Nebraska MBB: Huskers Make First Trek to Maryland on Thursday

sports rotator NU basketball

Posted By: Sports

sports@klkntv.com

Game #26 at Maryland
Date: Thursday, Feb. 19
Time: 6:06 p.m. (CT)
Arena: XFINITY Center
Capacity: 17,950

Nebraska Cornhuskers
2014-15 Record: 13-12, 5-8 Big Ten
Head coach: Tim Miles
Record at Nebraska: 47-43 (Third year)
Career Record: 330-263 (20th year)

Maryland Terrapins
2014-15 Record: 21-5, 9-4 Big Ten
Head coach: Mark Turgeon
Record at Maryland: 80-48 (Fourth year)
Career Record: 330-207 (17th year)

Broadcast Information
Television: BTN
Play-by-play: Dave Revsine
Expert Analysis: Jim Jackson

Online: BTN2GO

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 (Maryland Feed): Sirius (91), XM (91)

Live Stats: Huskers.com

Huskers Make First Trek to Maryland on Thursday

Two of the Big Ten’s newest members meet for the first time Thursday evening, as Nebraska travels to No. 16/15 (AP/Coaches) Maryland.

Tipoff from the XFINITY Center is set for 6:06 p.m. (central) and the contest will be televised nationally on BTN with Dave Revsine and Jim Jackson on the call. Thursday’s game is also available online and on mobile devices on BTN2Go.

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 (13-12, 5-8 Big Ten) battled at Purdue before succumbing 66-54. Nebraska held the Boilermakers to 39 percent shooting, but struggled on the boards, as a 44-29 deficit on the glass led to Purdue scoring 23 second-chance points – only the third time the Huskers allowed at least 15 second-chance points this season. Purdue also got to the foul line 30 times, compared to nine for the Huskers, as NU remained winless on the road in Big Ten play.

One positive from Sunday’s loss was the play of junior forward Walter Pitchford, as the junior had 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the floor. Pitchford has been in double figures twice in the last four contests after reaching the mark once in NU’s first nine Big Ten outings.

Pitchford joined juniors Shavon Shields (19 points) and Terran Petteway (13) to give the Huskers a trio of double-figure efforts against the Boilermakers. Shields had 15 of his 19 points in the second half, as the Huskers shot 50 percent in the second half against the Big Ten’s best field goal defense.

Shields, a 6-foot-7 junior, has been in double figures in each of the last eight contests and could match the longest streak of double-figure efforts in his career on Thursday.
Maryland (21-5, 9-4 Big Ten) are tied with Purdue for second in the conference standings heading into the final three weeks of the season. The Terrapins feature one of the best freshmen in the country in point guard Melo Trimble, who averages 15.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. In addition, Dez Wells and Jake Layman key a Maryland team which is 15-1 at home this season with the only loss coming to Virginia, which is ranked second in this week’s poll, in December.

Numbers 2 Know
.762 – Nebraska is hitting 76.2 percent from the foul line in the last seven games after hitting just 65.4 during its first six Big Ten games. The bad news is the Huskers are averaging just 15 attempts from the line in that stretch.

1994-95 – The last time that Nebraska had two players average more than 15.0 points per game in a season (Jaron Boone, 17.5; Erick Strickland, 16.3). That is the only time in the last 30 years that Nebraska has had two players average 15 points per game in the same season.

13 – Nebraska has now held its last 13 opponents under 70 points on the road, which is the second-longest streak in the country, dating back to last season. In fact, NU has not allowed more than 70 points away from home in 2014-15.

13 – The Huskers have held 13 opponents under 40 percent shooting, including six in Big Ten action.

Scouting Maryland
Maryland has put together an impressive first season in the Big Ten for Mark Turgeon, as they enter Thursday’s game with a 21-5 record and are tied for second in the conference with a 9-2 mark. The game against Nebraska begins a three-game homestand for Maryland, as the Terrapins will face No. 5 Wisconsin and Michigan before hitting the road for the final two games of the regular season. Maryland has been tough at home, going 15-1 on the season, with the only loss being a 76-65 loss to No. 2 Virginia in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Terrapins have had their share of close games at home, as their last three home games have been decided by a total of nine points.

Turgeon is a familiar face for long-time Husker fans, as he played at Kansas from 1984 to 1987 for Larry Brown and also served as an assistant at KU from 1987 to 1992. He served as a head coach at Jacksonville State, Wichita State and Texas A&M before taking the Maryland job prior to the 2011-12 season.

