Nebraska MBB: Huskers Travel to Penn State Thursday
Posted By: Sports
Game #18 at Penn State
Game Date Jan. 23, 2014
Tipoff Time 7:02 p.m. (CT)
Venue Bryce Jordan Center
2013-14 Record: 9-8, 1-4 Big Ten
Head coach: Tim Miles
Record at Nebraska: 24-26 (2nd year)
Career Record: 307-246 (19th year)
Penn State Nittany Lions
2013-14 Record: 9-10, 0-6 Big Ten
Head Coach: Patrick Chambers
Record at Penn State: 31-51 (3rd year)
Career Record: 73-79 (5th year)
Huskers on TV/Radio/Internet
(DirecTV Ch. 208, Dish Ch. 141, Ch. 235 on Time Warner Cable; Ch. 220 on Cox Cable)
Play by Play: Adam Amin
Expert Analysis: Brooke Weisbrod
Online: WatchESPN app on android and iOS devices
Radio: 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
Expert Analysis: Matt Davison
Internet Radio/Stats: Free on Huskers.com
Satellite Radio (PSU feed): Sirius Ch. 108, XM Ch. 190
Huskers Travel to Penn State Thursday
The Nebraska basketball team looks to build off a win over No. 17 Ohio State on Thursday night, as the Huskers travel to Penn State.
Tipoff is set for 7:02 p.m. (CT) and the game will be carried nationally on ESPNU (DirecTV Ch. 208, Dish Ch. 141, Ch. 235 on Time Warner Cable; Ch. 220 on Cox Cable) with Adam Amin and Brooke Weisbrod on the call. The game will also be available on the WatchESPN app for iOS or android devices.
Thursday's game will also be carried across the state on the 27-station Husker Sports Network with Kent Pavelka and Matt Davison calling all of the action, including flagship stations KLIN (1400 AM/94.5 FM) in Lincoln and KFAB (1110 AM) in Omaha (complete list of affiliates is on page five of the game notes). The game can also be heard on Huskers.com and is available on the Huskers' app on iOS or android devices, as well as Sirius and XM Radio.
The Huskers (9-8, 1-4 B1G) came through with a strong performance against the Buckeyes, shooting 50 percent from the field against an Ohio State team which was seventh nationally in scoring defense and 22nd nationally in field goal defense. The Huskers, who picked up their first win over a ranked opponent in two years, became only the second team to shoot 50 percent against the Buckeyes this season. Nebraska also did a strong job on the glass, out-rebounding Ohio State, 33-27 and forced 13 turnovers which led to 21 Husker points.
For the Huskers, sophomore Shavon Shields enjoyed a breakout game, as he had been bothered by a knee bruise suffered earlier in the month. The 6-foot-7 sophomore had 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting, and nine rebounds against the Buckeyes to lead three Huskers in double figures. Fellow sophomore Terran Petteway had 18 points and five rebounds, while Deverell Biggs came off the bench with 11 points and three assists.
Petteway leads three Huskers in double figures at 17.4 points per game to rank fifth in the Big Ten in scoring. The sophomore has reached double figures in 16 of 17 games, including each of the last 14 contests. Of Nebraska's seven top scorers, only Shields (11.4 ppg) and senior Ray Gallegos (7.9 ppg) were in the rotation last season.
Penn State (9-10, 0-6 B1G) comes into Thursday's game looking to snap a six-game losing streak following an excruciating 65-64 loss at Purdue on Saturday. PSU had a three-point lead with 16 seconds left, only to see the Boilermakers rally for the win. It is one of three conference losses by three points or less over the last four contests.
By the Numbers
3 – The Huskers are looking for their third straight win over Penn State. The last time NU beat a conference foe three straight times was a four-game win streak over Texas Tech between 2007 and 2010. Nebraska and Texas Tech played only once a year in the Big 12's scheduling at that time.
5 – The Huskers are 5-0 under Tim Miles on ESPNU over the last two seasons, including a 60-49 win over Miami on Dec. 4.
50% – The Huskers have shot 50 percent or better from the floor in two of the last three games (Michigan, Ohio State). The Huskers shot just 50 percent in two of the first 14 games of the season.
