Nebraska MBB: Huskers Face No. 7 Wisconsin Thursday Night

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Posted By: Sports

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Game #17 at Wisconsin

Date: Thursday, Jan. 15

Time: 8:05 p.m. (CT)

Arena: Kohl Center

Capacity: 17,249

Nebraska Cornhuskers

2014-15 Record: 10-6, 2-2 Big Ten

Head coach: Tim Miles

Record at Nebraska: 44-37 (Third year)

Career Record: 327-257 (20th year)

Wisconsin Badgers

2014-15 Record: 15-2, 3-1 Big Ten

Head coach: Bo Ryan

Record at Wisconsin: 336-123 (14th year)

Career Record: 719-226 (31st year)

Broadcast Information

Television: ESPN2

Announcers: Rece Davis and Seth Greenberg

Online: WatchESPN

Radio: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network, including KLIN (1400 AM) in Lincoln, KFAB (1110 AM) in Omaha and KRVN (880 AM) in Lexington. Also available online at Huskers.com, on the Huskers App and on TuneIn Radio and the TuneIn Radio App.

Play-by-play: Kent Pavelka

Expert Analysis: Matt Davison

Satellite Radio (UW Feed): Sirius (84), XM (84)

Live Stats: Huskers.com

National Radio: Compass Media Networks

Play-by-play: Drew Bontadelli

Expert Analysis: Rick Mahorn

Probable Starters

Nebraska

2014-15 stats

No.

Name

Pos

Yr.

Ht.

Wt.

G/GS

PPG

RPG

Other

3

Benny Parker

G

Jr.

5-9

172

16/13

6.1

2.2

2.1 apg

5

Terran Petteway

G

Jr.

6-6

215

16/16

18.9

5.4

2.8 apg

31

Shavon Shields

G/F

Jr.

6-7

221

16/16

17.1

6.9

2.1 apg

2

David Rivers

F

Sr.

6-7

200

16/16

5.4

5.3

0.8 apg

35

Walter Pitchford

F

Jr.

6-10

237

16/16

7.7

4.9

0.6 bpg

Wisconsin

2014-15 stats

No.

Name

Pos

Yr.

Ht.

Wt.

G/GS

PPG

RPG

Other

21

Josh Gasser

G

Sr.

6-4

192

17/17

7.5

2.8

41.1 3pt Pct.

24

Bronson Koening

G

So.

6-4

190

17/1

4.9

1.2

2.1 apg

10

Nigel Hayes

F

So.

6-8

235

17/17

12.2

7.1

56.4 FG Pct.

15

Sam Dekker

F

Jr.

6-9

230

17/17

12.4

4.6

1.2 apg

44

Frank Kaminsky

C

Sr.

7-0

242

16/16

16.9

8.2

1.9 bpg

Huskers Face No. 7 Wisconsin Thursday Night

The Nebraska men’s basketball team will face one of its stiffest tests of the season, as the Huskers travel to No. 7 Wisconsin Thursday night.

Tipoff between the Huskers and Badgers at the Kohl Center is set for 8:05 p.m. (central) and the game will be nationally televised on ESPN2 with Rece Davis and Seth Greenberg on the call. The game is also available online and on mobile devices on the WatchESPN app.

The game will be broadcast across the state of Nebraska on the IMG Husker Sports Radio Network, including KLIN 1400 AM in Lincoln, 1110 KFAB in Omaha and KRVN 880 AM in Lexington with Kent Pavelka calling the action and Matt Davison adding color commentary. The game can be heard for free on Huskers.com and available on the Huskers’ app on iOS or android devices, as well as on TuneIn Radio and on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Thursday’s game is also broadcast nationally on Compass Sport Networks.

The Huskers (10-6, 2-2 Big Ten) got back to .500 in Big Ten play with a 53-43 win over Illinois Sunday evening. NU, which was playing its third game in seven days, showed its mettle on the defensive end, holding Illinois to 27.3 percent shooting. That marked the Huskers’ best defensive field goal percent against a conference opponent since 2006.

