Nebraska MBB: Huskers Head to Michigan for Super Tuesday

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Game #20: at Michigan
Date: Tuesday, Jan. 27
Time: 6:02 p.m. (CT)
Arena: Crisler Center
Capacity: 12,721

Nebraska Cornhuskers
2014-15 Record: 12-7, 4-3 Big Ten
Head coach: Tim Miles
Record at Nebraska: 46-38 (Third year)
Career Record: 329-258 (20th year)

Michigan Wolverines
2014-15 Record: 12-8, 5-3 Big Ten
Head coach: John Beilein
Record at Michigan: 162-102 (Eighth year)
Career Record: 712-20 (37th year)

Broadcast Information
Television: ESPN
Play-by-play: Mike Tirico,
Expert Analysis: Dan Dakich
Sideline: Sam Ponder

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 (Michigan Feed): Sirius (93), XM (195)

Live Stats: Huskers.com

Huskers Head to Michigan for Super Tuesday
The Nebraska men’s basketball team hits the road for an important Big Ten contest, as the Huskers take on Michigan Tuesday night in Ann Arbor.

Tipoff is set for 6:02 p.m. (central) from the Crisler Center, and the contest will be televised nationally on ESPN with Mike Tirico, Dan Dakich and Sam Ponder on the call. Tuesday’s game is also available online and on mobile devices on the WatchESPN app. Tuesday’s matchup with Michigan is the first of two Super Tuesday appearances for the Big Red, as the Huskers will host Wisconsin at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Feb. 10.

The game will be broadcast across the state of Nebraska on the 37-station 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 is available on the Huskers’ app on iOS or android devices, as well as on TuneIn Radio and on SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

The Huskers (12-7, 4-3 Big Ten) broke out of an offensive slump on Saturday against Michigan State, scoring 79 points against a Spartan defense that was surrendering 61.9 points per game. Nebraska, which averaged a league-low 58.2 points per game in its first six Big Ten games, hit 49 percent from the field and went 27-of-39 from the foul line to earn its fourth win in the last five games.

While All-Big Ten performers Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields combined for 53 points, it was the performances of a pair of role players that helped propel the Huskers above the .500 mark in Big Ten play for the first time in 2014-15. Leslee Smith stepped into the starting lineup after David Rivers suffered a knee injury in practice Thursday night and gave the Huskers seven points and seven rebounds in a career-high 30 minutes. Sophomore Tai Webster came off the bench and played extended minutes after starting center Walter Pitchford was ejected four minutes into the contest and gave the Huskers 13 points, three rebounds and a pair of steals in 28 minutes after playing just 21 minutes in NU’s previous four contests.

Michigan (12-8, 5-3 Big Ten) is coming off a tough 69-64 overtime loss to Wisconsin on Sunday. Derrick Walton Jr. led the Wolverines with 17 points, including a 3-pointer to send the game to overtime, while Zak Irvin added 12 in a losing cause. Michigan was dealt a blow earlier in the month with the season-ending injury to Caris LeVert, as the junior led the Wolverines in scoring (14.9 ppg), rebounding (4.9 rpg) and assists (3.7 apg).

Numbers 2 Know

.380 – The Huskers’ defensive field goal percentage this season, which is on pace to be the Huskers’ best since the 1960-61 season (.367). NU’s field goal defense leads in the Big Ten entering this week’s action.

.714 – Nebraska is 15-6 under Tim Miles in games decided by five points or less, including winning each of the last two games, which have been decided by a total of five points.

34 – Points that Shavon Shields needs to reach 1,000 points in his career entering Tuesday’s game with Michigan. He is on track to become the 26th 1,000-point scorer in Nebraska history.

188 – Days it took for Leslee Smith to return to action from a torn left ACL suffered on July 3. Smith made just second career start against Michigan State and had seven points and seven rebounds in 30 minutes of action. Saturday’s lineup was just the third different lineup used by the Huskers this season.

Scouting Michigan
Michigan comes into Tuesday’s game with a 12-8 record and is tied for fourth in the Big Ten with a 5-3 record. The Wolverines lost three starters – including a pair of first-round draft picks – from a team that went 28-9, won the Big Ten title and reached the Elite Eight in 2014.

