoma on Jan. 30, 2010.
Nebraska has been strong on its home court since the Bob Devaney Center opened in 1976. Nebraska has a 444-147 (.751) record in 37 seasons. Nebraska has enjoyed 36 consecutive winning seasons in the building, as the Huskers are celebrating their final season in the Devaney Center in 2012-13. The Huskers are 8-5 at the Devaney Center in 2012-13 and have been solid defensively, holding eight of its 13 foes to under 60 points this season.
The Nebraska men's and women's basketball teams will celebrate their final season at the Bob Devaney Sports Center throughout the 2012-13 campaign. The Huskers will move into the new Pinnacle Bank Arena in downtown Lincoln in October of 2013. The arena, which is set for completion next fall, will become the new home of Husker men's and women's basketball in 2013-14.
As part of the festivities at the Devaney Center during 2012-13, the Huskers plan to highlight the greatest moments and greatest players in the 37-year history of the Devaney Center. At each men's and women's basketball home game during the season, HuskerVision will produce a big screen feature showcasing one of the most memorable moments in men's and women's basketball history.
On the men's side, the memorable Devaney Center moments were compiled by Husker Sports Network radio play-by-play announcer Kent Pavelka and long-time Nebraska men's basketball beat writer Mike Babcock from Hail Varsity magazine. The men's basketball moments include Jamar Johnson's historic buzzer-beater in a win over Kansas, along with outstanding individual performances by legends such as Jack Moore, Andre Smith and Eric Piatkowski. The moments also include dramatic Husker wins over such teams as Michigan State, Oklahoma State and Texas.
The Nebraska Athletic Department has created a special “Devaney Center Final Season” logo that is displayed on giant banners draped outside above the north and south entrances of the Devaney Center.