A record crowd of 15,119, the largest in school history, opened the Nebraska men’s basketball at Pinnacle Bank Arena and witnessed a 79-55 rout of Florida Gulf Coast Friday evening.
Shavon Shields had 28 points on 8-of-13 shooting and a perfect 12-of-12 from the line, adding six rebounds and three assists. Sophomore Terran Petteway scored 17 points to join Shields in double figures, while Benny Parker provided a spark off the bench with a career-high nine points and two steals, carrying the Huskers in a second-half run.
Nebraska shot 52.1 percent from the fields and committed just nine turnovers, while forcing Florida Gulf Coast into 16 turnovers and holding the Eagles to 44.2 percent from the floor.
Nebraska roared out of the gate, scoring 11 of the first 15 points behind strong shooting from sophomore Walter Pitchford, who hit a pair of early 3-pointers, as Nebraska hit three of its first four from long range. Florida Gulf Coast, which went to the NCAA Sweet 16 last season, cut the deficit to 18-13 after a Bernard Thompson 3-pointer, but Shields keyed a 15-4 run with eight of his first-half points to jump out to a 33-17 lead.
Nebraska led by as many as 18 in the first half before FGCU closed the half on a 6-0 spurt to pull within 39-27 at the break.
NU opened the second half on a 10-0 run and were in complete control, leading by as many as 34 points in the second half.
The Huskers return to action Tuesday evening, when they take on Western Illinois. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Pinnacle Bank Arena.