LINCOLN — Nebraska’s David Rivers recently had one of those “Where did that come from?” moments.
The sophomore wing, who scored 20 points his entire freshman season, scored 20 against Central Michigan a week ago in the first round of the UTEP Sun Carnival Classic.
In 25 minutes, Rivers hit 8 of 10 field goals, 4 of 5 free throws and grabbed seven rebounds — matching a career high.
So where did that come from?
“It’s just been bottled up,” Rivers said, smiling. “I hope there are more of those to come.”
Nebraska coach Tim Miles agreed, saying: “We need that from him.”
Rivers, now averaging 4.8 points and 3.3 rebounds, will get his next chance Saturday at 2 p.m. when the Huskers (8-4) host Nicholls State (1-8) in their final nonconference game.
Rivers has found success by stepping inside the 3-point line.
“That’s kind of my game,” said the 6-foot-7, 191-pounder from Little Rock, Ark. “Mid-range isn’t the shot most taken anymore, but it’s the best shot for a lot of players.
“I try to find those spots on the floor because the coaches want me to bring something when I come into the game. Tempo, energy, points, rebounds, anything.”
During the offseason, Rivers wasn’t sure if he would be doing those things for Nebraska. Doc Sadler’s firing and the departure of assistant Wes Flanigan, the point man on recruiting Rivers, put his future in doubt.
“I thought about transferring a couple of times,” Rivers said. “But after talking it over with my family and friends, I thought it was best to stick it out here.”
Rivers gained 20 pounds during the summer, which has allowed him to broaden his game.
“Especially since I am playing at the four sometimes, facing those big boys,” he said. “Just being stronger has helped me do a lot of things better.”
With Big Ten play starting in four days with a road trip to No. 10 Ohio State, Rivers is embracing the challenge.
“I’m looking forward to us having a chip on our shoulder,” he said. “Last season was a disappointing season. I don’t want to see that happen again.”
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