Published Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 10:03 pm / Updated at 10:14 pm
Huskers will use team effort to replace Biggs' production
Indiana at Nebraska
When: 7:15 Thursday
Where: Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln
Radio: 1110 AM KFAB

Nebraska (10-9, 2-5)
F Walter Pitchford, 6-10, So., 8.2
F Shavon Shields, 6-7, So., 11.0
G Terran Petteway, 6-6, So., 18.2
G Ray Gallegos, 6-2, Sr., 8.1
G Tai Webster, 6-4, Fr., 5.6

Indiana (13-7, 3-4)
F Noah Vonleh, 6-10, Fr., 12.0
F Will Sheehey, 6-7, Sr., 10.1
F Troy Williams, 6-7, Fr., 7.1
G Stanford Robinson, 6-4, Fr., 5.9
G Yogi Ferrell, 6-0, So., 17.5

Ľ The Huskers still haven't won back-to-back games in Big Ten play since joining the league three years ago.
Ľ Miles owns a coaching victory over Crean when both were at different schools. Miles' North Dakota State team upset Crean's No. 8 Marquette in 2006.
Ľ Indiana starts three freshmen and a sophomore. Freshman forward Noah Vonleh is projected as a top 10 pick in the June NBA draft.
Ľ Nebraska upset then-No. 11 Indiana 70-69 two years ago in Lincoln. The Hoosiers lead the all-time series 9-2. NU's other victory was in 1920.

LINCOLN — This week, the Nebraska men's basketball team removed 9.9 points and 20.5 minutes of prime backcourt playing time from its rotation with the dismissal of Deverell Biggs.

Makes sense that the Huskers (10-9, 2-5), who host Indiana (13-7, 3-4) on Thursday night, would need current starting point guard Tai Webster to crank up his output.

Except NU coach Tim Miles doesn't see it that way.

“I don't think there is more onus on him,” Miles said Wednesday. “Tai just needs to continually get better. It's that simple.

“We don't need more out of him. We certainly don't need less. But we need to just collectively as a team grow up and understand what successful basketball looks like.”

Webster's true freshman season has been marked by fits and spurts.

The 6-foot-4, 194-pounder from Auckland, New Zealand, had 14 points and three assists in a win over Georgia. He had two points and three turnovers in 33 minutes in a loss at Creighton. And he had five points, four assists and two steals in a win over Minnesota.

For the season, Webster's averages are 5.6 points, 2.6 assists and 2.3 turnovers while shooting 34.1 percent from the field, 21.7 percent on 3s and 59.7 percent on free throws.

Biggs, booted for disciplinary reasons, will be missed.

“There are games we won that if we don't have Deverell, we don't win,” Miles said. “He's a guy who can get his own shot and is electric with the ball. We don't have another guy who is going to do that.

“That concerns me as a coach. But we just have to become something else. You don't have to play basketball one way.”

Sophomore guard Benny Parker and junior forward David Rivers will eat up Biggs' minutes. When Rivers plays, 6-6 guard Terran Petteway could see time at point guard.

Petteway climbed to No. 3 in Big Ten scoring at 18.2 points a game with his 35-point outburst against Minnesota. That matched the 10th highest-scoring game in NU history.

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“He's absolutely fearless,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “He plays both ends of the floor extremely well and is very aggressive. Very good skill set, very good size.

“He plays extremely hard, but more than that, he appears extremely competitive. He's going to be very tough to deal with.”

Crean also has noticed Nebraska's success rate at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Huskers are 9-1 at home, with the only loss 71-70 to Big Ten leader Michigan. Sunday's 82-78 win over Minnesota caught the Hoosier coach's eye.

“I thought that was their best game ... when they were playing without the young man who has been dismissed from the team,” Crean said. “To me, I think they are going to get better and better.

“They are averaging 73 points a game at home. They play very fast at home, and get out on the break. Like everyone else in the Big Ten, they are really, really good and there is a little something special when you're at home.”

Contact the writer: Lee Barfknecht    |   402-444-1024    |  

Lee Barfknecht has won nine national writing awards from four separate organizations, and is a 12-time winner of the Nebraska sportswriter of the year award. He covers Big Ten football and basketball, Nebraska basketball and other college financial issues for The World-Herald.

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