It was an eventful afternoon at Pinnacle Bank Arena. It started rather auspicously as Nebraska's Walter Pitchford was ejected for throwing an elbow at Michigan State's Matt Costello. The Huskers responded, however, jumping out to a 15 point lead before halftime and as big as 17 in the second half before the Spartans mounted a charge, cutting it as close as two, which was the final margin. The Huskers used big games from stalwarts Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields who accounted for 53 of Nebraska's 79 points. The Huskers also saw maligned sophomore Tai Webster score 13 including hitting seven of his eight free throws to help fill in for the dismissed Pitchford. NU picked up their fourth win in five games to move to 4-3 in conference play, jumping into a five-way tie for fifth place, half a game behind their next opponent, Michigan, who lost to Wisconsin in overtime.
This game was big in a couple of other ways. New Nebraska Head Coach Mike Riley and his coaching staff was introduced at halftime. Riley, along with several other coaches, Athletic Department and University officials, joined the Red Zone for the game.
This was College Basketball's annual Coach's vs. Cancer weekend, where all coaches wear sneakers in place of the usual dress shoes. Nebraska coaches, players, the Red Zone and many fans also wore yellow shirts with #AveryStrong printed on them in orange. Assistant coach Chris Harriman's son has fought leukemia off and on since he was very young including as recently as this fall. Thankfully, he is currently in remission, but only because of he was able to recieve a Bone Marrow Transplant. The event also served as an event to grow the Bone Marrow Registry and brought awareness to several others who are fighting a similar fight as Avery. To join the registry, go to bethematch.org. You might be able to help save a life.