Combined with the 49 points allowed to Rutgers on Thursday, it was the first time since 1963 that Nebraska held consecutive conference opponents under 50 points. Nebraska has been stout on defense all season, ranking second in the Big Ten in field goal defense (37.7 percent) and have held seven of the last eight opponents under 40 percent shooting.

Offensively, All-America candidate Terran Petteway had 13 of his 18 points in the second half against Illinois, and the junior guard is second in the Big Ten in scoring at 18.9 points per game, while also averaging career highs in rebounding (5.4) and assists (2.8). Junior forward Shavon Shields is fifth in the Big Ten in scoring at 17.1 points per game while topping the Big Red and ranking sixth in the Big Ten with 6.9 rebounds per game.

The Huskers will need big efforts from their all-conference performers Thursday night, as Wisconsin comes into the matchup with a 15-2 record after falling at Rutgers, 67-62 on Sunday. The Badgers, who are 9-1 at home, rank sixth nationally in scoring defense, allowing 54.1 points per game. Wisconsin was without preseason Big Ten Player of the Year Frank Kaminsky, who averages 16.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, in Sunday’s loss, but should be back for the NU game.

Numbers 2 Know

.377 – Field goal defense for the Huskers this year, which is on pace to be the Huskers’ best since the 1960-61 season (.367).

9 – NU has held nine of its first 16 opponents under 40 percent shooting, including seven of the last eight foes.

7.0 – Rebounds per game for Walter Pitchford over the last eight contests. In NU’s first eight games, he averaged 2.9 rebounds per outing.

30 – Points that Terran Petteway needs to reach 1,000 for his career as he has 970 career points, including 88 as a freshman at Texas Tech in 2011-12.

188 – Days it took for Leslee Smith to return to action from a torn left ACL suffered on July 3. Smith, who was cleared for practice last Friday, had two rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot in Thursday’s season debut.

Scouting Wisconsin

Under Coach Bo Ryan, Wisconsin has been one of the Big Ten’s best programs over the past decade. Ryan, who is in his 14th season in Madison, has guided the Badgers to 13 NCAA Tournaments, including six appearances in the NCAA Sweet 16 and last year’s final four appearance.

The 2014-15 Badgers have four starters back, including preseason All-American Frank Kaminsky, and have been in the top five in the ranking for nearly the entire season. UW was 15-1 with the only loss coming to No. 2 Duke on Dec. 3 before Rutgers topped the short-handed Badgers on Sunday. Wisconsin won the Battle 4 Atlantis and has wins over Cal, Georgetown and Oklahoma in non-conference play. Not only was Wisconsin without Kaminsky, who averages team-highs in both scoring (16.9 ppg) and rebounding (8.2 rpg), but also lost Traevon Jackson to a right foot injury in the second half. Jackson is expected to miss several weeks of action.

Wisconsin comes into the contest averaging 73.5 points per game while ranking second in the Big Ten in field goal percentage. The Badgers, who lead the conference in fewest turnovers per game (8.3 per game) also boast a Big Ten leading defense, allowing just 54.9 points per game. In addition to Kaminsky, Sam Dekker averages 12.4 points per game while Nigel Hayes is at 12.2 points on 56 percent shooting and 7.1 rebounds per outing.

Nebraska-Wisconsin Series History

Thursday’s matchup is the 22nd meeting between the two programs, and Nebraska snapped a five-game losing streak to UW with a 77-68 win last March in Lincoln. It was the first time in three meetings that NU beat a ranked Wisconsin team.

The series dates back to the 1903-04 season , as Nebraska won the first meeting, 55-25 over the Badgers in Lincoln before Wisconsin took five of the next six meetings from 1907 to 1955. Nebraska then won eight straight games before the Badgers won the next five meetings, including the first four in Big Ten play. Wisconsin has won six of the 10 meetings in Madison, including both matchups in the Kohl Center.

Last Year’s Meeting

at Nebraska 77, Wisconsin 68: Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields scored 26 points each, leading Nebraska to a nine-point win over Wisconsin. The pair combined for 52 points, while Petteway also pulled down 10 rebounds in the win. Walter Pitchford chipped in 15 points for the Huskers, including a 3-pointer in a 12-1 second-half surge that erased a 52-48 Wisconsin lead. Frank Kaminsky led four Wisconsin players in double figures with 14 points and eight boards.

