LINCOLN — Call it the Nebraska basketball team's version of the jumbo package.
Coach Tim Miles said Thursday he is experimenting with a lineup that has 6-foot-5, 216-pound Dylan Talley at point guard while replacing 5-9 Benny Parker with 6-6 Shavon Shields.
The Huskers (8-4) used that grouping much of the second half of a 68-52 loss at UTEP last Sunday after scoring only 16 points the first half and shooting 23.1 percent.
“We wanted to put a lineup out there where they had to guard everybody, and see if that opened some things up,'' Miles said. “We were more productive.''
In the second half, NU scored 36 points, shot 52 percent and got to the free-throw line 12 times.
Since the Creighton game, opponents have been sagging off Parker (4.3 points, 42.9 percent shooting) and backup point guard Mike Peltz (1.2 points, 23.1 percent) while often face-guarding Talley and Ray Gallegos on the wings.
Miles knows Nebraska didn't get a hair-on-fire defensive effort from UTEP in the second half with the Miners up by 20 points at halftime. Still, having a broader range of scoring options is appealing.
One worry is fatigue. Going big — 6-5 Talley, 6-3 Gallegos, 6-6 Shields, 6-10 Brandon Ubel and 6-11 Andre Almeida — essentially leaves 6-7 David Rivers as the only substitute.
Still, that lineup will get used Saturday in Nebraska's final nonconference game against Nicholls State (1-8). But Miles is unsure about opening the game that way.
“I'm not quite there on a final decision,'' he said. “In terms of me liking that lineup, I'm there. But then how does it affect the rotations?''
Just because Talley is labeled the point guard doesn't mean he'll set up all the plays.
“I've got no problem with Brandon Ubel initiating offense,'' Miles said. “He's strong with the ball and delivers it on time and on target. We'll have multiple handlers.''
The Huskers practiced twice Thursday after returning to Lincoln from a Christmas break.
Among those practicing was redshirt guard Deverell Biggs, who was cited early Sunday morning in Omaha for driving under the influence and underage drinking. The junior out of Omaha Central, according to police reports, had a blood-alcohol content of .134. The legal limit for those under 21 years old is .02. Biggs turns 21 in February.
Miles said he won't make a quick decision on how to punish Biggs.
“It's important for me to watch him and help him through the process, and see how he reacts to this,'' the coach said. “His accountability through this is the most important thing.''
Ľ NOTES: Miles said he continues to worry about nagging injuries to Parker (knee) and Shields, who jammed his hand in a victory over Jacksonville State. X-rays of the hand on Thursday were negative. ... The only Big Ten team with a losing record with one nonconference game to play is Purdue (5-6). Six league members are ranked in the Top 20.
Contact the writer: