Huskers set to open season against Florida team
One of the most anticipated Nebraska basketball seasons in recent memory gets underway Friday night, as the Huskers host 2013 NCAA Sweet 16 participant Florida Gulf Coast in Game One presented by Ameritas at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Tipoff is set for shortly after 8 p.m. (central) and the game will be televised nationally on BTN with Tom Hamilton and Jim Jackson on the call. The matchup with the Eagles will also be available online and on smart phones on BTN2GO.
Friday's season opener will also be carried across the state on the 27-station Husker Sports Network with Kent Pavelka and Matt Davison calling all of the action. The game can be heard for free on Huskers.com and is available on the Huskers' app on iOS or android devices.
A sellout crowd of over 15,000 is expected for the first game in Pinnacle Bank Arena, a $179 million dollar facility in the Haymarket District. Fans are encouraged to be seated by 7:45 p.m. for pregame ceremonies. Friday's crowd is expected to break the single-game school attendance mark of 15,038 set during the 1980-81 season.
Husker fans may want to invest in a program Friday night, as the second edition of Tim Miles' team will look radically different than a year ago. The 2013-14 Nebraska squad features five newcomers, as well as three players who sat out last season. Of Nebraska's 12 scholarship players, 10 are in their first or second year at Nebraska.
The Huskers tuned up for Friday's opener with a 91-60 win over Division II Nebraska-Kearney Monday night. The 91 points were the most points Nebraska scored in an exhibition since 2002, and would have topped NU's season high during last season (89 vs. Central Michigan). Nebraska shot 51 percent from the floor and had five players in double figures, led by Shavon Shields' 16 points on 7-of-7 shooting from the floor. Newcomers Tai Webster (12 points), Leslee Smith (12), Terran Petteway (10) and Nick Fuller (10) joined Shields in double figures, while 12 of the 13 players who saw action broke into the scoring column.
Florida Gulf Coast poses a strong test for the Big Red, as the Eagles welcome back four starters from a team that won 26 games and reached the NCAA 16 last season. FGCU earned the moniker Dunk City following impressive double-figure NCAA Tournament wins over Georgetown and San Diego State and welcomes back starting guards Brett Comer and Bernard Thompson as well as forward Chase Fieler. Comer ranked among the national leaders last year in assists with 244, while Thompson and Fieler averaged 14.3 and 12.1 points per game, respectively, in 2012-13.
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