December 18, 2014

Cardinals shock Huskers 74-73 on last second shot

The transition to Division I basketball may have been sped up a bit for Incarnate Word on Wednesday night.

Kyle Hittle’s baseline shot with just over three seconds to play helped the Cardinals stun Nebraska 74-73 at the Pinnacle Bank Arena, sending the Huskers to their second straight loss. But Incarnate Word might be the true story, as the private school from San Antonio, Texas continues its four-year transition from Division II basketball into Division I.

“It’s a great school, great campus and people across the street don’t even know we exist,” Cardinals head coach Ken Burmeister said after the upset win. “We have just over 8,000 students, so for us to do this is great for our program, but it might be even greater for the university in the future.”

Hittle finished with 18 points as the Cardinals moved to 5-1 on the season. But none were bigger than those final two points, as the ball swished through the net with 3.2 seconds to play. Nebraska’s Terran Petteway came up short at the buzzer on a long three-pointer that would have given the Huskers the win.

“We’ve hoped for this forever,” Hittle said. “We’ve had big schools on our schedule that we’ve tried to beat to get some notice. Hopefully this does it.”

“It’s a great win for our program. It’s so unreal, so unreal.”

Shavon Shields slams home two of his game-high 19 points during Nebraska's 74-73 loss to Incarnate Word PHOTO COURTESY: HUSKERS.COM

Shavon Shields slams home two of his game-high 19 points during Nebraska’s 74-73 loss to Incarnate Word

The Cardinals led by one at halftime after the Huskers jumped to an early 8-0 lead. Nebraska stretched their lead to as many as 10 again in the second half, but Incarnate Word wouldn’t go away as Hittle and Jontrell Walker led the way for the Cardinals as Walker finished with a game-high 19 points.

Shooting 58 percent from the floor in the second half didn’t hurt matters for the Cardinals either, with Nebraska head coach Tim Miles searching for answers.

“I don’t know where some of our guys are mentally, but I would venture to say that there are some guys that are worried and that does not work. The aggressor always wins,” Miles said. “We said at halftime that I thought we were tentative. I thought we were tentative on defense more than anything.

“I think we were just hoping this went well.”

It looked like Nebraska had things under control after a free throw from David Rivers put the Huskers up 71-66 with 33 seconds to play. But a layup by Traylin Farris and turnover on the following inbounds pass led to a crazy final sequence. First, Incarnate Word’s Shawn Johnson was fouled on a three-point attempt and made two-of-three at the line to make it a 71-70 Nebraska lead with 17 seconds remaining. Shavon Shields would then hit two free throws for Nebraska, before Johnson found himself at the line again after being fouled on a three-point attempt with 7 seconds remaining.

Again, Johnson made two-of-three at the stripe and it was still a one-point Nebraska lead. But Petteway’s inbounds pass sailed out of bounds untouched, giving the Cardinals the ball under their own basket with 7 seconds to play. Hittle would get the ball in the left corner, turned baseline, and hit a contested shot with 3.2 seconds to go to put the Cardinals ahead and on the cusp of their shocking victory.

“Incarnate Word is a good team, but we shouldn’t have lost to that team on our home floor by any means. You don’t have to point the finger. You can put the blame on me. I made that last turnover,” Petteway said. “It was careless. It was a stupid play and it cost us the game.”

Tai Webster and Terran Petteway (5) react late in the second half of Nebraska's 74-73 loss to Incarnate Word PHOTO COURTESY: HUSKERS.COM

Tai Webster and Terran Petteway (5) react late in the second half of Nebraska’s 74-73 loss to Incarnate Word

Shields would lead the Huskers with 19 points and nine rebounds, while Petteway added 18 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and dished out five assists in the losing effort. Nebraska has now lost back-to-back games at the Pinnacle Bank Arena for the first time since it opened last season, dropping their all-time mark to 19-3 in the new building.

Sophomore Tai Webster thinks it’s time for the team to play better by looking out for each other as teammates.

“”I think it’s time we come together and have look at ourselves. We need to talk amongst the team and come and start playing to what our identity really is. It’s on us,” Webster said. “It is not on the coaches or anything else. It’s on us to come out, step up and start playing Nebraska basketball.”

Nebraska was without the services of center Moses Abraham, who broke a bone in his right hand at practice on Tuesday. Miles said the absence of Abraham hurt their defense and they hope to have the senior back in the lineup within two to three weeks.

” It sounded like he hit the back of his hand on the back of the backboard. I’m not quite sure. It was in practice yesterday. That will be 2-3 weeks at least. We hope to have him back by conference play,” Miles said.