14 – Consecutive games that Terran Petteway has scored double figures heading into Thursday's game at Penn State. It is the longest streak since Aleks Maric had 14 consecutive games in double figures in 2007-08.
Scouting Penn State
Penn State comes into Thursday's game looking to snap a six-game losing streak. PSU opened the season with wins in five of its first seven games, including an overtime win against St. John's, but has stuggled since Big Ten play began. Penn State is just 9-10 on the season, but five of the 10 losses have been by three points or less. PSU has had chances in each of his last two home games before losing against Minnesota and Indiana.
Third-year coach Pat Chambers has one of the best backcourts in the Big Ten with the return of senior Tim Frazier and junior D.J. Newbill. Frazier, a first-team All-Big Ten pick in 2011-12, returned after missing most of last season with an achilles injury. He is averaging 16.8 points, a Big Ten-leading 5.2 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game. Newbill leads Penn State in scoring at 17.3 ppg while averaging 5.4 rebounds per contest. Ross Travis has been a solid post presence for the Nittany Lions averaging 10.7 points and a team-high 7.7 rebounds per game to rank fourth in he Big Ten.
Nebraska-Penn State Series History
Thursday's game is only the eighth meeting between the Huskers and Nittany Lions – the two most recent members of the Big Ten – and Nebraska has won three of the four matchups since joining the conference prior to the 2011-12 season.
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.
Nebraska posted its first-ever Big Ten win with a 70-58 victory in Lincoln on Jan. 11, 2012, and then swept the season series in 2012-13. In last year's win in State College, Shavon Shields scored a career-high 29 points to lead the Huskers to a 68-64 win. 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.
In the game in Lincoln, Dylan Talley had 16 points and seven rebounds to lead three Huskers in double figures, while Nebraska held Penn State to just 29.2 percent shooting in the 14-point win. The Huskers made a living at the foul line, setting season bests in free throws made (32) and attempted (41), while their 32 free throws was its highest total since 2005.
Last Time Out
Behind 18 points and nine rebounds from Shavon Shields, Nebraska snapped a five-game losing streak and handed Tim Miles his first win over a ranked opponent, as the Huskers topped No. 17 Ohio State, 68-62, Monday evening in front of a sellout crowd of 15,342 at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Shields was one of three Huskers in double figures, as Nebraska shot 50 percent against one of the nation's best defensive teams and snapped a 15-game losing streak against ranked foes dating back over two years, Sophomore Terran Petteway had 18 points, including 13 in the second half, while Deverell Biggs continued his strong play off the bench with 11 points, four rebounds and three assists.
The Huskers built a 14-point first half lead before Ohio State roared back with an 18-2 surge over a seven-minute span to take a 38-36 lead. The Buckeyes led 46-45 before Biggs made one of the biggest plays of the game, stripping All-Big Ten guard Aaron Craft and getting the layup to put the Huskers ahead for good.
Nebraska led 51-49 after a pair of Craft free throws with 2:08 left, but Petteway led the Huskers on a 10-2 spurt, scoring six points as Nebraska pushed the lead to 61-51 after a pair of free throws from David Rivers with 1:02 left.
Nebraska salted the game away down the stretch, hitting 17-of-20 free throws in the final four minutes to preserve the upset over Ohio State, and hand the Buckeyes their first four-game losing streak since the 2007-08 season.
Aaron Craft led Ohio State with 12 points and seven rebounds to led three Buckeyes in double figures. NU held LaQuinton Ross to just 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting, as OSU shot just 40 percent and were out-rebounded 33-27.
The Huskers may have played some of its best basketball of the year in the first half, shooting 56 percent and taking a 34-25 lead to the locker room. Shields, Biggs and Leslee Smith did most of the damage, combining for 22 points, as Nebraska out-scored the Buckeyes 26-6 in the paint in the opening 20 minutes.
Biggs and Shields led the Huskers on a 13-0 blitz, as the Huskers turned a 21-20 lead into a 34-20 cushion after a Smith steal and layup with 2:21 left in the half.
*- Nebraska looks for its first true road win of the season. The Huskers are 0-5 in road games, including losses at nationally ranked Iowa, Creighton, Cincinnati and Ohio State, as well as Purdue.
