The game clock clicked down to 10, nine, eight, seven. Finally it dropped down to zero.
The Nebraska men’s basketball team had just won its first game of the season 66-55 in its home opener against Southern in front of 7,257 fans in attendance. The win also marked Tim Miles’ first victory as head coach at Nebraska.
Miles said coaching at the Bob Devaney Sports Center for a regular season game was something he’s been waiting to do since he was hired.
“I was just ready to coach the game,” he said. “I was excited … and we really want to come through for our fans and show them we can build a winner.”
The outcome in his first regular season game showed he’s ready for the challenge.
It didn’t take long for Nebraska settle in as NU forward Dylan Talley recorded the first points of the Nebraska season with a layup and a made foul shot to put his team up 3-0 to start the game. And the offense was just getting warmed up.
Freshman guard Benny Parker recorded his first points of his Husker career with a layup, while jumpers by seniors Talley and Brandon Ubel stretched the lead to 9-0.
The Husker offense was in full effect, and its success leaked onto the other side of the court, too.
It wasn’t until five minutes into the game the NU defense would allow the Jaguars to score its first points in the game.
Behind Ray Gallegos’ 12 and Talley’s and nine points, Nebraska finished the half with a 31-25 lead at the end of the first half.
Although the team went into the locker room shooting 50 percent from the field, Miles wanted to see more out of them in the second half, according to Ubel.
“Coach Miles challenged me at halftime and told us (Southern) couldn’t guard us in the post if we demanded the ball,” he said.
And it showed in his performance that he would go on to do what his coach suggested him.
In the first half, Ubel made just four points but it wasn’t until after halftime the senior turned up the heat.
Ubel began the second half scoring nine out of the Huskers first 11 points to increase the Husker lead to 42-31.
“I just came out and played aggressive,” he said. “I realize now that’s how I got to play from the jump.”
Ubel went on to finish the game with a career-high 21 points and 12 rebounds. His previous personal best came last year when he tallied 17 points against Iowa Feb. 29.
Gallegos and Talley also went on to score double-digits in the season opener as well.
Talley finished second behind Ubel with his 17 points, while also adding seven rebounds, six while on defense.
In his first game played at the Devaney Center since two years ago, Gallegos went 7-for-11 from the field, recording a career-high 16 points in the game.
After sitting out all of last season due to an injury, Gallegos said he was excited to put back on the Nebraska uniform and play in front of the home crowd again.
“I was pretty jittery,” he said. “My first game back I didn’t know what to expect.”
Miles said he’s looking to see Gallegos, Talley and Ubel be the team’s offensive leaders throughout the season.
“Those three guys are going to have to be our go-to guys,” he said. “They are going to do a large percentage of our scoring.”
The three offensive attackers provided 51 of the Huskers’ total points and earned Miles his first regular season win at Nebraska.
But beyond Gallegos, Talley and Ubel, Miles’ goals for the rest of the squad were broader.
“I just wanted this team to come out and get a good victory,” Miles said.