Incarnate Word moves to 6-1 with the victory, while Nebraska slumps to 5-3. The Huskers will play their third game of the week on Saturday when it hosts Cincinnati, with tip-off set for 7 p.m. in Lincoln.

Riley’s staff taking shape (AUDIO)

Mark Banker, Mike Cavanaugh and Trent Bray, new Nebraska assistants (photos/Oregon State Athletics)

Mark Banker, Mike Cavanaugh and Trent Bray, new Nebraska assistants (photos/Oregon State Athletics)

Mike Riley’s staff at Nebraska is starting to take shape.  Nebraska Radio Network contributor Sean Callahan says new offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh has reached out to Omaha North.  High school kids who were recruited by Oregon State defensive coordinator Mark Banker have confirmed they’ve been contacted by Banker saying he was Nebraska’s new defensive coordinator.  Banker has been with Oregon State since 2003.  One other coach coming over for sure is linebackers coach Trent Bray, who spent three years with Riley.

Listen to the Big Red Report


Assignment: Defensive Coordinator

Recruiting Area: San Fernando Valley/Hawai’i

Year at OSU: 14th Age: 58

Hometown: Plymouth, Massachusetts

Education: Bachelor’s in Physical Education from Springfield College (1978), Plymouth-Carver High School (1974)

Wife: Debbie

Children: Chris, Jayme and Kelsey


Assignment: Offensive Line

Hometown: Wallingford, Connecticut

Education: Bachelor’s in Physical Education from Southern Connecticut State (1986); 1981 Lyman High School (Wallingford, CT)

Wife: Laurie

Children: Shane and Blair


Assignment: Linebackers

Hometown: Pullman, Washington

Education: Bachelor’s in sociology from Oregon State


Holiday Bowl executive director excited for the Nebraska-USC matchup (AUDIO)

Holiday Bowl in San Diego

Holiday Bowl in San Diego

The Husker football team will be headed back to the Holiday Bowl and take on USC. Executive director Bruce Benkowski is thrilled with the matchup.  It will present a rare opportunity for this San Diego bowl. It will be played in prime time on Saturday the 27th.

Our first look at USC. They finished 8-4 on the season and in fourth place in the Pac-12 South with a 6-3 conference record. They beat coach Riley and the Oregon State Beavers 35-10 back in late September. Each team played Fresno State. The Trojan opened the season at home against the Bulldogs with a 52-13 win. The Huskers beat Fresno two weeks later 55-19. They had wins over then 13th ranked Stanford and the South’s division champion Arizona, ranked 10th at the time.

Barney Cotton will coach the team in the bowl game. No word yet on Mike Riley’s coaching staff, but four Oregon State assistant coaches flew into Lincoln last night.

Listen to the Big Red Report

Chatman helps Creighton sink Nebraska 65-55 for fourth straight time

It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t the high-flying offensive display that his Creighton teams had seen in three previous wins over Nebraska. But Bluejays head coach Greg McDermott couldn’t have been more pleased with his team’s effort to make it a fourth straight victory over their in-state foe.

“It’s  a heck of a win for us, at this stage of the season with this group of guys,” McDermott said. “To come on the road against a team as good as Nebraska and really execute our game plan almost to perfection.”

” I am very proud of my team. We beat a heck of a basketball team tonight.”

Terran Petteway slams it home in the second half of Nebraska's 65-55 loss to Creighton PHOTO COURTESY: HUSKERS.COM

Terran Petteway slams it home in the second half of Nebraska’s 65-55 loss to Creighton

Trailing 24-14 after a jumper from Nebraska’s David Rivers, Creighton responded with a 10-0 run over the next 3:40 to tie the game on a three-pointer from Avery Dingman with 1:48 left before halftime. Although Terran Petteway’s shot from just inside the three-point line gave Nebraska a 28-27 lead heading to halftime, the Jays had closed the half on a 13-4 run that tightened up a game that the Huskers had thought they could blow open.

It wasn’t meant to be though according to Petteway, as Creighton kept making shot after shot.

“You have to give those guys credit. They shot the lights out,” Petteway said. “We didn’t play good enough defense. When you give a team like that open looks, they build momentum and keep knocking them down back to back.”

Creighton’s formula for success was able to stymie Nebraska once again and hand the Huskers just their second loss in 21 all-time games at the Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Jays made 10-of-23 three-point attempts, dished out 15 assists on 24 made field goals, and held Nebraska to just 37.7% shooting from the field as they won for the fourth straight time in the series. Senior Austin Chatman was fantastic for Creighton, with 19 points, seven rebounds, and six assists.

“”We just tried to keep the ball out of Petteway and Shields’ hands and make the other guys score and I think we did a good job of that going into late in the second half,” Chatman said.