*- Nebraska looks for their third straight win against Penn State, which would be the longest against a conference foe since beating Texas Tech four straight times between 2007 and 2010.
*- The Huskers will look for their first winning streak in Big Ten play. The last time the Huskers strung together consecutive conference wins was a three-game streak in 2010-11.
*- Terran Petteway has scored in double figures in each of the last 14 games, and if he reaches double figures on Thursday, it will be the longest streak since Aleks Maric in 2006-07 and 2007-08.
*- The Huskers are in the middle of the stretch with three games in seven days beginning with Monday's win over Ohio State.
*- Nebraska has been a much better rebounding team in Big Ten action, posting a +1.8 advantage on the glass in conference play after being out-rebounded by 2.0 before conference play.
*- Deverell Biggs has reached double figures in four of his last five contests. Prior to missing the Cincinnati game, he had been in double figures just three times in NU's first 11 contests.
*- Ray Gallegos is nine points away from reaching 700 career points and 26 points away from cracking the top-60 career scoring list at Nebraska. Gallegos also is 10 3-pointers away from moving into seventh place on NU's career 3-point list (145, Tyronn Lue).
Quick Look at Nebraska
As second-year coach Tim Miles continues his rebuilding process at Nebraska, the Huskers' roster is starting to take shape. Only two of the 12 players on scholarship have been at NU longer than two seasons (Ray Gallegos and David Rivers), while Gallegos is the only scholarship senior on the 2013-14 roster.
This season, Nebraska is picked 12th in the preseason poll of writers with a roster which is 293rd (of 351 teams) in experience according to KenPom.com. Five of NU's eight primary rotation players are in their first year of competition at Nebraska, although three of the newcomers (Pitchford-Florida; Smith-SMU; Petteway-Texas Tech) have previous Division I experience.
*- Nebraska enters the game at No. 71 in the RPI with a schedule ranked 16th nationally. According to RealtimeRPI, it is the second-toughest schedule in the conference, trailing only Wisconsin (No. 2).
*- Of Nebraska's eight losses, six are to teams ranked in either the AP or coaches poll this week (OSU, Iowa, UMass, Cincinnati, Michigan and Creighton).
*- Entering this week's action, Nebraska has played eight games at road or neutral sites – the most of any B1G school – and is the only Big Ten team to play three of its first four conference games on the road.
*- Nebraska's youth has been evident so far in Big Ten play, as 75 percent of NU's points and assists and 74 percent of NU's individual rebounds have been by newcomers in their first season of Big Ten play.
Miles, who was given a seven-year contract when he was hired in 2012, led the Huskers to a 15-18 record last year, as 14 of NU's 18 losses came against NCAA Tournament teams despite having only eight recruited scholarship players available. Nebraska played one of the nation's toughest schedules in 2012-13, facing 10 ranked teams while the strength of schedule was 13th nationally. The Huskers finished 10th in the Big Ten in 2012-13 after being picked to finish last by 23 of the 24 beat writers in the league.
Finding Offensive Pace
Despite having several new faces in the rotation, the Huskers have been a much more prolific offensive team in 2013-14. The Huskers are averaging 11 points more per game than at this point last year, including a season-high 90 points against UMass on Nov. 21 – NU's highest single-game total since the 2009-10 season.
*- Nebraska's team scoring average of 69.3 points per game is on track to be the highest at Nebraska since the 2003-04 season, when Nebraska averaged 70.5 points per game. In fact, Nebraska has averaged 70 points per game twice since 2000.
*- Last year, NU was 12th in the Big Ten in scoring offense at 58.3 points per game. So far this season, Nebraska has been held under 60 points just three times in 17 games.
*- The Huskers' 70 points against Michigan on Jan. 9, was NU's highest in a conference game since scoring 80 against Illinois on Feb. 18, 2012.
*- Nebraska scored 80 or more points in consecutive games against South Carolina State and UMass, the first time that has happened since the 2008-09 season.
*- Nebraska has had eight players reach double figures at least once this season. The Huskers had two games where five players reached double figures and six others with four double-figure scorers.
*- Nebraska has already scored 75 or more points five times this season after just reaching that plateau twice in 33 games during the 2012-13 season.