Last Time Out

Nebraska put together its best defensive effort in the Tim Miles era, holding Illinois to 27 percent shooting in a 53-43 win over the Fighting Illini on Sunday.

Nebraska, which has won two straight since an 0-2 Big Ten start, held Illinois to 15-of-55 shooting, including 6-of-29 from 3-point range. The shooting percentage was the lowest by a Husker foe in conference play in over nine years.

Terran Petteway led the Huskers (10-6, 2-2 Big Ten) with 18 points and four assists, while Shavon Shields added 11 points, eight rebounds and matched his career high with five assists for the victors.

Malcolm Hill and Kendrick Nunn led Illinois (11-6, 1-3 Big Ten) with 12 points apiece.

Nebraska took control midway through the first half, using a 9-1 run to erase an early deficit, as the Huskers held Illinois to just one field goal in a nine-minute stretch. NU took a six-point lead into the break and stretched it to 10 after a pair of Terran Petteway 3-pointers. Illinois cut the deficit to six several times, but could not get closer, as the Huskers kept the Illini at bay.

Notes from the Illinois Game

  • Nebraska’s 43 points allowed is the second-lowest total a Tim Miles coached Nebraska team has allowed in his three seasons (42 by Loyola Marymount on Dec. 23, 2014).
  • The 27.3 percent shooting by Illinois is the lowest by an opponent in the Tim Miles era and the lowest by a Husker opponent since Grambling shot 25.0 percent on Dec. 21, 2010. It is the lowest by a conference opponent since Kansas State shot 23.4 percent in a 57-42 Husker win on Jan. 11, 2006.
  • The 43 points allowed is the lowest to a conference foe since Colorado scored 41 on Feb. 18, 2009.
  • With 18 points, Terran Petteway reached double figures for the 27th straight game. It is the longest streak by a Husker since Tyronn Lue, who had 36 straight spanning the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons.
  • Tarin Smith grabbed a career-high five rebounds and blocked a pair of shots in 20 minutes off the bench.
  • Shavon Shields tied his personal best with five assists, as he also had five dimes against Creighton on Dec. 7, 2014.
  • Nebraska has now won 10 of 12 Big Ten games since moving into Pinnacle Bank Arena.
  • NU got to the foul line just five times against the Illini, matching the lowest total in three seasons under Tim Miles.

Worth Noting

  • Thursday’s meeting is the first of two matchups with the Badgers this season, as Wisconsin visits Pinnacle Bank Arena for a Super Tuesday game on Feb. 10. Wisconsin is one of the five opponents that NU faces twice (also Illinois, Iowa, Maryland and Minnesota).
  • Nebraska looks for its second straight road win against a ranked team dating back to last season, as NU topped ninth-ranked Michigan State, 60-51 on Feb. 16, 2014. That snapped a 21-game road losing steak to ranked teams dating back to 2008.
  • In addition, the Huskers will be looking for their third straight win against a top-10 team, as Nebraska also topped ninth-ranked Wisconsin in the 2013-14 regular-season finale. NU is 3-15 against ranked teams under Miles, while Thursday’s game will be the first against a ranked opponent in 2014-15.
  • Not only have the Huskers led in the second half in all six losses, but Nebraska has been within one possession in the final two minutes of regulation or in OT in five of the six games. The Iowa game on Jan. 5 was the only time NU has not led or been within three points in the final two minutes, as Nebraska trailed by five with 2:00 left.
  • Nebraska played with its full lineup for the first time this season in the last two games, as Leslee Smith and Moses Abraham both returned from injuries. Smith had been sidelined with a torn ACL suffered in July, while Abraham missed seven games with a broken hand.
  • Thursday’s game is a homecoming for redshirt freshman Nick Fuller, as he hails from Sun Prairie, which is 16 miles northeast of Madison. Fuller has played in eight games for the Huskers, averaging 1.8 points and 1.1 rebounds per game, but had four points and four rebounds in 13 minutes of work against Rutgers on Jan. 8 in his last appearance.
  • As juniors Shavon Shields (922) and Terran Petteway (882) climb toward 1,000 career points, it could mark the fifth time in school history when Nebraska has a pair of players reach 1,000 points in the same season (1967-68-Stuart Lantz and Tom Baack; 1978-79-Carl McPipe and Brian Banks; 1990-91-Rich King and Clifford Scales; 1998-99; Cookie Belcher and Venson Hamilton). Nebraska’s last 1,000-point scorer was Ryan Anderson during the 2009-10 season.
  • NU has done a much better job with turnovers in recent games, averaging 10.8 turnovers per game in the last six contests, including three straight games with 10 or fewer turnovers before it was snapped vs. Illinois on Jan. 11.
  • Nebraska has done a nice job of converting opponents’ mistakes, averaging 15.1 points per game off opponent turnovers, but had a season-low six points in Sunday’s win over Illinois.
  • Nebraska has had seven double-figure runs during the season, including a 10-0 spurt in overtime against Loyola Marymount on Dec. 22.

