Husker Notes and Quotes - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Husker Notes and Quotes

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Notes
*-Nebraska collected its second win over an AP Top-10 team this season, the fifth time in school history that has happened and the first time since 1993-94
*-Nebraska clinches sole possession of fourth place in the Big Ten standings, its best conference finish since 1997-98. Nebraska closed the regular season with eight wins in the last nine games and went 10-2 after a 1-5 start to Big Ten play.
*-Nebraska finishes with an 11-7 Big Ten record, matching the third-most conference wins by a Husker team in school history. It is the most since the 1965-66 team won 12 games in the Big Eight
*-Nebraska improves to 15-1 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, its best home mark since going 17-1 in 1982-83
*-Nebraska snaps a five-game losing streak to Wisconsin dating back to 1992
*-Shavon Shields finished with 26 points, his fourth 20-point game of the season.
*-Terran Petteway had 26 points, his 11th 20-point game of the season. He also finished with 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the year.  

Head Coach Tim Miles
Opening Statement:
"First of all, I just wanted to say that I thought that was one of the more exciting environments that a guy can experience, or a team can experience, or a fan can experience in college basketball. If you would've told me that was the way it was going to be last year when we played Southern in the Devaney Center, I wouldn't have believed you. But that's what we want Husker basketball to be about, and that's what we want it to continue to be about. We've had a good run, a really good run, but we're only halfway through the journey. With that, I'll take any questions."

On if Nebraska is in the NCAA Tournament or not:
"Well first of all, it's out of my control. I think it's a great win, I mean, I don't think they've lost to anybody like us. 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.'"

On if he felt that Ray Gallegos' late three that gave Nebraska the lead put the team over the hump for good:
"Yeah, it is funny. We called a different play, maybe I already told you, but we called a different play and I said to Shavon (Shields), 'What about this play?', and he goes, 'That's a great idea.' So we ran it, and they really guarded it pretty well, and then he just took a side dribble, got a little space and hit it. I just think it did so much good for the team because those guys pull for Ray like crazy, and I think everybody, from that moment, that was a real defining moment in the game. Then I think we made a couple more after that and got to the rim and made some of our free throws, so it was a big play."

On if he thinks that Nebraska passes the eye test for the selection committee:
"I would say we have big, athletic guards who accelerate well. We play really good defense, you know, I think we have some athleticism. I know we only had five guys score tonight, but at the same time, we're not even close to playing our best basketball. We still can get better offensively. I thought our second-half defense was really good, despite those first three minutes. They pass my eye test, but I wear bifocals."

On the defensive issues in the first half:
"It was ironic. We're doubling anybody in the post, right? We're just kind of coming off and raiding because we wanted to try and make a mess of the paint. So even if Traevon Jackson was going to post up on Benny (Parker), we'd leave a guy. And those guys are so crafty, (Josh) Gasser, (Ben) Brust and (Traevon) Jackson, at finding those guys on the weak-side or on top, and the guys just felt like they were behind everything. Shavon comes in and goes, 'What in the world are we doing doubling, we don't need to double those guys!', and I'm like, 'Well, who do you want to double?' He goes, 'Let's double (Nigel) Hayes and (Frank) Kaminsky,' and I'm like, 'well, then we have to double (Sam) Dekker. I don't like our matchup on Dekker, so those three guys and that's it. Until they hurt us.' We go out and they don't hurt us and we get out to their three-point shooters, because, at that time, they were 5-for-7 from threes. So then in the second-half, of course, Jackson posts up and crotches a layup and there's a TV timeout because the ball goes out of bounds, and Shields comes sprinting over because he's happy, 'See! I told you!' You know what I mean, he just rubs it in. You know, as a coach, you don't rub it in. You just take it with some class and dignity, but he wasn't ready to listen to that."

On what grade the crowd received for tonight's performance:
"They got an A++, they got the Ralphie. A+++++.

Nebraska Players, Shavon Shields, Terran Petteway and Walter Pitchford 

On if the environment at Pinnacle Bank Arena
(Shavon Shields) "Come on now. You know that's number one. Fans were in it tonight. They stayed in it the whole time and we really appreciate their support all season."

On if they were aware that a win gave them the No. 4 seed in the Big Ten Tournament
(Shields) "Yeah, we did. Win the game and get in the tournament - that's all we were focused on. We should approach it the same way no matter what. We should approach it the same way no matter what. We are trying to a game no matter what. It's not like we knew Ohio State loss, so we can lose. We still have goals that we need to get to. So, if we come in relaxed and it doesn't matter if we lose - we're still gonna get the four seed - that's a terrible attitude to come in with."

On what the crowd at PBA meant this year
(Shields) "Huge. Huge! I mean, it just really brings energy and I feel like it takes players out of what they want to do if they are opposing. The free throws - Wisconsin is a really good free throw shooting team - and I think the crowd effected them on a couple of those. So, just little things like that really feed of us and catapult us. Definitely just feed of the energy they bring us. We want to perform for them. They've been behind us through thick and thin. So, we just feed off them."

On Wisconsin and how tough they were
"I mean, they are ninth in the country. They are a tough team to play. I don't know what else to say about it. They execute on offense really well. They give you different looks defensively that were not really accustomed to. We stayed on the attack and got stops when we needed them. We finally slowed them up in the second half after playing terrible defense in the first half. But we finally slowed them up and got the win."

On what changed defensively in the second half
(Shields) "We got to take a stand (on defense)." (Terran Petteway) "We just calmed down and had a little bit more poise than we did in the first half."

On if the changes made on defense were technical
(Petteway) "No, we just had to calm down. As you could see, it was pretty emotional every one was trying to hide their nose and just take a deep breath."