This season, Michigan has battled injuries, none as big as a the season-ending injury to junior guard Caris LeVert. The 6-foot-7 junior topped Michigan in scoring, rebounding assists and steals when he suffered his injury in the final seconds of a two-point win over Northwestern on Jan. 17.

Michigan has battled since the injury, winning at Rutgers before taking No. 6 Wisconsin to overtime before falling, 69-64 on Saturday. Sophomore Zak Irvin and Derrick Walton Jr. key the Wolverine attack, as Irvin averages 13.6 points per game and has a team-high 49 3-pointers, while Walton averages 10.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Michigan is a solid 3-point shooting team at 35 percent and rarely beats itself, averaging under 10 turnovers per game.

Nebraska-Michigan Series History
Tuesday’s meeting is the 13th between the Huskers and Wolverines. Michigan leads the all-time series, 10-2, in a series that dates back to 1949, although the Wolverines’ win over the Huskers in the 1992 Rainbow Classic was later vacated. Michigan has been ranked in the national polls in six of the 12 previous matchups, including three of the four meetings since the Huskers joined the Big Ten. Michigan has won all four conference meetings with the Huskers and are the only one of the original Big Ten members that NU has not beaten since joining the conference prior to the 2011-12 season. One of Nebraska’s two wins in the series was a 74-73 win over No. 1 Michigan at the NU Coliseum on Dec. 12, 1964. In that game, Fred Hare’s buzzer beater knocked off the Cazzie Russell-led Wolverines. That win is one of three wins over No. 1 ranked teams in Nebraska’s history.

Last Year vs. Michigan
Jan. 9, 2014 (Michigan 71, Nebraska 70): Derrick Walton Jr. hit a driving layup with 23 seconds remaining, lifting Michigan to a 71-70 win. Walton’s heroics put the Wolverines ahead in a back-and-forth game which saw 11 ties and 10 lead changes, as neither team led by more than six points the entire game. The Huskers had a shot to win, but Terran Petteway’s drive slipped off the rim and Leslee Smith’s putback attempt at the buzzer rolled off the rim. Petteway, who had 14 of his 16 points in the second half, kept the Huskers in the game down the stretch, hitting baskets to tie the score at 67 and 69 before his free throw with 34 seconds left gave Nebraska a one-point lead at 70-69 prior to Walton’s basket, which gave the Wolverines the lead for good.

Feb. 5, 2014 (Michigan 79, Nebraska 50): Nebraska ran into a hot-shooting Michigan team as the 10th-ranked Wolverines topped the Huskers, 79-50, in the Crisler Center. Michigan hit 13 3-pointers, including nine in the first half, as the Wolverines put the game away early and snapped Nebraska’s two-game win streak. Glenn Robinson III paced the Wolverines in double figures with 23 points, while Zak Irvin and Caris LeVert added 16 each, as Irvin came off the bench to score all 16 of his points in the first half. Shavon Shields led NU with 13 points, while Walter Pitchford added 10 as Nebraska was held to 35.2 percent shooting.

