Husker hoops debut at Pinnacle Bank Arena
Story and Photos By T.J. Henning, NewsNetNebraska
The opening day for most college sports teams is filled with excitement and anticipation. Coaches want players to work hard, have fun and avoid injuries. Almost all of those things happened Friday during the University of Nebraska men’s basketball team scrimmage at the Pinnacle Bank Arena.
“Yeah, almost,” Senior Guard Ray Gallegos chuckled.
Aside from a Shavon Shields deep tail bone bruise that will keep him out of practice for the next couple of days everything went well for the Husker men’s basketball team. There were plenty of alley-oops and deep three pointers made as the crowd of around 7,500 showed up to watch the team scrimmage.
Good time, good crowd
Head Coach Tim Miles used a live wireless mic to announce the first half of the scrimmage. He made jokes with players and asked them questions while they played. One of the biggest laughs from the crowd came when Miles asked one of the referees where he worked. He replied by saying for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Miles smartly replied, “You’ll be reffing every game then.”
Before the scrimmage, the men’s team held a private two hour practice. What the players didn’t know was that the line outside Pinnicle Bank Arena stretched all the way to 7th street.
Lincoln’s Mary Menebroker has been a season ticketholder since the Cornhuskers played in the Nebraska Coliseum.”Oh, this is wonderful, very exciting. I love basketball so this is a very exciting time,” Menebroker said.
Jeremy Shipe sat in the red zone where the students sit. The red zone is located behind the two team’s benches now instead of on the sides like in the Devaney Sports Center. He came away very impressed with the new arena.
“I like the new floor design. I’m liking the small “N” with the Nebraska state on there rather than the big “N” before,” Shipe said. “It feels a lot like the Century Link Center.”
The event started with the players introducing themselves followed by the coaches. Then the a 15 minute first half scrimmage was played which started off with an alley-oop to Sophmore Walter Pitchford. Pitchford led all players with ten points.
During the break there was a brief dunk and three point contest. Freshman New Zealand Guard Tai Webster hit the game winning shot to put the red team ahead 39-37 over the white team.
General Manger of Pinnacle Bank Tom Lorenz said it takes two and half hours to set-up the basketball court at the Arena and about two hours to take down. He said the first two concerts at Pinnacle Bank Arena have have, “gone great. We’re very pleased how everything has flowed together.”
Friday night everything seemed to flow well for the players on the court and for the coaches too.
“It was awesome. It really was a lot of fun,” Miles said. “There was certainly a palpable amount of energy that you could feel in there that was different.”