Published Sunday, November 3, 2013 at 10:37 pm / Updated at 10:39 pm
Basketball
NU deeper, better but far from refined
UNK at Nebraska
When: 7 p.m. Monday
Where: Pinnacle Bank Arena
Radio: 1110 AM KFAB

Nebraska
C Walter Pitchford, 6-10, So., NA
F Shavon Shields, 6-7, So., 8.6
F Terran Petteway, 6-6, So., NA
G Tai Webster, 6-4, Fr., NA
G Ray Gallegos, 6-2, Sr., 12.5

UNK
F Kendal Glidden, 6-7, Sr., 5.2
F Connor Beranek, 6-6, Sr., NA
G Tyler Shields, 6-4, Jr., 10.3
G Kevin Dineen, 6-1, Fr., NA
G Davion Pearson, 5-11, Jr., NA

LINCOLN — The Nebraska men's basketball team has more pieces and better pieces to choose from in coach Tim Miles' second season.

Just don't get the idea that all those pieces fit together yet heading into Monday's exhibition game against the University of Nebraska at Kearney at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

“It's very much a work in progress with all the change,” said sophomore forward Shavon Shields, one of five returning scholarship players. “We have seven newcomers. It just takes time to get that cohesiveness going.”

At least there are 12 scholarship players this season. Nebraska used eight last season while finishing 10th in the Big Ten at 5-13 and going 15-18 overall.

The biggest ironman was guard Ray Gallegos. The senior from Salt Lake City led the Big Ten and was third nationally in minutes played at 37.5 per game. He won't mind waiting a few games for newcomers to adjust because he appreciates the help.

“We're a lot deeper and lot more talented than last year,” he said. “Everybody can play. Everybody is threatening for minutes.”

Much of practice lately, Shields said, involves trying to fit different lineups together.

“We're going game speed all the time,” he said. “But when you're playing with different people and learning offense, it takes time.”

The Huskers have worked on creating “big” and “small” lineups. The big lineup, Shields said, has 6-foot-10 Walter Pitchford, 6-8 Leslee Smith and the 6-7 Shields up front, with 6-6 Terran Petteway and 6-4 Tai Webster as the guards.

Though the Nebraska men have held a public scrimmage at Pinnacle Bank Arena, this will be the first true game situation ahead of Friday's home opener against Florida Gulf Coast.

“It will help us a lot to have fans there and a game atmosphere to calm some people's nerves,” Shields said. “It will show the new guys how to get through the game-day stuff and focus on the game itself.”

UNK, under co-head coaches Tom Kropp and Kevin Lofton, is coming off a 7-19 season. The Lopers have two returning starters and 10 transfers. One of the newcomers is Connor Beranek, brother of former Husker Drake Beranek. Connor played at Doane College last season.

Shields said in some ways it's difficult to believe his second season at Nebraska is about to begin.

“It seems like just a month ago we were in Chicago at the Big Ten tournament,” he said. “Now, we're about to play a Sweet 16 team in a new arena. So it has been a whirlwind.”

NOTES

Ľ Despite the new arena being sold out of season tickets, some individual tickets for this game at prices from $7 to $15 are on sale at huskers.com or 1-800-8-BIGRED.

Ľ This is the Huskers' lone exhibition game. They played a closed scrimmage a week ago against South Dakota State, losing 69-65.

Ľ Nebraska players dealing with nagging injuries include Smith (knee), Webster (ankle) and freshman Nathan Hawkins (foot).

Contact the writer: Lee Barfknecht

lee.barfknecht@owh.com    |   402-444-1024    |  

Lee Barfknecht has won nine national writing awards from four separate organizations, and is a 12-time winner of the Nebraska sportswriter of the year award. He covers Big Ten football and basketball, Nebraska basketball and other college financial issues for The World-Herald.

PHOTO GALLERY AND VIDEO »

 

< >
SPOTLIGHT »
2013 college football preview
View our 2013 college football preview, a 26-page, three-part section filled with coverage of the Huskers, Big Ten conference and more.
Big Red Bowl Retrospective
See complete historical results, game recaps and photo coverage from the Nebraska Cornhuskers college football bowl game appearances, from the 1941 Rose Bowl up to today.
Big Ten football recruits
The World-Herald's Big Ten recruiting database contains every football recruit that signed with a Big Ten school from 2002 to 2011, complete with color-coded interactive map representations, player information, high-concentrations recruiting clusters and more.
Devaney Center timeline
Check out a World-Herald timeline to see the evolution of memorable moments at the Devaney Center, complete with photos, videos, memorable quotes and more.
Follow OWHbigred on Twitter
Looking for the latest Husker sports news from The Omaha World-Herald and Omaha.com? Follow us on Twitter!
Husker scholarship distribution chart
Want to see how many scholarships NU has invested at each position? Wondering how the Huskers have appropriated their offers by class? Check out our handy chart to look further into how Bo Pelini has built his team.
Husker Signing Day 2013
The World-Herald's top-notch coverage of the Nebraska football's class of 2013, complete with videos, photos, articles, live recruit interviews, interactive components and more.
Husker turnovers: A slippery slope
Bo Pelini has coached 68 games at Nebraska. When NUís turnover margin is positive or even, the Huskers are 35-2. When they lose the turnover battle, theyíre 13-18. Why hasnít Nebraska joined the nationís elite? More than anything, itís turnovers.
Interactive: Bo Pelini's contract
View an interactive PDF of Pelini's revised contract signed by the NU football coach, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Darin Erstad's contract (2012)
View an interactive PDF of NU baseball coach Darin Erstad's contract released in August 2012, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Tim Miles' contract
View an interactive PDF of Tim Miles' contract signed by the Nebraska men's basketball coach on May 4, 2012, complete with brief legal explanations, comparisons to other Big Ten coaches and more.
Omaha.com's Big Ten coverage
Delivering the best news coverage and analysis of the Big Ten Conference, from Omaha.com and other top news outlets from around country.
Husker Recruiting: Changes shrink NU's sphere of influence
For decades, the Great Plains represented fertile recruiting ground for Tom Osborne's football program. Restoring that lost tradition won't be easy.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
The Jaipur in Rockbrook Village
Half Off Fine Indian Cuisine & Drinks! $15 for Dinner, or $7 for Lunch
Buy Now
BRT ON TWITTER »
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT »
< >