Maryland, which averages 70.8 points per game, feature a trio of double figure scorers in freshman guard Melo Trimble, senior guard Dez Wells and junior forward Jake Layman. The Terrapins rank second nationally in free throws made, as Trimble leads the Big Ten and ranks fifth nationally with 157 free throws, while ranking eighth in the Big Ten at 15.7 points per game. Wells provides a veteran presence who averaged 14.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game while Layman is at 13.5 points per game. The Terrapins stretch defenses to the 3-point line, ranking second in the Big Ten with 197 3-pointers while shooting 38 percent from beyond the arc.

Nebraska-Maryland Series History
Thursday’s meeting is the first-ever meeting between the teams, as the teams will meet in Lincoln on the final day of the regular season. The Huskers do have some history with Mark Turgeon, going 2-3 against him when he served as head coach at Texas A&M from 2007-08 to 2010-11. Both of NU’s wins came over a ranked Texas A&M team with a 65-59 win over the No. 22 Aggies in College Station in 2008 and a 57-48 victory in Lincoln over No. 13 Texas A&M in 2011.

Last Time Out

Despite a game-high 19 points from junior forward Shavon Shields, Nebraska was unable to get its first Big Ten road win of the season, as the Huskers fell at Purdue, 66-54, Sunday evening.

Shields hit 7-of-13 shots from the field to lead three Huskers in double figures, as Nebraska fell to 13-12 on the season and 5-8 in Big Ten play.

Terran Petteway and Walter Pitchford added 13 and 12 points, respectively, as a lapse early in the second half prove costly.

Vince Edwards led Purdue (17-9, 9-4) with 15 points to lead three Boilermakers in double figures. Kendall Stephens came off the bench for 12 points, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range while Dakota Mathias had all 10 of his points in the second half, as Purdue shot 50 percent in the second half, including 5-of-10 from 3-point range.

The Huskers were hurt on the boards, as Purdue enjoyed a 44-29 advantage on the glass, while 18 offensive boards led to 23 Purdue points, including all seven in a run after Nebraska cut a 16-point deficit to 49-38. Purdue also got to the foul line 30 times, compared to just nine for the Huskers.

Notes from the Purdue Game

  • Nebraska falls to 0-6 all-time at Purdue, including 0-3 since joining the Big Ten.
  • Nebraska held Purdue to 38.5 percent shooting, the sixth Big Ten opponent under 50 percent.
  • Shavon Shields totaled 19 points, his highest total since scoring 21 points against Michigan State on Jan. 24.
  • Nebraska’s 54 points was the Huskers’ highest point total away from home since Jan. 15.
  • Nebraska had three players (Shavon Shields, Terran Petteway and Walter Pitchford) finish in double figures, the fourth time in Big Ten play the Huskers had three or more players reach double figures in a game.

