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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 12, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pinnacle Bank Arena (15,000) -- Lincoln, Nebraska. Television: BTDN. Home Record: WIU 0-0, Nebraska 1-0. Away Record: WIU 0-1, Nebraska 0-0. Neutral Record: WIU 0-0, Nebraska 0-0. Conference Record: WIU 0-0, Nebraska 0-0. Series Record: Nebraska leads, 4-0.
GAME NOTES: The Nebraska Cornhuskers play the middle leg of a three-game homestand to begin the 2013-14 season, as they welcome the Western Illinois Leathernecks to Lincoln on Tuesday evening.
Nebraska opened Pinnacle Bank Arena with an impressive rout of 2013 NCAA Tournament darling Florida Gulf Coast in the season opener, 79-55. The win was encouraging on a number of fronts for a team that finished last season just 15-18 in Tim Miles' first season at the helm.
Jim Molinari's sixth season with the Leathernecks got off to a disappointing start, as Western Illinois opened up with a 67-63 road loss at Idaho. The Leathernecks are coming off two highly successful seasons, posting 40 victories and two postseason appearances over that time, including a 22-9 mark a year ago, good for a share of the Summit League regular-season crown.
Nebraska has won all four previous matchups with Western Illinois, but this is the first meeting since the 2001-02 season.
Freshman forward Garret Covington had a strong collegiate debut for Western Illinois, netting a game-high 22 points, but it wasn't enough as the Leathernecks dropped a hard-fought decision to the Vandals last Saturday. Covington was 6-of-12 from the floor in the game and 8-of-11 from the free- throw line. Tate Stensgaard and Remy Roberts-Burnett added 11 and 10 points, respectively, while Adam Link led the team with 10 rebounds. WIU shot 44.9 percent from the floor, fueled by a strong second half that saw the team convert 12-of-22 shots (.545). Still, the team struggled from long range, with a 2-of-11 showing from behind the arc. The Leathernecks were also beaten on the boards, getting outrebounded, 35-24.
For a team that averaged just 58.8 points per game last season, the 79 points Nebraska put up on Florida Gulf Coast has to be encouraging. The Cornhuskers did so without top returning scorer Ray Gallegos in the lineup, as Shavon Shields, son of former NFL great Will Shields, filled the void and erupted for 28 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Newcomer Terran Petteway added 17 points to finish in double figures as well. Overall, Nebraska was able to convert 52.1 percent of its shots, including half of its 10 3-point attempts. Another plus for the team was its ability to get to the free-throw line, making 31 trips to the charity stripe and outscoring FGCU 24-11 in free throws. Shields' offensive explosion was a welcome sight and needed once again as Gallegos will complete a two-game suspension against the Leathernecks.
Tim Miles is going for career win number 300 in this contest and should have little trouble reaching that milestone, behind the play of Shields and company.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Nebraska 71, Western Illinois 54
11/12 10:38:20 ET
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