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December 23, 2011With Nebraska's non-conference schedule officially in the books, HuskerOnline.com decided to take a look back and give out some recognition to the Huskers' top players and moments over the past 11 games.
So without any further ado, we bring you our Nebraska basketball non-conference awards?
Non-conference MVP: Bo Spencer, PG
There wasn't a bigger concern for Nebraska heading into the season than figuring out who was going to replace the production and leadership former point guard Lance Jeter brought to the Huskers. Those concerns were quickly put to rest after a couple stellar performances from senior Bo Spencer. After sitting out last season following his transfer from LSU, Spencer has burst onto the scene and quickly established himself and the feature player of NU's offense. He led the team with 16 points and 4.3 assists per game in non-conference play, and there's little doubt he'll continue to be the Huskers' go-to guy once things kick up a notch in Big Ten play.
Best newcomer: Dylan Talley, G
While he's had to miss the past two games while dealing with a lingering deep thigh bruise, when junior guard Dylan Talley has been able to play, he's been as good as advertised. Coming in as one of the top junior college recruits in the country, Talley wasted no time establishing himself in Nebraska's rotation and started his first game against Creighton. He ranks fourth on the team in scoring with 9.1 ppg, including an 18-point performance against Oregon and hitting the game-winning shot in the final seconds against Florida Gulf Coast. Nebraska is keeping its fingers crossed that Talley can return to his regular role in the lineup soon, as the Huskers seem to play at another level when he's on his game.
Biggest surprise: David Rivers, G
It wasn't too far of a stretch to assume Nebraska would need the help of at least one if not all three of its incoming freshmen this season, but it's somewhat of a surprise that wing David Rivers has been able to work his way up the rotation so quickly. Because of his impressive defensive skills, Rivers was the first freshmen to see extensive playing time, and he's now been one of the first players off the bench the past two games. Overall, Rivers has seen action in nine games this season, playing an average of 11 minutes per outing. He still has a way to go before he becomes much of a factor offensively, but with the way he guards the ball and rebounds, it's safe to say there will continue to be a spot for Rivers to see the court the rest of the year.
Best moment: NU's double-digit comeback against TCU
Nebraska's season was already approaching a crossroads after the first eight games leading up to its trip to take on TCU on Dec. 10. At 5-3 on the year and just coming off a 51-50 escape of Florida Gulf Coast at home, the Huskers were desperate for something to feel good about. Fortunately, they got just that with a 10-point comeback behind a huge second half to knock off a TCU team that was 7-2 and had won four straight home games. Sparked by a 65-foot buzzer beater by Spencer to close out the first half, Nebraska outscored the Horned Frogs 39-20 in the second half while shooting 55 percent after halftime to pick up their second quality road win of the year.
Worst moment: Home loss to Wake Forest
Of Nebraska's three losses so far, there's not one the Huskers would like to have back more than their 55-53 home loss to Wake Forest on Nov. 30. In a nationally televised game as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Nebraska had an opportunity to pull out the win in the final seconds but couldn't come up with the big play it needed. Instead the Huskers gave up an uncontested lay-up with just 3.4 seconds remaining that gave Wake Forest the win. While the name Wake Forest would make it seem like an understandable loss, the fact of the matter was the Demon Deacons were nowhere near as good as their past teams, as it was essentially the same squad that went 8-24 last season. Come tournament selection time, there might not be a bigger regret for the Huskers than letting Wake walk away with a win that night.