*- In two seasons under Miles, Nebraska is 19-8 when scoring over 60 points.
Setting a Benchmark
For Nebraska, one of the biggest improvements has been the development of its bench this season, most notably the development of Deverell Biggs and Leslee Smith. The Huskers are averaging 21.7 points and 14.4 rebounds per game from its bench entering Monday's game with Ohio State.
Biggs is third on the team in scoring at 10.0 ppg and 3.4 rpg while averaging 20.1 minutes per outing. He is shooting 44 percent from the floor and is third among all Big Ten bench players in scoring average.
*- Biggs has been productive in Big Ten play, raising his scoring and rebounding averages to 11.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, respectively.
*- He has reached double figures seven times, including four of the Huskers' first five Big Ten games. At Purdue, he had 10 points, a career-high seven rebounds, two blocked shots, two assists and two steals. Against No. 17 Ohio State, Biggs finished with 11 points, four rebounds and a team-high three assists.
*- Biggs' high in conference play was 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the one-point loss against Michigan on Jan.9.
*- He helped the Huskers cut a 20-point second-half deficit to five at No. 22 Iowa on Dec. 31 with 12 points, four rebounds and a pair of steals.
*- His season high in points was an 18-point effort against Northern Illinois on Nov. 30. In that game, he hit four free throws in the final eight seconds after NIU cut the lead to one.
Smith has been the Huskers' most consistent performer according to Tim Miles, as he gives NU a physical post presence. Smith is averaging 7.8 points on 60 percent shooting and a team-high 6.1 rebounds per game to rank 13th in the Big Ten. Smith is one of only two players from the British Virgin Islands playing Division I basketball.
*- Leads the Huskers and is eighth in the Big Ten in double-doubles, most recently an 11-point, 10-rebound effort at No. 3 Ohio State on Jan. 4.
*- Has five games with at least 10 rebounds, as he is fifth in the Big Ten in that category.
*- Leads the Huskers in both blocked shots (14) and steals (20) while averaging less then 20 minutes per game.
Sophomore Benny Parker has been in the lineup all 17 games this year and has 2.3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio as NU's backup point guard. Junior David Rivers is NU's other primary post player, as he averages 2.5 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. He played 14 minutes – his highest total since Nov. 30 – in Monday's win over Ohio State.
*- Nebraska's bench has out-scored its opponents in 10 of the last 15 games since Biggs and Ray Gallegos returned to the lineup on Nov. 17.
*- Nebraska has received 15 double-figure games from its bench, including seven from Biggs and five from Leslee Smith.
*- Against South Carolina State, Nebraska's bench combined for 51 of the 83 points, making the fifth time in the last decade NU has received at least 50 points from its bench.
*- Last year, Ray Gallegos and Dylan Talley both ranked among the top five in the Big Ten in minutes per game at over 35 minutes per game. This year, no Husker is averaging more than 31.5 minutes per game, while nine Huskers average at least 12.7 minutes per game.
*- Nebraska had three players reach double figures in the win over Georgia (Tai Webster-14; Ray Gallegos-11; Leslee Smith-18).
Record-Breaking Season Ticket Sales
The move to Pinnacle Bank Arena has been a boon to Nebraska basketball, as the Husker program has shattered season-ticket records. On May 3, all of the season tickets allotted for 2013-14 had been accounted for, as season-ticket sales were up nearly 95 percent from 2012-13. It marked the third straight season that tickets sales were up.
*- Nebraska is on track to shatter the school's single-season attendance record of 13,357 per game set in 1992-93.
*- The previous school record for season ticket sales was 12,000 set in 1992-93. Nebraska is averaging 15,151 fans per game in 2013-14, including the four largest crowds in school history.
*-During non-conference action, attendance was up 56 percent from the 2012-13 season.
*- Over the last five seasons, only four schools have increased their attendance by more than 3,000 fans per game in a single season with the largest increase by BYU in 2010-11 (4,685 per game increase). Nebraska is currently averaging 4,779 more fans per game than in 2012-13.
*- The Huskers have rewarded the fans by going 8-1 in the first season at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Nebraska finished non-conference play unbeaten for the first time since 2010-11, and knocked off their first ranked foe since 2012 with the win over No. 15 Ohio State on Jan. 20.
