IOWA CITY — Nebraska needed a go-to scorer this season, and sophomore Terran Petteway has filled that role rather nicely for the Cornhuskers.
The 6-foot-6 combo guard leads Nebraska (8-4) with 17.3 points per game. Only once has Petteway scored in single digits, and he posts his best offensive numbers against Nebraska’s best competition.
Petteway, a Texas Tech transfer, scored a career-high 30 points in a 96-90 loss to UMass. He scored 21 against Creighton and hit 4-of-5 from 3-point range for 22 points against Cincinnati. The Cornhuskers open Big Ten play at Iowa (6 p.m. Tuesday BTN).
“Petteway is really a unique player,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said. “I really like his game because he’s sort of relentless and he’s multidimensional. So when you sort of have that attack mentality and you can get to the rim, that’s one thing. But if you can also shoot 3s and you can also drive and dunk the ball, and you can play in half-court, you can play in transition, that’s a tough battle for any defense that’s going to prepare for him throughout the season.”
A fair comparison for Petteway is Iowa senior Devyn Marble. Both are built similarly and score at a comparable rate. Both lead their teams in steals as well.
“Marble is one of the best players in the league, easily,” Petteway said. “He does it all. I think he leads them in points, assists and free-throw attempts. He’s a good player.”
“He’s really crafty,” McCaffery said of Petteway. “He kind of floats around, and then he goes by you. He’ll float around and you relax and he shoots a 3 right in your face. Then he gets a head of steam on the break and raises up and dunks the ball like any NBA all-star would do. When you’re looking at him, 6-6, 210-215 pounds, whatever he is, he’s a handful. He plays the game, I think, at a great pace. He really understands how to play, he understands how he fits in Tim’s system.”
Petteway played in 28 games, with 11 starts, at Texas Tech in 2011-12. He averaged 3.1 points a game before transferring to Nebraska and sitting out last season.
Petteway is one of two transfers in the starting lineup for Nebraska. Center Water Pitchford V, who left Florida after one year, is a 6-foot-10 inside-outside threat. Pitchford averages 8.4 points and 4.5 rebounds a game.
Two starters remain from last season. Guard Ray Gallegos, who hit seven 3-pointer against Iowa in the regular-season finale last year, averages 8.7 points. Forward Shavon Shields scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds in a 64-60 win against Iowa to earn Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors. Shields scored 28 points against Florida Gulf Coast in this year’s season opener.
Nebraska’s other starter is freshman guard Tai Webster (6.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.5 apg).
“Gallegos is a guy who made seven 3s against us,” McCaffery said. “He’s a guy that’s going to get your full attention. He’s an upperclassman. Then you look at Petteway and Pitchford, two guys that were sitting out last year, have really been impressive. Petteway is one of the more explosive players in our league. Pitchford is a unique big guy who can play out or in.
“Shields, I think, is a guy who has taken his game to the next level. You saw it in both games against us, he was very good. He’s a sophomore now playing like an experienced guy. They’ve got some other pieces that you have to be impressed with.”
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