Petteway and Shields Carry Husker Attack

NU features two of the Big Ten’s most dynamic wing players in juniors Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields. The pair has been a prolific scoring duo during the first half of 2014-15, combining for 36.0 points per game and ranking among the Big Ten’s top five scorers entering Thursday’s game at Wisconsin.

  • Only nine schools have two players combining for at least 35 points per game this season, and Nebraska’s duo is eighth nationally and leads all power conference duos at 36.0 ppg. Oklahoma State’s tandom of Phil Forte and Le’Bryan Nash is second among power confeence pairs at 35.3 points per game.
  • In Nebraska’s 119-year history, only five duos have combined to average more than 36 points per game for a season and none since the 1983-84 season.

Hanging Their Hat On Defense

One of the keys to Nebraska’s success the last two seasons has been an emphasis on improved defense. Last year’s midseason turnaround was keyed on the defensive end, as a team that was last in field goal defense entering Big Ten play finished second in the conference in field goal percentage.

This year, Nebraska has been solid defensively while missing its two top interior defenders for long stretches this year. In 2014-15, the Huskers got off to a strong start, holding their first six opponents to 38 percent shooting from the floor, but Creighton and Incarnate Word have combined to shoot 47 percent over a two-game stretch.

Nebraska regrouped since the loss to Incarnate Word, holding its last eight opponents to a combined 35.2 percent shooting and just 56.6 points per game. NU is now up 10th nationally in defensive efficiency according to KenPom.com entering its game at Wisconsin.

  • Nebraska’s field goal defense is on pace to be the lowest by a Husker defense since the 1960-61 season. In fact, NU has finished a season with a field goal defense under 40 percent one other time in the last 50 years (.389 in 2010-11).
  • Under Miles, NU is 29-9 over the past three seasons when holding opponents to under 40 percent shooting.
  • Nebraska is 10-2 this season when holding opponents to under a point per possession and 0-4 when an opponent is above the mark.
  • Nebraska held Loyola Marymount to 42 points in the overtime win on Dec. 23. It was the lowest point total allowed by the Husker defense since the 2010-11 season.
  • The Huskers limited Illinois to 43 points on 27.3 percent shooting. It was the lowest field goal percentage by a Husker defense since 2010 and the lowest against a conference opponent since Kansas State shot 23.4 percent on Jan. 11, 2006.
  • Nebraska held Rutgers (49) and Illinois (43) under 50 points per game in consecutive conference games, the first time that has happened since Feb. 23-25, 1963, (Kansas, Oklahoma State). The last time NU held three straight conference opponents under 50 points was during the 1957-58 season.

Petteway Leads Husker Returnees

Junior wing Terran Petteway entered the season as one of the best players in the country and has played at a high level for the Huskers this season. The 6-foot-6 junior has raised his numbers across the board from his sophomore season, as he averages 18.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists per contest. He is second in the Big Ten in scoring and ranks among the Big Ten leaders in 3-pointers per game (eighth) and blocked shots (12th).