Worth Noting

  • Terran Petteway has played his best against ranked teams, averaging 19.5 points and .5.7 rebounds per game in 10 games against ranked opponents. This year, he is averaging 25.0 ppg in two games against Wisconsin, which is fifth in this week’s poll.
  • Nebraska looks to snap a four-game losing streak against ranked opponents dating back to last season.
  • Nebraska has plenty of opportunities for big wins down the stretch, as its remaining schedule is the seventh-toughest in the country and the toughest in the Big Ten. Wisconsin (12th) and Michigan State (18th) are the only other schools in the top 20 for toughest remaining schedule (as of Feb. 16). NU’s remaining regular-season opponents are a combined 71-30 (.703) and all five games (Maryland-2x, Iowa, Ohio State and Illinois) are against teams in the top 55 of the RPI.
  • While Thursday’s matchup is the first between the two schools, Maryland coach Mark Turgeon has several ties to Lincoln. His father, Bob, currently lives in Lincoln while his niece is Nebraska women’s basketball signee Maddie Simon, who is a senior at Lincoln Pius X High School. The Girls State Basketball Championship is set for March 8 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, the day before Maryland faces the Huskers in Lincoln.
  • One key will be the 3-point line, as Nebraska is third in the Big Ten in 3-point field goal defense (.317) while Maryland is fifth in the conference in 3-point shooting (37.5 percent). In Big Ten play, Maryland is second in the conference with 7.9 3-pointers per game.
  • Nebraska assistant coach Kenya Hunter faced Maryland once during his tenure as an assistant coach at Georgetown, a 75-58 win on Nov. 30, 2008, which was the last meeting between the programs.
  • Terran Petteway (1,046) and Shavon Shields (1,045) rank 26th and 27th, respectively, on Nebraska’s career scoring list and are within striking distance of 25th (1,056; Herschell Turner, 1958-60).
  • With 483 rebounds, Shields is only 17 boards away from 500 for his career and would become only the 14th player with 1,000 points and 500 career rebounds.
  • Petteway enters the week needing only 33 points to reach the 500-point plateau for the second straight year. Only six Huskers (Dave Hoppen, Eric Piatkowski, Jerry Fort, Aleks Maric, Erick Strickland and Tyronn Lue) have posted back-to-back 500-point seasons.
  • Nebraska has been better with the basketball in Big Ten play, averaging just 10.8 turnovers per game after averaging 15.0 in non-conference play. In Big Ten play, NU is fourth in turnover margin at +1.4 per game. NU has had 10 or fewer turnovers in Big Ten play in eight of 13 games.
  • The Huskers are 5-2 in Big Ten play when shooting over 40 percent from the field, but are winless when shooting at or below that percentage.
  • Nebraska had two players reach 1,000 points at Nebraska earlier this month in Shavon Shields (vs. Northwestern) and Terran Petteway (at Penn State). It marked the first time since the 1998-99 season (Cookie Belcher and Venson Hamilton) that two Huskers have reached 1,000 points in the same season. The other seasons are 1967-68 (Stuart Lantz and Tom Baack), 1978-79 (Carl McPipe and Brian Banks), 1990-91 (Rich King and Clifford Scales) and 1994-95 (Erick Strickland and Jaron Boone).
  • Nebraska is 10th nationally in average attendance with an average of 15,522 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.
  • The Huskers have enjoyed a second-half lead in six of their 12 losses and were within one possession in the final two minutes of regulation or overtime in five of those contests.
  • Nebraska has had nine double-figure runs during the season, including a 17-0 spurt against Northwestern on Feb. 3.
  • Sophomore Tai Webster has emerged as a solid scoring option off the bench in recent games, averaging 5.8 points per game in his last six reserve appearances dating back to Jan. 24 (He started vs. Michigan on Jan. 27). Webster had scored just three points in NU’s first six Big Ten games.

Legends Weekend Set for Sunday
The Nebraska basketball program will honor one of its most colorful personalities for its annual Legends Weekend game against Iowa this Sunday.

Legends Weekend has quickly become a popular event on the schedule, as nearly 50 former players have signed up for the 2015 event. The weekend’s activities include a team reception with the Husker coaches and staff on Saturday night, halftime recognition during the Iowa game as well as opportunities to watch the Huskers practice and interact with the current Husker team.

In addition, the Huskers have partnered with adidas on a special jersey to wear for the occasion.

This year’s event will celebrate the career of Jerry Bush, who guided the Husker basketball program from the 1954-55 season to the 1962-63 campaign. Bush was affectionately known as the “Big Bear of the Coliseum” for his colorful personality and uncanny ability to fashion upsets during his nine seasons at Nebraska.

Bush, who was chosen to the Nebraska Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991, guided Nebraska to several memorable wins in his tenure, including wins over No. 3 Kansas and No. 1 Kansas State in consecutive games during the 1957-58 season. The 43-41 win over the Wilt Chamberlain-led Kansas squad came on Jim Kubacki’s jumper with two seconds left, while the 55-48 triumph over a Bob Boozer-led Kansas State squad marked the Huskers’ first-ever win over a No. 1 team on the hardwood.

Bush coached All-American Herschell Turner, who earned first-team All-Big Eight honors in 1960 and became the first Husker to score 1,000 career points. In addition, Bush’s tenure also featured Rex Ekwall, who is still Nebraska’s rebounding leader, as he averaged 10.4 rebounds per game during his three seasons (1955-57) in the program. In all, nine of his former players have joined Bush in the Nebraska Basketball Hall of Fame.

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 in 2014-15, combining for 34.6 points per game and ranking among the Big Ten’s top seven scorers entering Thursday’s game at Maryland.

  • They are the Big Ten’s top scoring duo, just ahead of Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell and James Blackmon Jr. (32.2 ppg).
  • It could be the first time since 1994-95 that Nebraska has had two players average more than 15 points per game in a season.
  • According to Stats Inc., the pair is threatening to become the first Big Ten duo to average 16.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game since Michigan’s Juwan Howard and Jalen Rose in 1993-94.
  • In Nebraska’s 119-year history, only five duos have combined to average more than 35 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 is currently third in the Big Ten in scoring defense (61.3) and field goal defense (.391). In Big Ten action, the Huskers are second in scoring defense (61.0) and is third in field goal defense (.401).

