Husker Notes and Quotes
*-Nebraska collected its second win over an AP Top-10 team this season, thefifth 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 seasonwith eight wins in the last nine games and went 10-2 after a 1-5 start to BigTen play.
*-Nebraska finishes with an 11-7 Big Ten record, matching the third-mostconference wins by a Husker team in school history. It is the most since the1965-66 team won 12 games in the Big Eight
*-Nebraska improves to 15-1 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, its best home mark sincegoing 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 theseason.
*-Terran Petteway had 26 points, his 11th 20-point game of theseason. He also finished with 10 rebounds for his second double-double of theyear.
Head Coach Tim Miles
"First of all, I just wanted to say that I thought that wasone of the more exciting environments that a guy can experience, or a team canexperience, or a fan can experience in college basketball. If you would've toldme that was the way it was going to be last year when we played Southern in theDevaney Center, I wouldn't have believed you. But that's what we want Huskerbasketball 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 thejourney. 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, Imean, I don't think they've lost to anybody like us. I think we've put togethera pretty impressive run. I think anybody that would be on the committee andwatched that game would think, 'Hey, they're pretty good.'"
On if he felt that Ray Gallegos' late three that gave Nebraska thelead put the team over the hump for good:
"Yeah, it is funny. We called a different play, maybe Ialready 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 weran it, and they really guarded it pretty well, and then he just took a sidedribble, got a little space and hit it. I just think it did so much good forthe 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 wemade a couple more after that and got to the rim and made some of our freethrows, so it was a big play."
On if he thinks that Nebraska passes the eye test for theselection committee:
"I would say we have big, athletic guards who accelerate well. We playreally good defense, you know, I think we have some athleticism. I know we onlyhad five guys score tonight, but at the same time, we're not even close toplaying our best basketball. We still can get better offensively. I thought oursecond-half defense was really good, despite those first three minutes. Theypass 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 kindof coming off and raiding because we wanted to try and make a mess of thepaint. So even if Traevon Jackson was going to post up on Benny (Parker), we'dleave 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 theguys 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. Untilthey hurt us.' We go out and they don't hurt us and we get out to theirthree-point shooters, because, at that time, they were 5-for-7 from threes. Sothen in the second-half, of course, Jackson posts up and crotches a layup andthere's a TV timeout because the ball goes out of bounds, and Shields comessprinting over because he's happy, 'See! I told you!' You know what I mean, hejust rubs it in. You know, as a coach, you don't rub it in. You just take itwith 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 WalterPitchford
On if the environment at Pinnacle Bank Arena
(Shavon Shields) "Comeon now. You know that's number one. Fans were in it tonight. Theystayed in it the whole time and we really appreciate their support allseason."
On if they were awarethat a win gave them the No. 4 seed in the Big Ten Tournament
(Shields) "Yeah, wedid. Win the game and get in the tournament - that's all we were focused on. Weshould approach it the same way no matter what. We should approach it the sameway no matter what. We are trying to a game no matter what. It's not likewe knew Ohio State loss, so we can lose. We still have goals that we need toget to. So, if we come in relaxed and it doesn't matter if we lose - we'restill 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 justreally brings energy and I feel like it takes players out of what they want todo if they are opposing. The free throws - Wisconsin is a really good freethrow shooting team - and I think the crowd effected them on a couple ofthose. 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 teamto play. I don't know what else to say about it. They execute on offense reallywell. They give you different looks defensively that were not really accustomedto. We stayed on the attack and got stops when we needed them. We finallyslowed them up in the second half after playing terrible defense in the firsthalf. 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 (ondefense)." (TerranPetteway) "We just calmed down and had a little bit morepoise than we did in the first half."
On if the changes made on defense were technical
(Petteway) "No, we just had to calm down. Asyou could see, it was pretty emotional every one was trying to hide theirnose and just take a deep breath."
On if they feel they are an NCAA Tournament team now
(Petteway) "Most definitely. We beat thenumber nine team in the country. I think we should be in, but that isn't up tous. We just need to keep playing and doing our job and everything else willcome."
