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March 19, 2013With Nebraska's season officially in the books, HuskerOnline.com decided to take a look back and give out some recognition to the Huskers' top players and moments during the first season under head coach Tim Miles.
So without any further ado, we bring you our Nebraska basketball 2012-13 season awards
Most Valuable Player: Dylan Talley
While others definitely had big roles in the success Nebraska had this season, no player was more reliable and critical to the Huskers' game plan than Dylan Talley. The senior led NU with 13.7 points and 2.5 assists per game and was third with 4.3 rebounds per game. What makes those numbers even more impressive is Talley got them all while playing out of position for the bulk of the season. Because of Nebraska's lack of depth and experience at point guard, Talley was asked to move over from shooting guard to the one spot to run the offense, and his leadership and solid play was invaluable for the Huskers all year long.
Best newcomer: Shavon Shields
There had been some rumbling going into the year that true freshman Shavon Shields was really impressing his coaches and older teammates during offseason workouts, but no one expected the three-star prospect to come in and have the immediate impact he had this season. Despite being slowed early in the year with a lingering elbow injury, Shields ended up averaging 8.2 ppg and was second on the team with 5.1 rpg. The best part about it was that he got better every game he played. He posted 9.2 ppg and 6.0 rpg in Big Ten play, including scoring 29 points in a win over Penn State, and was the Huskers' top scorer in the conference tournament. His potential is one of the biggest reasons for excitement looking ahead to next season and beyond.
Biggest surprise: Ray Gallegos
It was no surprise that junior guard Ray Gallegos played a big role on Nebraska's limited roster this season, but the way he completely took over games offensively at times certainly raised a few eye brows. Gallegos was a player who could be ice cold shooting and essentially a non-factor at times, but could just as easily be as good of a perimeter shooter as there was in the conference when he got hot. He ended the year as the Big Ten leader with 2.5 made 3-pointers a game, and his 83 treys were the second most in a season in school history. Granted, Gallegos shot a staggering 271 3-pointers on the year, but often times it was because he was relied upon to be NU's lone source of offense.
Best moment: Closing out the Devaney in style
It's hard to imagine fans storming the court after a game featuring two unranked teams, but with all of the emotion surrounding Nebraska's showdown with Minnesota in the final game ever at the Bob Devaney Sports Center, the celebration was certainly justified. After a weekend's worth of ceremonies and remembering of all the great moments at the Devaney over the past four decades, the Huskers never trailed in a 53-51 win over a Golden Gopher team that had pounded them by 29 points earlier in the year in Minneapolis. Fans rushed the court after the final buzzer sounded like NU had just knocked off the No. 1 team in the country, and with all things considered, it was the perfect way to say goodbye.
Worst moment: Two regrettable losses
Nebraska's goal at the start of the year was to qualify for postseason play, whether it was the NCAA Tournament or the NIT. Looking back on the Huskers' 15-18 overall record, two disappointing losses glare a bit more than the others as ones that played the biggest role in keeping NU out of NIT consideration. The first came early on in non-conference play, as the Huskers were hammered by Kent State 74-60 after starting the year 4-0. The second was the 20-point loss at home to Illinois the game after NU had finally picked up its first Big Ten win at Penn State. After snapping an 0-5 start to league play, Nebraska came back and shot just 32 percent from the field and committed 14 turnovers in the loss. Had the Huskers been able to pull those two winnable games out, their postseason fate might have ended a bit differently.