The Son Also Rises
Nebraska sophomore Shavon Shields is on his way to creating an impressive resume in his own right. While his father, Will, is one of the greatest linemen in college and NFL history and a three-time NFL Hall of Fame finalist, the younger Shields has played an integral role over the last two years on the court.
As a freshman, Shavon overcame an early season elbow injury and averaged 8.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in 29 games. Shields started to shine during the 2013 Big Ten Tournament, averaging 16.5 points on 61 percent shooting in games against Purdue and Ohio State.
*- Shields, who was hampered by a knee bruise suffered in practice early in Big Ten play, comes into the Penn State game averaging 11.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game, as he is second on the team in all three categories.
*- Shields has the team's longest starting streak at 36 games dating back to last season.
*- He has been in double figures 10 times, and has grabbed at least six rebounds in 10 of NU's 17 contests, including a season-high nine rebounds at Purdue on Jan. 12 and against Ohio State on Jan. 20.
*- Shields broke out against No. 15 Ohio State on Jan. 20 with a game-high 18 points and nine rebounds. In the previous five games, he was averaging five points per game on 24 percent shooting.
*- Shields has paced the Huskers in scoring four times and has a pair of 20-point games this season. Both of his 20-point nights came against 2013 NCAA Tournament qualifiers (Florida Gulf Coast and Creighton).
*- He was named Big Ten Player of the Week and Lute Olson National Player of the Week for his effort against Sweet 16 qualifier Florida Gulf Coast in the season opener. In that game he scored a game-high 28 points – one off his career high – hitting 8-of-13 shots from the field and a perfect 12-of-12 from the line. The 6-foot-7 forward also led NU in rebounds (six) and assists (three).
*- Last summer, Shields played for the Denmark U-20 National Team, leading the country to the 2013 Nordic Cup Championship. He averaged 13.3 points per game in wins over Sweden, Finland and Estonia, capping the tournament with a 17-point, 12-rebound effort in a 101-94 double overtime win over Estonia.
*- Off the court, Shields is a microbiology major who wants to become a doctor following his basketball career and will be a candidate for CoSIDA Academic All-America honors this season.
Transfers Make Immediate Impact for Big Red
While the Huskers were short-handed last year with just eight recruited scholarship players available for action, Nebraska knew that help was on the way in the form of transfers Terran Petteway, Walter Pitchford and Deverell Biggs. The trio led a scout team which regularly pushed the Husker starters in practice and set the stage for the 2013-14 season. All three have played significant roles for the Huskers this season.
Petteway, who began his career at Texas Tech, has been one of the Big Ten's best newcomers. He enters the weekend ranked fifth in the conference in scoring at 17.4 ppg, while also averaging 5.3 caroms per outing.
*- Petteway has raised his scoring average more than 14 points from his true freshman year at Texas Tech. Prior to joining the Husker roster, his career high in points at the college level was 13 against DePaul in 2011-12.
*-Petteway is on track to enjoy one of the highest scoring sophomore seasons in school history. At 17.4 points per game, it would be the highest by a Husker sophomore since Tyronn Lue averaged 18.8 points per game in 1996-97. In fact, only three players have averaged more than 16 points per game as a sophomore – Dave Hoppen (19.9), Lue and Jerry Fort (18.0).
*-He has six games of at least 20 points this season, including a career-high 30 points against UMass in the Charleston Classic. He is tied for second in the Big Ten in 20-point games.
*-Petteway had a streak of three straight 20-point games (27 vs. Citadel; 22 at Cincinnati; 20 at Iowa) – the first time that has happened at Nebraska since Aleks Maric had four consecutive 20-point games in 2006-07.
*-Nearly put together a double-double in the loss at Purdue with 19 points, nine rebounds and two steals, along with two blocked shots.
*-Recorded his first career double-double at Iowa on Dec. 31, leading all scorers with 20 points and grabbing a career-high 12 rebounds.
*-Ranks fourth in the Big Ten in free throw shooting at 84.6 percent after shooting just 46 percent from the line during his lone season at Texas Tech.
