That's according to second-year Nebraska coach Tim Miles, and his
counterpart on Sunday night, Bo Ryan, agreed.
Sophomore guard Shavon Shields and sophomore forward Terran Petteway
scored 26 points apiece, and Nebraska defeated No. 9 Wisconsin 77-68
before a school-record crowd of 15,998 on Sunday at Pinnacle Bank
Nebraska (19-11, 11-7 Big Ten) won eight of its last nine
regular-season games and clinched sole possession of fourth place in
the conference standings, along with a No. 4 seed in next week's Big
With the win against a Wisconsin team that boasted the best RPI of
any Big Ten team, the Cornhuskers solidified their resume for an
at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. Nebraska last made the NCAA
field in 1998.
"I think it's a great win. I don't think they lost to anybody like
us," Miles said. "I think we've put together a pretty impressive
run. I think anybody that would be on the committee and watched that
game would think, 'Hey, they're pretty good.' "
Ryan, the Wisconsin coach who fell shy of attaining his 700th career
victory, agreed the Huskers should be in the tournament.
"Oh, sure," Ryan said. "That's not even a question in my mind. You
play like that in this league, and ..."
Wisconsin (25-6, 12-6) had its eight-game winning streak snapped and
its hope for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament damaged.
"We're the No. 2 seed for the Big Ten Tournament," Ryan said.
"That's all I care about."
Junior center Frank Kaminksy scored 14 points to lead four Badgers
in double figures, but Wisconsin could not maintain its offensive
efficiency from the first half, when it shot 54.2 percent. The
Badgers hit just 34.4 percent from the floor in the second half.
"We hit some shots, they regrouped and shut down some things and
they hit some shots," Ryan said. "Playing from behind, we had a
couple of chances there. We were biting into the lead and missed a
few free throws."
Nebraska trailed by seven early in the second half but rallied for a
47-46 lead on a step-back Shields jumper with13:21 remaining.
Wisconsin came back for a 52-48 lead, but Nebraska responded with a
7-0 run, with a 3-pointer by senior guard Ray Gallegos giving the
Huskers a one-point lead. A Shields dunk stretched the margin to
Miles said the 3-pointer by Gallegos was the defining moment in the
"We had called a different play, and I said, to Shavon, 'What about
this play?' and he goes, 'That's a great idea.' We ran it, and they
really guarded it pretty well, and then he just took a side dribble
and got a little space and hit it. That was so much good for the
team, because those guys pull for Ray like crazy."
[to top of second column]
Nebraska stretched the lead when Shields, triple-teamed at the post,
fed sophomore forward Walter Pitchford, who sank a 3-pointer from
the corner. Petteway added a driving basket for a 60-53 lead.
Wisconsin got within 60-57 on freshman forward Nigel Hayes' dunk,
but Nebraska sophomore guard Benny Parker hit an open jumper,
Pitchford hit another 3-pointer for a 65-57 lead with 3:08
remaining, and the Huskers were never seriously threatened
"They're, what, ninth in the country? That's a good team. They're a
tough team to play," Shields said of the Badgers. "I don't know what
else to say. They execute on offense really well. The give you
different looks defensively we're not really accustomed to.
"We stayed on the attack, we got stops when we needed them. We
played terrible defense the first half but finally slowed them up
and got the win."
Nebraska, which didn't attempt a free throw in the first half, went
19-for-25 at the line in the second half, including 8-for-12 in the
Wisconsin took a 35-33 halftime lead on Kaminsky's tip-in of his own
miss with six seconds remaining, capping an entertaining first half
that featured five ties and seven lead changes.
Nebraska, with its record home crowd at a fever pitch, bolted to an
early 10-3 lead, prompting a Wisconsin timeout with 17:09 remaining.
Pitchford and Petteway each had a 3-pointer in that initial surge.
The Badgers regrouped and took a 21-19 lead after five straight
points, including a 3-pointer, from reserve guard Duke Dukan.
Nebraska kept pace with its continued penetration, most notably by
Shields, who had 12 first-half points, including a one-handed dunk
after an open drive through the lane.
Despite the continued driving and shots at the rim, the Huskers
didn't attempt a free throw in the first half, much to the chagrin
of Miles, who had a stare-down with the officials at midcourt before
the participants departed to the locker room.
NOTES: Wisconsin clinched the No. 2 seed in this week's Big Ten
tournament with Michigan State's loss to Ohio State on Sunday. ...
Nebraska walk-on G Mike Peltz, being recognized on Senior Night
before the game, proposed to his girlfriend, Shelby Campbell, at
midcourt. She said yes. ... After Sunday's win over Wisconsin,
Nebraska owns victories over every Big Ten team except Michigan
since joining the conference in 2011-12.
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