Nebraska MBB: Huskers Return Home to Face Delaware State

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Huskers Return Home to Face Delaware State

NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS
2015-16 Record: 1-1
Head coach: Tim Miles
Record at Nebraska: 48-50 (4th year)
Career Record: 331-270 (21st year)

DELAWARE STATE HORNETS
2015-16 Record: 0-2
Head coach: Keith Walker
Record at DSU: 23-26 (2nd year)
Career Record: 114-128 (10th year)

BROADCAST INFO
Television: None
Online: BTN Plus (subscription required)
Announcers: Michael Snow and Stephen Hough
Radio: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network, including KLIN (1400 AM) in Lincoln, KXSP (590 AM) in Omaha and KRVN (880 AM) in Lexington.
Play-by-play: Kent Pavelka
Expert Analysis: Matt Davison
Also available online at Huskers.com, on the Huskers App and on TuneIn Radio and the TuneIn Radio App.

The Nebraska basketball team looks to have a short memory, as the Huskers return to action Thursday night to take on Delaware State. Tipoff at Pinnacle Bank Arena is set for 7 p.m. and a limited number of tickets are available by visiting Huskers.com, calling 800-8-BIGRED during business hours or at the Pinnacle Bank Arena box office beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The Huskers are 1-1 on the season and look to bounce back from an 87-63 loss at the hands of No. 11 Villanova Tuesday night at the Gavitt Tipoff Games. In that game, Nebraska led 23-16 midway thru the first half before going into an extended scoring drought for more than seven minutes, allowing the Wildcats to take control. At times, the Huskers were their own worst enemy, as 22 turnovers led directly to 33 Villanova points, and the Huskers shot just 38 percent from the field.

Despite the loss to the Wildcats, there were several bright spots for the Huskers. Junior transfer Andrew White III led the Huskers with 18 points, matching his career high for the second straight game, and added six rebounds. He is ninth in the Big Ten in scoring entering Thursday’s action. Freshman Glynn Watson Jr. had 12 points and a pair of assists off the bench, while Shavon Shields nearly had a double-double with 12 and eight boards. In all, the Huskers enjoyed a 40-33 advantage on the board and got 22 second-chance points at Villanova.

Delaware State (0-2) visits Lincoln looking for its first win of the season. The Hornets have been in close in both of their losses, dropping a pair of six-point losses to Delaware (62-65) and Penn (60-54). The Hornets, who reached the CBI in 2015, have been solid defensively, allowing 61 points per game and holding teams to 40 percent shooting. Devin Morgan and DeAndre Haywood lead a 10-player rotation in scoring, averaging 11.0 points and 10.0 points per game, respectively, for Coach Keith Walker.

Thursday is first of three straight home games, as Nebraska begins action in the Barclays Classic this weekend. The Huskers will face Southeastern Louisiana Sunday at 6:30 p.m. before hosting Arkansas Pine Bluff Tuesday at 7 p.m.

NUMBERS TO KNOW

5 – Nebraska has had five players (Andrew White, Nick Fuller, Glynn Watson Jr., Shavon Shields and Jack McVeigh) reach double figures in the first two contests.

1,153 – Shavon Shields career point total, which ranks 19th in school history. Shields passed Terran Petteway (1,143) and Brian Banks (1,150) in Tuesday’s loss. Shields ranks third among active Big Ten players in scoring and fourth in rebounding,

+8.0 – Nebraska’s rebounding margin so far in 2015-16. The Huskers have out-rebounded both of their foes this season.

22 – Nebraska’s turnovers in Tuesday’s loss, matching the highest total at Nebraska under Tim Miles (vs. Cincinnati, 12/13/14).

43.5 – Nebraska is averaging 43.5 points per game from its bench during the first two game.

46 – The 46-point margin of victory over Mississippi Valley State on Saturday was the 12th-largest in school history and largest by Nebraska since the 2005-06 season.

