During the thrilling finish to the 2013-14 season, the Huskers relied on the scoring punch of a trio of players: Terran Petteway, Shavon Shields and Walt Pitchford. For much of this season, it's been Petteway. Usually Shields will join the party. And that's about it. Tonight, the Nebraska Basketeers were prolific once again. The Huskers returned to Pinnacle Bank Arena after a road trip that included stops in Michigan and Minnesota all but torpedoed any lingering hopes of another run to the NCAA Tournament. The Huskers, however, didn't bring the road blues home, and ran the Northwestern Wildcats out of the building, 76-60.
You wanna know how to beat a zone defense? Make a lot of shots. We'll never know if Northwestern is any good at playing zone because Nebraska wouldn't give them the opportunity to break it out. The Huskers were coming off a frustrating week on the road where they saw nothing but full-court press and zone defenses in Ann Arbor and Minneapolis and some of the worst offensive performances in a program that has had it's fair share of offensive offensive nights. Tonight, however, the Huskers hit 62.8% from the floor. Petteway was literally hitting shots from the star on the mid-court logo signifying where Lincoln is. Pitchford broke out in the second half en route to a 14 point performance that had largely been missing this year and Shields looked comfortable again going 4-5 from the floor.
The Huskers, for one of the rare occasions this season, looked like the team we thought they were going to be all season long. For all the praise the Huskers earned in this victory, the Wildcats are not a good basketball team. They've had their share of close losses on the road, but in the end, they are what their record says they are and that is 1-8 in Big Ten play. The Wildcats did their best to hang with the Huskers, only trailing by two at the break, but in the second half, they could not hold up to the relentless defensive pressure and could not sustain their hot shooting first half.
The other story of the game was that of Shavon Shields. He scored his 1,000th point on one of his typical mid-range jumpers late in the game. He became the 26th player in school history to eclipse the mark. Petteway passed the 1,000 career point mark not long ago, as well and is just three points shy of the mark as a Husker.
The Huskers next head to Happy Valley where they will look to pick up their first conference road win. NU and PSU will square off Saturday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. on BTN.