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November 30, 2013

Hoops Gameday: Nebraska vs. Northern Illinois

Nebraska Cornhuskers

vs. Northern Illinois Huskies
Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013 - 12:05 p.m. CT
TV: Big Ten Digital Network / RADIO: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network

Northern Illinois Huskies (2-3, 0-0 MAC)
Streak: Won 1
Last Game: Defeated St. Joseph's (Ind.) 111-61
G Travon Baker (averaging 7.8 ppg and team-high 3.0 apg) So. 5-10 160
G Aaron Armstead (averaging 9.2 ppg) Jr. 6-4 195
G Dontel Highsmith (scoring 6.2 ppg with 3.8 rpg) Fr. 6-2 190
F Darrell Bowie (leads team with 12.5 ppg and 7.0 rpg) So. 6-6 220
F Pete Rakocevic (tallest player on NIU roster) Jr. 6-11 235

Nebraska CornhuskersNebraska Cornhuskers (4-2, 0-0 Big Ten)
Streak: Won 1
Last Game: Defeated Georgia 73-65
G Tai Webster (scored 13 of his 14 points vs. UGA in 2nd half) Fr. 6-4 194
G/F Terran Petteway (leads team with 16.7 ppg this season) So. 6-6 209
F Shavon Shields (scoring 13.3 ppg with 5.3 rpg) So. 6-7 219
F David Rivers (ranks sixth in Big Ten with 1.8 spg) Jr. 6-7 198
C Walter Pitchford (is 10-of-19 from 3-point range this season) So. 6-10 234

Turn 'me' into 'we'

When Nebraska got back home after it's three-game road trip at the Charleston Classic this past weekend, head coach Tim Miles made it a point to show his players one glaring and alarming stat. Through six games, the Huskers ranked 344th out of 345 Division I teams in assists, dishing out an average of just 7.7 per game. Miles said the low total was a direct reflection of how NU has been too selfish on offense and hasn't been nearly good enough at creating scoring opportunities for others. Look for ball movement and setting up open shots within the offense to be a big emphasis today.
Get the bench going

While the starters are putting up solid numbers, no player on the team will argue that Nebraska's bench has provide some much-needed boosts of both energy and production when it checks into the game this season. Point guard Benny Parker, who actually started last game against Georgia, and power forward Leslee Smith have been extremely valuable for the Huskers, and they will continue to be important pieces in the rotation to keep NU's starting five fresh. Parker currently holds a 16-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, while Smith is shooting 58.1 percent from the field.
Get ready to roll

You never want to look past any game on the schedule, but that will be tough for Nebraska to do considering what lies ahead after Northern Illinois comes to town. With Miami coming to Pinnacle Bank Arena on Dec. 4 for a nationally-televised affair and then a trip to Creighton set four days later, the competition is about to kick up for the Huskers in a big way next week. That makes today's game versus the Huskies especially important to work out any remaining kinks and get the team playing at its best before facing two straight NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago.

Head coach Tim Miles on Nebraska needing to work better as a team in games:

"You have a brotherhood, guys are competing with one another but yet cooperating with one another, and getting that balance is hard to do, especially with guys who are highly, highly competitive. We've got a whole bunch of those guys, which is a good thing. Collecting talent is one thing. Getting them to operate as a team, together, is another. That's what we have to get to."
Sophomore forward Shavon Shields on the Huskers' improvements moving the ball on offense:

"First couple of games were awful with playing together. It finally took us losing in order to realize that was kind of happening. We ended up getting better the Georgia game. The only way to go is up."

Nebraska 79-60

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