*-Reached double figures in 16 of 17 games after just having one double-figure effort prior to this season.
*-Led the Huskers at the Charleston Classic in November, averaging 22 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in three games.
*-Became the 25th Husker to post a 30-point game, as he had 30 points in a 96-91 loss to UMass. In that game, he hit 8-of-20 shots from the floor, including a trio of 3-pointers, and converted 11 of 12 shots from the foul line.
Pitchford, who played 13 games at Florida in helping the Gators to the Elite Eight in 2011-12, has started at center for the Huskers, averaging 7.9 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-10 forward is a threat from long range, shooting 35 percent from 3-point range.
*-Put together the best game of his career at Iowa on Dec. 31, finishing with 13 points and 12 rebounds for his second double-double of the year. Pitchford had eight offensive rebounds in the loss to the Hawkeyes.
*-Reached double figures in scoring seven times, including a season-high 14 points against Western Illinois.
*-Finished with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting against Michigan on Jan. 9
*-Posted his first career double-double against Arkansas State on Dec. 14 with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
*- Played a key role in the Huskers' win over Miami in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge with 13 points and five rebounds against Miami.
*-Totaled an incredible 339:23 without a turnover dating back to his time at Florida before his first turnover on Jan. 9. The streak lasted 22 games, as he was the last regular rotation player in the country without a turnover.
Biggs has become a vital spark plug off the bench, as he averages 10.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. He was a first-team NJCAA All-American at Seward (Kan.) Community College in 2011-12 before redshirting last season. Biggs, who is from Omaha, was the Huskers' first scholarship recruit from Nebraska since 2001.
*-Enjoyed a memorable debut against South Carolina State on Nov. 17, scoring 17 points, grabbing four rebounds and dishing out a pair of assists in 23 minutes off the bench.
*-Reached double figures seven times, including a season-high 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting in NU's win over Northern Illinois on Nov. 30. In that win, he preserved NU's lead by hitting four free throws in the final eight seconds to clinch the win.
*-Dished out a season-high six assists against Arkansas State on Dec. 14, the highest single-game total for a Husker this season.
*-Nearly led Nebraska to a comeback win at Iowa, finishing with 11 points, four rebounds and a pair of steals, as the Huskers cut a 20-point deficit to five in the final two minutes.
*-Put up 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting and five rebounds in 20 minutes against Michigan on Jan. 9.
*-Totaled 10 points and a personal bests, in seven rebounds (seven) and two blocked shots (two) at Purdue.
Value the Basketball
Under Tim Miles, one major emphasis is taking care of the basketball, and the Huskers were among the nation's best in that category in 2012-13. Nebraska finished 10th nationally with 10.7 turnovers per game – nearly three fewer than 2011-12. NU's turnovers per game were the fewest in school history, bettering the 11.30 per game in 1984-85. Nebraska committed 10 turnovers or less 15 times in 2012-13, including a school-record two turnovers against Purdue on Jan. 16.
This season, the Huskers have also been among the national leaders in that category, ranking 40th nationally with 11.1 turnovers per game. Nebraska is sixth in the Big Ten in turnover margin at +2.0 per contest. The Huskers also do a good job of getting the ball from opponents, ranking third in the Big Ten with 7.5 per game.
Webster Makes a Point, Plays the Point
Tai Webster has found a home in the Huskers' backcourt, averaging 6.0 points, 2.3 assists and 2.2 rebounds per game coming into Thursday's game at Penn State. Webster has been a much better distributor in recent games, averaging 2.8 assists per game and nearly a 1.4-to-1 assist to turnover ratio in that stretch. He had three games with a season-high five assists (Miami, Creighton, Arkansas State).
In conference play, he is averaging 4.6 points per game, but tops the Huskers in both assists (1.8 apg) and steals (1.4 spg) while posting a 1.5-to-1 assist to turnover ratio. Webster had four assists and matched his personal best with four steals at No. 22 Iowa and put together his best game in Big Ten play against No. 17 Ohio State with nine points, including 5-of-6 from the foul line, and two rebounds.