Worth Noting

  • Tuesday’s matchup is the only one with Michigan in the regular season, as Nebraska looks to sweep both Michigan schools for the first time since joining the Big Ten. The Huskers will be looking for their first-ever win in Ann Arbor, as they are 0-6 all-time.
  • The Huskers are 3-4 away from home this season, but have been just as good defensively away from home. NU is holding opponents to 37.7 percent shooting in those seven games. Beginning with Tuesday’s game at Michigan, the Huskers play seven of their final 11 regular-season games away from Pinnacle Bank Arena.
  • David Rivers will most likely miss his second straight game because of a left knee strain suffered in practice on Jan. 22. Rivers had started NU’s first 18 games and is averaging 4.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. In his place, Leslee Smith (3.2 ppg and 2.8 rpg) and Tai Webster (4.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg) are likely to get the bulk of the minutes.
  • There have been 15 overtime games involving Big Ten teams as of Jan. 25, and five of them have involved Nebraska or Michigan. NU is 2-1 in extra periods this season and the school record for OT games in a season is four, which has occurred five times, most recently in 2007-08. Prior to this season, the Huskers had not played an overtime game since 2011-12.
  • Nebraska is 10th nationally in average attendance with an average of 15,511 per game. The Huskers are on track to break their single-season attendance average for the second straight year after averaging 15,419 in 2013-14.
  • Nebraska forward Walter Pitchford attended East Lansing (Mich.) Summit Christian Academy as a postgraduate student in 2010-11, averaging 17.4 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game. Pitchford hails from Grand Rapids, Mich., although he spent most of his early childhood in Chicago. This will be his second collegiate game in the state of Michigan, as he had a career-high 18 points at Michigan State last season.
  • Nebraska is now 4-1 since getting backup post players Leslee Smith (torn left ACL) and Moses Abraham (broken right hand) back from injuries on Jan. 8. In those games, NU is holding opponents to 36 percent shooting and just 57.6 points per game.
  • NU has done a much better job with turnovers in recent games, averaging 10.6 turnovers per game in the last nine contests dating back to Dec. 23, after averaging 15.5 turnovers in the first 10 contests. In Big Ten play, the Huskers are tied for third (with Illinois) in the conference at 10.0 turnovers per game, trailing only Wisconsin (6.3) and Michigan (9.5).
  • The Wisconsin game on Jan. 15 was the only time this season where Nebraska did not have a second-half lead. In five of its seven losses, the Huskers have been within one possession in the final two minutes of regulation or in OT, while NU trailed by five points with 2:00 left at Iowa.
  • As juniors Shavon Shields (966) and Terran Petteway (952) climb toward 1,000 career points, it could mark the sixth 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; 1994-95-Erick Strickland and Jaron Boone; 1998-99-Cookie Belcher and Venson Hamilton). Nebraska’s last 1,000-point scorer was Ryan Anderson during the 2009-10 season.
  • Nebraska has had seven double-figure runs during the season, including a 10-0 spurt in overtime against Loyola Marymount on Dec. 22.

Last Time Out
Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields combined for 53 points, as Nebraska built a double-digit lead and withstood a frantic Michigan State comeback in a 79-77 win Saturday afternoon.

The Huskers thrilled a sellout crowd of 15,757 on #AveryStrong Day, as Petteway finished with a season-high 32 points, while Shavon Shields finished with 21 points and seven rebounds. Nebraska shot 49 percent from the floor, and turned in one of its best free throwing shooting efforts, going 29-of-37 from the line in winning for the fourth time in the last five games.

Michigan State, which trailed by as many as 17 points in the second half, cut the lead two points with 2.2 seconds left after a Travis Trice layup, but the Huskers (12-7, 4-3 Big Ten) got the inbounds pass in and ran out the clock for their fourth win in five games.
Trice led Michigan State (13-7, 4-3 Big Ten) with 27 points while Denzel Valentine had 21 points and 11 rebounds.

Notes from the Michigan State Game

  • Nebraska’s win over MSU was its second straight win over the Spartans and first in Lincoln since 1994.
  • Terran Petteway has a season-high 32 points, topping his 27-point effort at Wisconsin on Jan. 15. It was his third 30-point effort of his career. Petteway has now reached double figures in each of his last 30 games dating back to last season.
  • Shavon Shields finished with 21 points, marking the seventh time this season and 12 of his career that he has scored at least 20 points.
  • Saturday marked the fifth time this season that both Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields scored at least 20 points. NU is 4-1 in those games.
  • Tai Webster tied his season high with 13 points off the bench. He also had 13 against Central Arkansas on Nov. 18
  • Leslee Smith, who made his first start of the season and second of his career, had season bests in points (seven), rebounds (seven) and minutes (30). Smith’s 30 minutes were a career high.
  • NU’s 79 points marked the Huskers’ highest scoring game since putting up 80 points on Omaha on Nov. 25.
  • The Huskers set season highs in free throws made (29) and attempted (37).
  • } Nebraska had 17 points off the bench, which was its highest total since Dec. 10.
  • } Michigan State’s 77 points was the highest totaled allowed by the Huskers this season, topping the 74 points by Incarnate Word on Dec. 10. MSU became only the second team to score more than 70 points against the Huskers.

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 36.3 points per game and ranking among the Big Ten’s top five scorers entering Tuesday’s game at Michigan.

