Huskers Tune-up vs. Lopers

USA TODAY Sports

In their final tune-up before the regular season tips off, the Husker newcomers made a statement, routing the Lopers 91-60.

It was just an exhibition, but Husker hoops fans had to be pleased with what they saw on Monday night.  In the first game of the men's team in the sparkling Pinnacle Bank Arena, the Huskers ran the Lopers out of the gym, 91-60.  The Huskers saw five new players take the court for the first time in scarlet and cream and that's not including the two that sat out in Deverll Biggs, serving a three game suspension for a DUI last winter and Nate Hawkins who sat out due to injury.

There's not much that is learned from games like this, usually.  The Huskers seemed to come out nearly as healthy as they were when the game started, though Shavon Shields did appear get some treatment on his right ankle during the game, but there appears to be no serious issues there.  In his time on the court, however, he was the best player on it.  He led the Huskers in scoring, pouring in 16 on only 21 minutes of action.  Tai Webster also poured in 12, highlighted by a breakaway dunk off of a steal.  He also had a couple of nifty passes leading to lay ups.

Other newcomers, Terran Pettaway and Walter Pitchford also played well.  Pettaway was athletic and active on defense and Pitchford's length will help him on the boards.  His athleticism also brings an added dimension that will be difficult for opposing post players to defend.

One area of concern were the 44 fouls called during the game, highlighting some of the concerns that have been voiced across the college basketball landscape.  It's going to take some time for players and coaches to adjust to the new emphasis on the rules.  Nearly every incident of contact, especially when driving to the rim was called, which was a departure from what was the case in recent seasons.  If they keep calling like that, players that can create their own shot and get to into the lane will become more and more valuable.  Guys like Deverell Biggs who are lightning quick and are not afraid of contact should benefit most from these rules.

For now, though, the Huskers have the rest of the week to prepare for the regular season, which opens up vs. Florida Gulf Coast Friday night.  The Eagles were the darlings of last years NCAA tournament when they were the first 15 seed to advance to the Sweet 16.  Tip-off for the game will be at 8 pm on BTN.

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