The 6-foot-4 freshman enjoyed the best game of his career on Nov. 24 against Georgia, scoring 14 points and dishing out three assists in NU's 73-65 win. Webster scored 13 of his points in the second half and went 7-of-9 from the foul line. It was his second double-figure effort of the Charleston Classic, as he totaled 12 points and two assists in NU's loss to UMass.
With his start against Florida Gulf Coast on Nov. 8, Webster became just the ninth true freshman to start a season opener in the last 18 years. Webster totaled nine points, two rebounds and an assist in helping the Huskers to a 79-55 win. He reached double figures for the first time in his young career against South Carolina State on Nov. 17, totaling 13 points, four rebounds and two assists.
Although he is a freshman who does not turn 19 until after this season, Webster was considered one of the top international guards in this year's senior class. He played for New Zealand's national team in qualifying for the 2012 Olympics, averaging 13.5 points per game in 52.5 percent shooting in three games. He also played in New Zealand's National Basketball League, averaging 18.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game last spring despite being the youngest player in the league. Webster is among the five Big Ten freshmen to watch by ESPN's Paul Biancardi, joining Indiana's Noah Vonleh, Illinois' Kendrick Nunn, Michigan's Zak Irvin and Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes.
Gallegos Dials in From Long Distance
Senior guard Ray Gallegos is Nebraska's top returning scorer, giving Tim Miles a luxury that few Husker coaches have had over the past few years. Gallegos' 12.5 points per game average is the highest for a Husker returnee since Aleks Maric in 2007-08.
While Gallegos is known for being a long-range shooter who can hit shots in bunches, he has been more well rounded in 2013-14. He is fourth on the team in scoring at 7.9 points per game while averaging 1.6 assists and 1.6 rebounds per game.
*- Leads the Huskers with a career-high 4-to-1 assist-to-turnover rate on the season. He has been even better since moving back into the starting lineup on Dec. 4, posting a 5.5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio over Nebraska's last 10 games.
*- Is enjoying his best shooting season both overall (.413, previous best was .366 as a freshman) and from 3-point range (.392, previous best was .349 in 2009.
*-Ranks sixth in the Big Ten with 2.1 3-pointers per game including 14 points and four 3-pointers against Michigan.
*- Has already set career high in assists on two occasions, including five assists against The Citadel on Dec. 21.
*-Enjoyed one of his best games of the season at Cincinnati on Dec. 28 with a season-high 18 points, including four 3-pointers, while dishing out three assists.
*-Leads the Huskers with 31 3-pointers this season and now sits in ninth place on Nebraska's career 3-point chart with 135. He is 10 3-pointers away from eighth place on NU's career chart (Tyronn Lue, 145, 1996-98).
*-Opened the 2013-14 season by hitting six of 10 3-pointers in a win over South Carolina State on Nov. 17, the fifth time he has hit on at least six 3-pointers in a game.
As a junior, he connected on 83 3-pointers, a total which ranked second on Nebraska's single-season list. It is more impressive when you consider that Gallegos made only 21 3-pointers during his first two seasons at Nebraska before redshirting in 2011-12.
*-Led the Big Ten in 3-pointers per game (2.5 per game) during the 2012-13 season. He became the first Husker basketball player to lead the Big Ten in any statistical category.
*-Connected on a career-high seven 3-pointers at Iowa on March 9, 2013, a total which is one shy of Nebraska's single-game record.
The Huskers' New Home
Opened on Aug. 29, 2013, the 15,000-seat Pinnacle Bank Arena is the new home of the Nebraska men's and women's basketball programs. Pinnacle Bank Arena is part of a $344 million project in the Haymarket District which also includes a 200-room hotel, 100,000 square feet of retail space, another 100,000 square feet of office space and 100 residential units.
The $179 million dollar arena is easily accessible in downtown Lincoln as nearly 5,100 parking stalls will be within walking distance of the facility by the fall of 2014. Pinnacle Bank Arena includes an expansive student section with 1,000 seats on the 100 Level, including behind the team benches. Pinnacle Bank Arena also includes 36 suites, 20 loge boxes and 11 permanent concession stands around the arena.
Containing 470,400 square feet, the Pinnacle Bank Arena seats over 15,000 fans when configured for Husker basketball games. It is divided into two bowls (upper and lower) and three levels (100, 200, 300) with Premium Seating Suites and Loge Boxes located between Level 100 and Level 200. There are over 160 concession points of sale and two private Club Lounges, one located on the Main Concourse (Level 100) and one on the Premium Level Concourse.