Creighton's Austin Chatman scores two of his team-high 19 points in the Bluejays' 65-55 win over the Huskers PHOTO COURTESY: GOCREIGHTON.COM

Creighton’s Austin Chatman scores two of his team-high 19 points in the Bluejays’ 65-55 win over the Huskers

Despite the early ten-point deficit, Chatman noted that the Jays didn’t get rattled after they faced an even bigger hole against Oklahoma two weeks prior.

“We’ve been at that point before, down 18 against Oklahoma. We stayed resilient, kept our composure, and got stops on the defensive end when we had to.”

Nebraska head coach Tim Miles had high praise for the Creighton senior.

“Austin Chatman is outstanding. He’s a really good player in any league,” Miles said.

Nebraska held a one point lead at halftime at 28-27 and would eventually extend their lead to as many as five points on three separate occasions, but a 13-3 run keyed by three pointers from Chatman, Isaiah Zierden, and Rick Kreklow put Creighton ahead to stay at 44-39 with 11:13 remaining. Nebraska would get to within one point on several occasions, but the Bluejays always had an answer before pulling away in the final two minutes.

Petteway had a game-high 21 points for the Huskers, but the junior was 8-of-20 from the field and 4-of-11 on three-point attempts, while only making 1-of-2 from the free throw line. A big reason for Creighton’s success was their game plan against Nebraska’s Shavon Shields, who struggled to a 3-of-10 night from the floor and finished with just seven points.

“Shields is obviously a little more choosey and efficient sometimes with his shot selection. So we just didn’t want to give him rhythm, we wanted to plug up those lanes especially when he was going to that right hand where he is so good,” McDermott said.  “But let’s be honest, he missed a few that he normally makes. So to win a game like this, you need a little luck as well.”

Forward David Rivers had nine points and a game-high eight rebounds for the Huskers in a losing effort, who also got eight points from guard Benny Parker and the seven from Shields. The 55 points for Nebraska is the lowest they’ve had in a game this season, although they were held to 53 points in regulation during their other loss this season, a 66-62 setback at Rhode Island in overtime on November 22.

Miles also lamented the continued rough patch for forward Walter Pitchford, who was 1-of-9 from the floor and 0-of-5 from three-point range. After a couple of good outings against Omaha and Florida State, Miles felt like Pitchford was rounding into form after a tough start to the 2014-15 season.

Terran Petteway looks to shoot Nebraska back into the game late in the second half against Creighton PHOTO COURTESY: HUSKERS.COM

Terran Petteway looks to shoot Nebraska back into the game late in the second half against Creighton

“I thought Walt was getting better. I really did. But tonight he just wasn’t getting there. If I knew that answer, I would have solved it two and a half weeks ago,” Miles said. “I thought we had him back because he played two pretty decent games, but then again tonight he struggled.”

“His defense isn’t as good when his offense isn’t there. That has to be firmed up.”

Creighton outrebounded Nebraska 36-33 and connected on 47 percent of their shots from the floor, the highest shooting percentage Nebraska has allowed another team this season. The Huskers’ inability to connect from three-point range by making only 6-of-23 from deep and only 3-of-8 from the free throw line added up to the worst offensive performance of the season in a game it desperately wanted. The loss means the Bluejays have now won four straight in the I-80 series, with all four of those wins coming by double digits.

“I thought we were ready to play. It’s not that. We just weren’t able to take away the things they were able to take away from us,” Miles said.

“This is an unbelievable win for us in front of this crowd. It is incredible to have to programs in this state to fill their arenas and their fans are so engaged in their basketball teams the way these two are,” McDermott said.

Zierden added 13 points for the Bluejays, including 3-of-6 from three-point range to help Creighton shoot past the Huskers in the second half. Kreklow, a transfer from California-Berkeley, finished with nine points and Will Artino finished with eight points for the Jays.

The win moves Creighton to 7-2 on the season, while Nebraska slips to 5-2 with the loss. The Huskers host Incarnate Word on Wednesday night, while Creighton is back in action on Tuesday, hosting South Dakota at the Century Link Center.


Huskers return to the San Diego to face USC in the Holiday Bowl

Holiday Bowl

Holiday Bowl

The Husker football team will face USC in the Holiday Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 27, making it the third trip to that bowl game in the last five years.  NU beat Arizona 33-0 in 2009 and losing to Steve Sarkisian’s Washington team 19-7 in 2010.

The Trojans, now coached by Sarkisian, have an 8-4 record and finished the regular season ranked 24th in the AP poll, one spot ahead of the Huskers, who went 9-3.

Barney Cotton will coach the Huskers in the bowl game, despite the team naming Mike Riley their new head coach on Friday.