.788 – Nebraska is 26-7 at Pinnacle Bank Arena since the facility opened in the fall of 2013, including a 13-2 mark against non-conference opponents.

PREVIEWING DELAWARE STATE
Delaware State makes its first road trip of the season and is 0-2 on the season following a 60-54 loss to Penn Tuesday night.

Delaware State went 18-18, reached the title game of the MEAC Tournament and played in the CBI in 2014-15. The Hornets had to replace four starters from that team, including Kendall Gray, who was the MEAC Player of the Year, and Amere May, who led the MEAC in scoring at 21.2 points per game. Second-year coach Keith Walker returns seven letterwinners and just one starter. DeAndre Haywood is the team’s most experienced player, as he started 19 games and averaged 6.3 points per game in 2014-15. With a young team, the Hornets played 13 players in the 62-56 loss to Delaware in the season opener and were led by Devin Morgan’s 10 points. Against Penn on Tuesday, Haywood came off the bench and led DSU with 13 points and five rebounds, while Morgan finished with 12 points and four assists.

Series history: Nebraska leads the all-time series, 3-0, although the teams have not met since the Huskers’ 68-39 victory on Dec. 8, 2003.

LAST TIME OUT
Villanova used with a 22-0 first-half run to erase a seven-point deficit, as Nebraska suffered its first loss of the season, falling to the No. 11 Wildcats, 87-63, at the Pavilion Tuesday night in the inaugural Gavitt Tipoff Games.

The Huskers led 23-16 midway through the half, but the Wildcats took control over the final seven minutes and posted a 24-point win.

Josh Hart led four Wildcats in double figures with 19 points, while Daniel Ochefu added 17 points and 10 boards for the victors. Villanova also took advantage of 22 Husker turnovers, leading directly to 33 Wildcat points.

Andrew White III led NU with 18 points and six rebounds, while Shavon Shields and Glynn Watson Jr. added 12 points apiece in a losing effort.

In the first half, the Huskers withstood the early punch, as Villanova raced out to a 7-0 lead in the opening three minutes. Nebraska, behind 3-point shooting from Benny Parker and Andrew White III, roared back with a 9-2 run of its own. NU tied the score at 14-all after a Shields’ 3-pointer with 12:04 left in the half before using a sustained run to silence the sellout crowd of 6,500. Ed Morrow Jr. helped key the Husker effort, using a 9-2 spurt to build a 23-16 lead. Morrow’s second basket started a 7-0 run for the visitors as a convention 3-point play from Shields and a driving basket from White put the Huskers up 23-16.

NU, which shot 32 percent in the half, then went into an extended drought, going over seven minutes without a point, as Villanova took control. Daniel Ochefu, Ryan Arcidiacono and Ryan Hart combined for 18 points in a 22-0 spurt that allowed the hosts to build a 38-25 halftime advantage.

In the second half, Nebraska cut the deficit to 15, at 53-38 after a Watson jumper with 11:52 left, but would get no closer, as the Wildcats went on a 13-0 run to extend the lead to 28. Villanova shot 56 percent from the field in the second half in posting its 28th straight home win.

NEWCOMERS SHOWING SCORING PUNCH
With the departure of three starters who are playing professionally, including two in the NBA D-League (Terran Petteway and Walter Pitchford), the biggest question was who could fill the scoring void for the Huskers, especially Petteway’s team-high 18.1 ppg.

Nebraska’s class of newcomers have shown the ability to provide offense in the early going. In fact, five of NU’s top six scorers are players in their first year of competition as a Husker.
In the opener, the Huskers placed four players in double figures, a feat which happened only once during the 2014-15 season. NU had three players reach double figures in Tuesday’s loss
Junior Andrew White III has shown early that he could be a go-to scorer for the Big Red. The 6-foot-7 wing has had 18 points in each of NU’s first two games. White has given the Huskers a strong outside game, as he is second in the Big Ten in 3-pointers per game and 12th in 3-point percentage. Against Villanova, White had 18 points and matched his career high with six rebounds. Against Mississippi Valley State, White was efficient, hitting 7-of-10 shots from the field, including four 3-pointers, in just 16 minutes of action. It was the most points by a Husker making his debut since Andre Almeida had 20 points in his debut at the start of the 2010-11 season.