Huskers to Participate in 2014 Diamond Head Classic
Six teams have committed to participate in the 2014 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, Hawai'i. The field for the sixth-annual event includes Colorado, George Washington, Nebraska, Ohio, Wichita State and tournament host school Hawai'i.
Four of the teams in the field qualified for the postseason in 2012-13, highlighted by a Wichita State squad that advanced to the NCAA Final Four.
The Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, an eight-team men's college basketball tournament, will feature 12 games through three days. Each team will compete in one game per day, advancing through the bracket. The two teams that remain undefeated throughout will face off in the championship game on the final day of the tournament.
Previous tournament champions of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic include USC (2009), Butler (2010), Kansas State (2011), Arizona (2012) and Iowa State (2013)
The family-friendly tournament includes three days of tournament play, practices, events and travel experiences unique to the islands of Hawai'i.
The Huskers have an 88-83 record against the other five teams announced for the tournament, but have not played any of the teams since the 2010-11 season. A potential Nebraska-Colorado matchup would be Nebraska's first regular-season matchup against a Big 12 team since joining the Big Ten Conference prior to the 2011-12 season.
The 2014 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic will be the second of three ESPN-sponsored events Nebraska has signed up for. The Huskers competed in the Charleston Classic this season and will travel to Anaheim, Calif., for the Wooden Legacy during the 2015-16 season.
Next year's trip to the Diamond Head Classic will mark the sixth time that the Huskers have traveled to Hawai'i for a holiday tournament and the first since the 2006-07 season.
Husker Hoops Watch Party Set for Jan. 23
The Rebounders Club will host the first of three Husker Hoops Watch Parties on Thursday, Jan. 23, at the N-Zone (728 Q Street) in the Haymarket.
The Huskers play at Penn State at 7 p.m. on ESPNU, and fans attending the watch party at the N-Zone will receive food and beverage specials, door prizes and chances to win a Husker basketball jersey and Pinnacle Bank Arena suite tickets for an upcoming game. The Jan. 23 game is the first of three Husker Hoops Watch Parties at the N-Zone this season, as the other ones will be on Feb. 16 (at Michigan State) and March 13 (Big Ten Tournament).
For more information on any of the Husker Hoops Watch Parties, contact Kiley Eaton in the Husker Athletic Fund Office at (402) 472-2367.
Bone Marrow Awareness Day Set for Sunday
The Nebraska basketball program is teaming up with the American Cancer Society, as part of the NABC Suits and Sneakers Weekend. The Huskers host Minnesota on Sunday, Jan. 26, at 5 p.m. at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Fans and students can help the Huskers in a couple of ways to raise awareness for cancer research.
Students are encouraged to join the Huskers that day in suiting up in their favorite suit coat and sneakers for the Minnesota game and check in at a predetermined spot at Pinnacle Bank Arena. As part of BTN LiveBIG's promotion, the university with the most students “suited up” over the weekend will receive a $10,000 donation to the school's Relay for Life Initiative, which raises critical funds for cancer research. Husker students will join students from Northwestern, Indiana and Purdue in trying to win for their campus.
As part of Sunday's activities, Nebraska is also having a Bone Marrow Donation awareness initiative, as fans will learn how to be part of the bone marrow registry. The Husker basketball program has been affected by Leukemia, as Avery Harriman, the son of assistant coach Chris Harriman was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia when he was 2 years old. Avery underwent a bone marrow transplant last year, and is now leukemia free.
Fans can sign up for the bone marrow registry, as volunteers will be on hand to collect information throughout Pinnacle Bank Arena. In addition, fans can also receive match kits/swabs and take the test to be a potential bone marrow match. Members of Nebraska's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and select student-athletes will assist on Sunday.
The annual Suits and Sneakers Weekend is coordinated by the Coaches vs. Cancer program, a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Since 1993, participating coaches have helped raise more than $85 million for the society's lifesaving work. For more information on Suits and Sneakers Awareness Weekend, please visit www.coachesvscancer.org.