TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Tim Miles said he wants to put Nebraska on the basketball map. A 5-1 mark to open 2014-15 and a road win over Florida State is a good start down that path.
Terran Petteway tied a season-high with 25 points and Shavon Shields had 21 and eight rebounds as Nebraska held off a furious rally to defeat Florida State 70-65 on Monday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
"They're as good as you can coach because they're very competitive," Miles said. "They want to put Nebraska on the national map basketball-wise and they've got all kinds of talent."
Nebraska led 37-21 at the half, but Florida State shot 15 of 29 (51.7 percent) in the second half to chip away at the Cornhuskers' lead.
The Seminoles closed within one, 62-61, with 2:18 left after a pair of Aaron Thomas free throws. But a David Rivers layup and a Tarin Smith 3-pointer helped Nebraska (5-1) put Florida State away.
"We got off to a hot start," Miles said. "Guys were sharp. And we built that big lead — just enough to survive the comeback."
Petteway said he was pleased with how Nebraska passed a difficult road test. The Cornhuskers had lost its only other road game, on Nov. 22 in overtime to Rhode Island.
This win builds confidence for a December schedule that includes three games in Hawaii.
"I guess it just shows that we grew a little bit from last year," Petteway said. "If we were in this position, I don't think we would have overcome that. That's a big step for us. Now we just have to keep building on it."
Xavier Rathan-Mayes scored 17 points, but made just 2-of-11 3-pointers for Florida State (3-4). Boris Bojanovsky had 10 points and added a season-high 10 rebounds.
FSU couldn't overcome its first-half struggles, shooting just 28 percent (7-of-25) overall and going 0 for 10 from 3-point range in the first half.
"We dug ourselves a hole in the first half that was so deep that it was very difficult to dig out of," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "We fought in the second half and did a much better job of sticking to our game plan."
The Seminoles finished the game 22 of 54 (40.7 percent), but they made just 19 of 32 free throws.
Nebraska won its third straight game despite losing Petteway and Tai Webster, who fouled out in the game's final 2:25. The Cornhuskers led 62-59 at that point.
Shields had 15 points in the first half, while Petteway had 14 points — scoring 29 of Nebraska's 37 first-half points.
Florida State was shooting just 22.1 percent from 3-point range coming into the game. On Monday, the Seminoles made just 2 of 18 (11.1 percent) from beyond the arc.
Nebraska junior guard Benny Parker had four steals, tying his total from the last three games combined. Parker also had seven points
Aaron Thomas returned to Florida State after missing two games with an undisclosed medical condition. Thomas shot 0 for 3 from the floor in the first half but made 7 of 10 free-throw attempts and finished with 11 points. He was part of a strong night by FSU's bench, which scored 25 points.
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers have won their last three B1G/ACC challenge games. Nebraska defeated Miami 60-49 in 2013 and won 79-63 at Wake in 2012.
Florida State: Florida State went 0 for 10 from beyond the 3-point arc before Rathan-Mayes made the Seminoles' first shot from long range. The Seminoles won the only prior meeting between the schools, 74-60 in the 2005 Orange Bowl Classic.
Nebraska plays host to Creighton on Sunday.
Florida State plays host to Central Florida on Saturday.