  • Petteway is one of only 10 players in the country averaging at least 18 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in 2014-15.
  • Petteway has eight 20-point games in 2014-15, including a season-high 25 points against both Northern Kentucky and at Florida State, and now has 20 career games at NU with 20 or more points following his 20-point effort against Rutgers on Jan. 8.
  • Petteway has been in double figures in 27 consecutive games dating back to last year and 46 of 48 career games at Nebraska. That streak is the longest streak for a Husker since 1998 NBA first-round pick Tyronn Lue posted 36 consecutive double-figure efforts spanning the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons.
  • He leads the Huskers with two double-doubles (20 points, 12 rebounds vs. Omaha; 22 points, 10 rebounds vs. Ohio) and has four double-doubles in his NU career.
  • With 882 points over the last two years at Nebraska, his career scoring average of 18.4 points per game is second only to Dave Hoppen (19.5 ppg).
  • Petteway looks to become the first player since Ohio State’s Evan Turner (2009-10) to lead the Big Ten in scoring in consecutive seasons. Over the last 30 years, only three players – Turner, Purdue’s Glenn Robinson (1993-94) and Michigan’s Glen Rice (1988-89) – have accomplished the feat.
  • On Nov. 16, he was chosen for the Wooden Award Men’s Preseason Top 50. Chosen by a preseason poll of national college basketball experts, the list is comprised of 50 student-athletes who are the early front-runners for the sport’s most prestigious honor. Petteway is the first Husker on the list since Aleks Maric in the 2007-08 season. He is also a candidate for the Naismith Trophy and on the Oscar Robertson and Lute Olson Player of the Year watch lists.
  • Petteway had 18 points along with a career-best eight assists against Tennessee-Martin, which was the most by a Husker since the 2011-12 season.
  • He is bidding to become the first Husker to earn All-America honors since Carl McPipe during the 1977-78 season.

Last season, Petteway became the first player to earn unanimous first-team all-conference honors since Venson Hamilton in 1999, and also earned first-team all-district honors by the NABC (coaches) and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (writers). Petteway finished Big Ten play as the conference scoring leader, averaging 18.6 points per game. He became the fifth Husker in the last century to lead a conference in scoring in conference games and first since former Big Eight Player of the Year Andre Smith in 1980-81. He also led the conference at 18.1 points per game in all games and became the first Husker since 1950 (first year the Big Seven Conference kept records) to ever lead the league in scoring for all games.

Shields Keys Husker Attack

While Petteway was one of the best players in the Big Ten last season, Shavon Shields may have been more of the most underrated players in the conference in 2013-14. The 6-foot-7 wing started all 32 games and averaged 12.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game to earn honorable-mention All-Big Ten honors from the coaches and media. As a sophomore, Shields was second on the team in scoring and led Nebraska in rebounding.

This season, Shields has continued his emergence, averaging 17.1 points on 47 percent shooting and 6.9 rebounds per game heading into Thursday’s game at Wisconsin. Shields is fifth in the Big Ten in scoring and free throw percentage (.859) and sixth in rebounding.

  • He is one of four players in the top 10 in both scoring and rebounding in the Big Ten.
  • Shields is one of only 20 players in the country averaging at least 17.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game following entering this week’s games.
  • His 85.9 percent from the line is not only 13 percent better than his sophomore season, but would rank eighth in school history.
  • Shields already has six 20-point games this season, which already topped his entire career total entering the 2014-15 season, following his 25-point effort at Iowa on Jan. 5.
  • His 35-point effort against Omaha on Nov. 22 tied for the most in a Big Ten game this year and ties for 10th in school history. In that game, Shields went 12-of-15 from the field, including 4-of-4 from 3-point range.
  • With his 35-point game against UNO, he became one of only 14 players in school history – including Petteway – with multiple 30-point games in school history. Shields scored 33 points against Illinois on Feb. 14, 2014.
  • Picked up his fourth career double-double against Central Arkansas with 16 points – all in the first half – and 11 rebounds while dishing out four assists. He also nearly had a double-double at Rhode Island with 25 points and nine rebounds.
  • Scored 18 points on just four field goal attempts, hitting all four shots from the floor while going 10-of-10 from the charity stripe. It was the third time in his career he has gone 10-of-10 or better from the foul line in a game.
  • Shields also excels off the court, carrying close to a 3.8 GPA in biology and was a first-team Academic All-District selection in 2013-14.