LINCOLN — In his first game as Nebraska's head men's basketball coach, Tim Miles got himself booed.
On the Huskers' last possession of a 68-40 exhibition victory Wednesday night over Midland University, he ordered his team to run out the clock. Two more points would have qualified the Devaney Center crowd of 6,679 for a fast-food giveaway.
Miles, immersed in trying to teach his young team how to win, put his hands in his ears as time ticked off and smiled.
The 'W' was the thing, even if it took some time to subdue the NAIA school from Fremont, Neb. The Huskers needed a 16-3 run late in the first half to claim the lead for good.
Miles paused when asked if he was nervous about his new beginning.
“I didn't know what to expect,” he said, “and that's kind of the way we played, too. We got off OK. Then we subbed some guys in and that screwed everything up.
“Then we got in foul trouble and that screwed stuff up. I wanted to give everybody a chance to compete in meaningful times. Everybody pretty much contributed, too.”
That included junior Deverell Biggs, who after his four-point and three-assist night will sit out the rest of the season as a redshirt.
“I just congratulated him on a great season,” Miles said. “He was a little nervous knowing this was his one crack.”
Biggs and the three starting guards — Benny Parker, Dylan Talley and Ray Gallegos — shot a combined 10 of 32 (31 percent). The only double-figure scorer was Talley with 10, with wing David Rivers and center Andre Almeida adding nine each.
Rivers had seven of his nine points in that late first-half surge. The 6-foot-7 sophomore from Little Rock, Ark., added 20 pounds in the offseason to get up to 191.
“David's been a pleasant surprise,” Miles said. “He has been more productive than some of our upperclassmen.
“And he's a sponge. It's 'yes, sir,' and then he'll go out and do it. He has worked hard in the weight room.”
But the overall list of offensive bright spots was short.
“I had hoped we would play better offensively,” Miles said. “I hoped we would run our stuff with a little more crispness. I thought we had practiced better. But you're in a controlled environment in practice. Games are a little more chaotic.”
Senior Brandon Ubel had a forgettable first half. The Huskers' most experienced returnee lost the opening tip despite an 8-inch height advantage. Then he had three fouls, a turnover and no points in eight minutes.
He bounced back to score eight points in the second half despite further foul trouble.
Midland wing James Parrott, a senior out of Omaha Bryan, led all scorers with 15 points and added a team-high seven rebounds.
The way this exhibition got put together was through golf, not basketball.
Midland coach Todd Eisner said he was acquainted with Miles previously, but spent time on the course with him one day this spring. Eisner asked about bringing his team to Lincoln.
Even though Eisner and Creighton coach Greg McDermott won the golf match, Miles agreed.
“We're really thankful for the opportunity coach Miles gave us to play here,” Eisner said. “Our guys were really excited about it.”
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