  • NU is 11th nationally and first in the Big Ten in defensive efficiency according to KenPom.com entering Thursday’s game at Maryland.
  • Nebraska’s field goal defense is on pace to be one of the best in recent history. 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 30-10 over the past three seasons when holding opponents to under 40 percent shooting.
  • Nebraska is 11-3 this season when holding opponents to under a point per possession and 2-9 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 their 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).
  • In Tuesday’s loss to fifth-ranked Wisconsin, the Huskers held Wisconsin to 39.1 percent shooting, marking only the third time they had been held to under 40 percent shooting all season.

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 in 2014-15. The 6-foot-6 junior has raised his numbers across the board, as he averages 18.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists per contest. He is third in the Big Ten in scoring and ranks among the Big Ten leaders in 3-pointers per game (seventh) and blocked shots (14th).

  • Petteway is one of only nine players nationally – and one of three from a power conference – averaging 18 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in 2014-15.
  • Petteway’s 18.7 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.
  • Petteway has 12 20-point games in 2014-15, including a season-high 32 points against Michigan State on Jan. 26, and 24 20-point games for his career. He has five 20-point efforts in Big Ten play, most recently against No. 5 Wisconsin on Feb. 10.
  • Petteway has been in double figures in 54 of 57 games as a Husker, including 29 of 31 Big Ten games in that span.
  • Petteway was one of 25 players selected to the Lute Olson Award mid-season watch list last month.
  • Petteway saw his streak of double-figure games reach 30 before it was snapped at Michigan on Jan. 22. It was the longest streak by 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.
  • He went over 1,000 points at Nebraska at Penn State on Feb. 7, reaching the plateau in just 55 games. Petteway was the fastest Husker to reach 1,000 points at Nebraska, eclipsing the previous mark of 58 games by Dave Hoppen. Petteway and Hoppen are the only Huskers to reach 1,000 points in their second season at Nebraska.
  • Petteway’s career scoring average of 18.4 points per game at NU is second only to Dave Hoppen (19.5 ppg).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Petteway is bidding to become the first Husker to earn All-America honors since Carl McPipe during the 1977-78 season.

Throughout the season Petteway has been dealing with the health of his mother Joetta, who has been battling a rare form of bone cancer (follicular dendritic cell sarcoma). Terran talked to the team and the media about her ongoing battle late last week before the Purdue game.

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, becoming 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
Shavon Shields may have been one 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 15.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game, ranking seventh in scoring and free throw percentage (.827) and 11th in rebounding.

  • Shields is one of only 21 players in the country – including four from power conferences – averaging at least 15.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.
  • He has been in double figures in 22 of 25 contests this season, which already topped his entire 2013-14 total of double-figure games.
  • 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 Jan. 24. 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 showed a well-rounded game against Northwestern with 11 points and a career-high eight assists.
  • Shields also excels off the court, carrying a 3.73 GPA in biological sciences and is a two-time first-team Academic All-District selection (2014-15). He was also one of 16 national finalists across all of Division I for the 2014 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award.
  • Despite the loss at Minnesota, Jan. 31 was a memorable day for Shields, as his father, Will, was chosen to be a member of the Class of 2015 for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The elder Shields will become the third Husker (joining Bob Brown and Guy Chamberlain) to be in both the Pro Football and College Football Hall of Fames when he is enshrined in August.

Pitchford Poses Problems for Opponents
Walter Pitchford gives the Huskers an intriguing matchup at center, as the 6-foot-10, 237-pounder is a skilled shooter who hit 41 percent from 3-point range in 2013-14. An outstanding athlete with a 42-inch vertical leap, Pitchford played some of his best basketball of the season over the Huskers’ second-half surge in 2013-14, averaging 11.0 points per game on 53 percent shooting over the last 14 games.

This season, Pitchford is averaging 7.0 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, ranking third on the team in both scoring and rebounding. He has been in double figures seven times this season, including a career-high 19 points, including six 3-pointers, against Tennessee-Martin on Nov. 28. He enjoyed a solid performance in Nebraska’s win over Northwestern on Feb. 3 with 14 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, and had 12 points in Sunday’s loss at Purdue. He played his most complete game of the year against Cincinnati on Dec. 13 with nine points and 10 rebounds, while playing 48 minutes – the most minutes in a game by a Husker in more than a decade.

  • Nebraska is 11-3 over the last two seasons when Pitchford scores at least 12 points, including 2-1 this season.
  • Pitchford has three double-doubles in his career, most recently a 10-point, 10-carom effort at Hawaii on Dec. 22.
  • He has reached double figures in rebounds three times, including a season-high 11 vs. Minnesota on Jan. 20.