Nebraska Sparks Hope for Future in Final Game at Devaney CenterIt was Senior Night.
It was also the last game the Huskers will ever play at the Devaney Center.
Three Nebraska seniors came up big in the second half of a win against expected NCAA tournament qualifier Minnesota. Brandon Ubel scored all of his team-high 15 points in the second half. Dylan Talley produced nine of his 12 points in the second half. And Andre Almeida added an unexpected contribution with four points, five rebounds and three blocks.
Many Husker hoops fans, who stormed the court after the win, hope this is a taste of the future as Nebraska ends a 37-year run at the Devaney and gets ready to play in the new Pinnacle Bank Arena next season. That idea isn’t so far-fetched to Nebraskans with transfers like Walter Pitchford and Terran Petteway being eligible to play next year along with incoming four-star freshman Tai Webster.
Nebraska head coach Tim Miles doesn’t want fans to go overboard though. Miles says that a team can’t change momentum overnight, but it can gain ground little by little. He says the program must take one step at a time.
A closer look at last night’s game and anyone can see what Miles means. Minnesota had plenty of chances to close the game. The Gophers got into the one-and-one with 10:23 left in the game but couldn’t capitalize only making 10 of 20 free throws. Even with the Gophers lackadaisical effort from the free throw line, Nebraska still needed four big free throws from Ubel to clinch the 53 to 51 victory.
Fans still believe that the basketball program will improve next season though. Previously mentioned Pitchford, Petteway and Webster bring much needed talent to a team that has been riddled with low expectations for years. But as seen before talent does not always equal success.
The Huskers have had years where it looked like talent would be coming in, only to see that talent fade in a Big Red uniform. David Rivers is the most recent name associated with talent who hasn’t lived up to fans expectations. While he did improve this year under coach Miles guidance, Rivers seems to be more of a role player.
Fans hope coach Miles can get stardom out of Pitchford, Petteway and Webster and strong role players in Rivers, Deverell Biggs and Ray Gallegos. Miles certainly has the coaching skills to achieve this after leading Colorado State to numerous NCAA tournament bids.
Many in the state also believe the new stadium will help energize the team.
“Who wouldn’t want to kick off a new arena with a big season,” Husker fan Aaron Glynn said.
While that is a good question, Nebraska fans will have to wait a few months to see what their team can deliver. Will it be another 14-16 type of season or will the Huskers finally break through and make it to the promised land called March Madness.
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