  • Only 14 schools in Division I have two players averaging at least 16 points per game, and of those 14, only four are from major conferences (Nebraska, Arkansas’ Michael Qualls & Bobby Portis, LSU’s Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey and Oklahoma State’s Phil Forte and Le’Bryan Nash). Nebraska’s duo is the only power conference duo averaging at least 35 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. Nebraska leads the Big Ten in field goal defense (.380) and 3-point defense (.300) while ranking second in scoring defense (61.4).
The Huskers have been their best since the loss to Incarnate Word on Dec. 10, holding their last nine opponents to a combined 36.4 percent shooting and just 59.0 points per game, a stretch which includes five of the Big Ten’s top six scoring offenses.

NU is now up ninth nationally in defensive efficiency according to KenPom.com entering Tuesday’s game with Michigan.

  • 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).
  • The Husker defense ranks 21st nationally in field goal percentage defense and 34th in 3-point defense entering Tuesday’s game at Michigan.
  • Under Miles, NU is 30-9 over the past three seasons when holding opponents to under 40 percent shooting.
  • Nebraska is 11-2 this season when holding opponents to under a point per possession and 1-5 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 49 points scored by Minnesota on Jan. 20, was not only its lowest total of the season, but 30 points under season scoring average of 78.9 entering the contest. It was also the Gophers’ lowest point total in 31 games, dating back to Feb. 22, 2014.
  • 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).

Petteway Is Among Nation’s Best
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 19.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists per contest. He is second in the Big Ten in scoring and ranks among the Big Ten leaders in 3-pointers per game (seventh) and blocked shots (13th).

  • Petteway is one of only seven players nationally – and one of two from power conference – averaging 19 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in 2014-15. Ohio State freshman is the only other player from a power conference putting up those numbers.
  • Petteway was one of 25 players selected to the Lute Olson Award mid-season watch list earlier last week.
  • Petteway has 10 20-point games in 2014-15, including a season-high 32 points against Michigan State on Saturday. It was his fourth 20-point effort in Big Ten play this season. He now has 22 career games with at least 20 points.
  • Petteway has been in double figures in 30 consecutive games dating back to last year and 49 of 51 career games at Nebraska. That streak is the longest streak for a Husker since 1998 NBA first-round pick (and current Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach) Tyronn Lue posted 36 consecutive double-figure efforts spanning the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons.
  • Petteway’s 19.6 points per game is on pace to be the highest by a Husker since Tyronn Lue averaged 21.2 points per game in 1997-98.
  • He leads the Huskers with two double-doubles in 2014-15 (20 points, 12 rebounds vs. Omaha; 22 points, 10 rebounds vs. Ohio) and has four double-doubles in his NU career.
  • 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.
  • With 952 points over the last two years at Nebraska, his career scoring average of 18.7 points per game is second only to Dave Hoppen (19.5 ppg). Hoppen, who is Nebraka’s all-time leading scorer, is the only Husker to reach 1,000 points in his first two seasons at Nebraska.
  • 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.
  • He was chosen for the Wooden Award Men’s Preseason Top 50 and was the first Husker on the list since Aleks Maric in the 2007-08 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 16.7 points on 47 percent shooting and 6.7 rebounds per game heading into Tuesday’s game at Michigan. He is currently fifth in the Big Ten in scoring, seventh in free throw percentage (.839) and ninth in rebounding.

  • He is one of three players in the Big Ten who ranks in the top 10 in both scoring and rebounding.
  • Shields is one of only 12 players in the country averaging at least 16.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game following entering this week’s action. He is one of only five players from power conferences on the list, joining Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin), Rayvonte Rice (Illinois), Jarell Martin (LSU) and Tyrone Wallace (Cal).
  • Shields has seven 20-point games this season, which already topped his entire career total entering the 2014-15 season, most recently a 21-point effort vs. Michigan State on Saturday. It was his third 20-point effort in Big Ten play, as he had 20 points against Indiana on. Dec. 31 and 25 points at Iowa on Jan. 5.
  • His 35-point effort against Omaha on Nov. 22 is the second-highest total in the Big Ten this season and is 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 Terran 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.
  • Shields also excels off the court, carrying a 3.73 GPA in biology and was a first-team Academic All-District selection in 2014. He was also one of 16 national finalists across all of Division I for the 2014 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award.