On if they feel they are an NCAA Tournament team now
(Petteway) "Most definitely. We beat the number nine team in the country. I think we should be in, but that isn't up to us. We just need to keep playing and doing our job and everything else will come." 

On how they felt after offensively despite not getting to the free throw line in the first half
(Petteway) "Once we took the lead in the second half, we told ourselves in the huddle we weren't giving the lead back up and that's what we did and got the win."

On if Petteway attacking the basket more in the second half was by design
(Petteway) "That was pretty much what we practiced all week preparing for them because we know they like to show and then back up. So, we were planning on just going into them and getting 44 into foul trouble, which is what we did. So, that was all in the game plan."

On the similarities of this team and his former Florida team
(Pitchford) "They were both different. They are a great team. We're a really good team. We still need to work on some things but we are playing together and..." (Petteway) "We are meshing at the right time - coming together at the right time." (Shields) "You could kind of tell at the start of the season and at the start of the conference season we were all kind of on our own agendas and didn't really know how to play with each other and what each other was doing. Now we are really playing off each other and playing for each other and playing together. We've really bought into the 'US ALWAYS' and ever since that meeting we had that we got to be together, we've really taken off." (Petteway) "I don't know if you guys see it, but it's a lot of fun out there."

On what the meeting was about
(Petteway) "Changing the attitude of the program and changing the attitude of how you come to practice everyday. In order to get better, you got to be willing to be coached. That's really what changed with our whole team is staying together." (Shields) "Be there for each other. How can I be a better teammate? How can I be a better player today? Just coming to practice with that attitude everyday and just keep getting better, keep getting better, keep getting better. Because we still have a lot to improve on in order to get to where we want to go, so we just got to keep it going and not let our heads get big and stay modest and keep our underdog thing going."

On if they played a perfect game tonight
(Shields) "No. We still got some people we want to get going. Some things we want to get going. Play a full 40 minutes solid. We had some pretty bad lapses today." (Petteway) "I think once that happens everybody will know."

On if there was a particular defensive stop they were proud of
(Shields) "Benny (Parker) got that stop in the post and we got that tie up." (Petteway) "If you see everybody tries to post Benny up, but he's a strong guy. I haven't seen one guy post him up all year, so once he comes in, I know we are getting stops."

On if this is the craziest environment he's every played in
(Petteway) "Most definitely. Coming from where I came from. This tops it all."

On if they noticed everyone standing
(Petteway) "Yea, I noticed it and when I rushed the court my brother Mike was the first person I saw coming in the middle of the crowd - that was crazy." (Shields) "My ears started to hurt. I got out right away. I just ran around the court. It was loud!"

On if Mike Pelz's pregame proposal to his girlfriend was a secret
"(Walter Pitchford) knew, because they are roommates, but the rest of us didn't know." (Shields) "We asked Mike, 'What are you going to say in your speech.' and he said, 'I got something big for you guys.' and that was all he would say. I said, 'You got to tell me, are you going to cry on me?' (Petteway) That kind of got everybody going." (Shields) "That was crazy. I'm happy for him."

On what the two seniors - Mike Pelz and Ray Gallegos - mean to the team
(Petteway) "They mean a lot. Ray and Pelz - they do their jobs. They come in and do their jobs every single day. Ray, when we are open he is going to shoot the ball. It doesn't matter if he missed ten shots in a row, we are going to keep shooting. Pelz makes us better in practice every day. That's what he does. Makes us better every day.  

Wisconsin's Head Coach Bo Ryan 
On keeping Nebraska out of the lane
:
"Well, we took the lane away a lot in the second half, unless I'm reading these (stats) wrong and unless I need to get $2 glasses. We made an improvement in second half points, in the paint and fourteen of those free-throws came at the end when we were fouling to try and get on the lefthand side."

On Wisconsin's missed free-throws:
"Yeah, we missed a few in there."

On the crowd's influence:
"We were at Virginia when they had maybe 18 thousand, and we've played at Ohio State. These guys have all played in pretty big places. This is the Big Ten. Have you ever been to the other places? Or do they just keep you here? Do you get to travel? Some people do local TV and don't go to the other Big Ten games."

On the new environment:
"It's not new to us. You'd have to live the lives these guys live, going into the places we go into."

On Wisconsin's 40-32 second-half lead:
"Well, we hit some shots and they regrouped and shut down some things. Then they hit some shots. Playing from behind, we had a couple chances there. We were biting into their lead and we missed a few free-throws, as you said. The guys kept playing hard, though."

On defending Shavon Shields:
"Well, you can simulate what some guys do in practice, but we had a couple guys who just didn't shut some things down on the angles. Once it gets started, a guy feels he can do anything. It's like some of our guys. If you let them get started, they can make some really good things happen. It's a team defensive thing. But they've done it to other people, so it's not like we're the first team to come in here and not stop certain guys."

On the loss affecting Wisconsin's hunt for a number-one seed:
"I don't even know what that is. I don't even know what you're talking about. You guys don't know me. The number one seed for what? We're the number two seed in the Big Ten Tournament. That's the only thing I know."

On Nebraska being NCAA-Tournament worthy:
"Well, sure. That's not even a question in my mind when you play like that in this league. I remember when we were picked last and we tied for the championship. There were still people to the end, until we won our last couple games, like, 'Do you think you'll make the tournament?' We're trying to win the Big Ten. Tim (Miles) was telling me about all the questions you were asking him. All Tim wanted to do was win this 40 minutes. He's like me. Live in the moment. That's how you get to last this long. Tim's young, but he'll last a long time because he's got the right approach. He's got a sense of humor and he's competitive. We could be brothers in another life."

On Sam Dekker settling for difficult shots:
"You know, I never pick apart a player in a press conference. He's got things to work on like a lot of our other guys. You'd have to ask him."

Courtesy UNL Sports Information

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