NU’s freshman class has played a significant role early on. Jack McVeigh came off the bench and totaled 16 points, including 4-of-4 from 3-point range, in just 13 minutes of action against MVSU. His 16 point effort was the highest total by a true freshman since Joe McCray had 23 points in his collegiate debut in 2004 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Against Villanova, Glynn Watson Jr. had 12 points, while McVeigh and Ed Morrow Jr. combined for 11 points and nine rebounds.

SHIELDS GIVES HUSKERS 1,000-POINT SCORER
For the first time since 2007, Nebraska returns a 1,000-point scorer to the lineup, as Shavon Shields now has 1,153 points to rank 19th on NU’s career scoring list. Shields’ return marked the first since since 2007-08 – and ninth time in school history – that Nebraska had a returning 1,000-point scorer.

Shields enters Thursday’s game with Delaware State averaging 12.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.50 asists per game. He had 12 points, eight rebounds and two assists in Tuesday’s loss at No. 11 Villanova.

He may have been one of the most underrated players in the Big Ten in 2014-15, as the 6-foot-7 wing averaged 15.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. He led NU in rebounding for the second straight year and was second on the team in both scoring and assists. He ranked among the Big Ten leaders in scoring (ninth), rebounding (14th) and free throw percentage (.827, fifth).

  • Shields was one of only three players from a power conference to average 15.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game in 2014-15, joining National Player of the Year Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin) and Tyrone Wallace (Cal).
  • Shields has 56 career games in double figures, including 14 career 20-point performances and a pair of 30-point efforts. He scored a career-high 35 against Omaha (11/25/14) and had 33 points against Illinois (2/14/14). Shields is one of just 14 players in school history with multiple 30-point games
  • Shields is just the second player in school history to be a three-year captain and is a returning first-team Academic All-American. In 2014, he was also one of 16 national finalists across all of Division I athletics for the 2014 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award.
  • Shavon is also a nominee for the Senior Class Award and the NABC Good Works Team nd is active in the community. That should be no surprise as his father, Will, is a former NFL Man of the Year for his efforts in the Kansas City Community. The elder Shields was enshrined into the NFL Hall of Fame last August and was already a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

HANGING THEIR HAT ON DEFENSE
One of the keys to Nebraska’s success over last two seasons has been an emphasis on improved defense. In 2013-14, NU’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. Last year, it was the Huskers’ defense that kept the team in nearly every game despite an offense which struggled for consistency.

  • NU finished the 2014-15 season 24th nationally in defensive efficiency according to KenPom.com, marking the second straight year that Nebraska has had a top-25 defense.
  • Nebraska’s field goal defense was one of its best in recent memory, as the Huskers held opponents to 40.4 percent shooting, which is the fifth-lowest total by a Husker defense in the 3-point era (since 1986-87).
  • Nebraska allowed only one team to shoot over 50 percent in 2014-15.
  • Lost in the offensive performance was that Nebraska held MVSU to just 25.9 percent, which is the lowest by any Husker opponent since Grambling shot 25.0 percent on Dec. 21, 2010.
  • Under Miles, NU is 31-10 over the past four seasons when holding opponents to under 40 percent shooting.

YOUTH MOVEMENT
With only five returning players who saw time for the Huskers last year, Nebraska is one of the youngest teams in the country in 2015-16. Nebraska’s 10 newcomers, which includes Andrew White III, who did not play last year, tie for third most nationally. The Huskers also have seven freshmen, which ties for fourth nationally. Of the nine programs with seven or more freshmen, three (Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin) are in the Big Ten.