On how they felt after offensively despite not getting to thefree throw line in the first half
(Petteway) "Once we took the lead in thesecond half, we told ourselves in the huddle we weren't giving the leadback up and that's what we did and got the win."
On if Petteway attacking the basket more in the second half was bydesign
(Petteway) "That was pretty much what wepracticed all week preparing for them because we know they like to show andthen back up. So, we were planning on just going into them and getting 44into 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 areally good team. We still need to work on some things but we are playingtogether and..." (Petteway) "We are meshing at the right time -coming together at the right time." (Shields) "You could kind of tellat the start of the season and at the start of the conference season we wereall kind of on our own agendas and didn't really know how to play with eachother and what each other was doing. Now we are really playing off each otherand 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 theprogram and changing the attitude of how you come to practice everyday. Inorder to get better, you got to be willing to be coached. That's really whatchanged with our whole team is staying together." (Shields) "Be therefor each other. How can I be a better teammate? How can I be a better playertoday? Just coming to practice with that attitude everyday and just keepgetting better, keep getting better, keep getting better. Because we still havea lot to improve on in order to get to where we want to go, so we just got tokeep it going and not let our heads get big and stay modest and keep ourunderdog thing going."
On if they played a perfect game tonight
(Shields) "No. We still got some people wewant to get going. Some things we want to get going. Play a full 40 minutessolid. We had some pretty bad lapses today." (Petteway) "I thinkonce that happens everybody will know."
On if there was a particular defensive stop they were proud of
(Shields) "Benny (Parker) got that stop inthe post and we got that tie up." (Petteway) "If you see everybodytries to post Benny up, but he's a strong guy. I haven't seen one guy post himup 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 fromwhere I came from. This tops it all."
On if they noticed everyone standing
(Petteway) "Yea, I noticed it and when Irushed the court my brother Mike was the first person I saw coming in themiddle of the crowd - that was crazy." (Shields) "My ears started tohurt. 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
"(WalterPitchford) knew, because they are roommates, but the rest ofus didn't know." (Shields) "Weasked Mike, 'What are you going to say in your speech.' and he said, 'I gotsomething big for you guys.' and that was all he would say. I said, 'You got totell me, are you going to cry on me?' (Petteway) Thatkind of got everybody going." (Shields) "Thatwas crazy. I'm happy for him."
On what the two seniors - Mike Pelz and Ray Gallegos - mean to theteam
(Petteway) "They mean a lot. Ray and Pelz -they do their jobs. They come in and do their jobs every single day. Ray, whenwe are open he is going to shoot the ball. It doesn't matter if he missed tenshots in a row, we are going to keep shooting. Pelz makes us better in practiceevery day. That's what he does. Makes us better every day.
Wisconsin's Head Coach Bo Ryan
On keeping Nebraska outof the lane?:
"Well, we took the lane away a lot in the second half, unless I'mreading these (stats) wrong and unless I need to get $2 glasses. We made animprovement in second half points, in the paint and fourteen of thosefree-throws came at the end when we were fouling to try and get on the lefthandside."
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 18thousand, and we've played at Ohio State. These guys haveall played in pretty big places. This is the Big Ten. Have you ever beento 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 hada couple guys who just didn't shut some things down on the angles. Once it getsstarted, a guy feels he can do anything. It's like some of our guys. If you letthem get started, they can make some really good things happen. It's a teamdefensive thing. But they've done it to other people, so it's not like we'rethe 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'retalking about. You guys don't know me. The number one seed for what? We're thenumber 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 playlike that in this league. I remember when we were picked last and we tied forthe championship. There were still people to the end, until we won our lastcouple games, like, 'Do you think you'll make the tournament?' We're trying towin the Big Ten. Tim (Miles) was telling me about all the questions you wereasking him. All Tim wanted to do was win this 40 minutes. He's like me. Live inthe moment. That's how you get to last this long. Tim's young, but he'll last along time because he's got the right approach. He's got a sense of humor andhe'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'sgot things to work on like a lot of our other guys. You'd have to ask him."
Courtesy UNL Sports Information