Nebraska wins opening round of Big Ten Tournament
Courtesy: AP/UNL Media Relations
James Palmer Jr. tied a career high with 34 points, and Nebraska beat Rutgers 68-61 in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament on Wednesday.
Palmer matched a personal best set against Ohio State last season and scored 27 in the second half to carry Nebraska.
The Cornhuskers (17-15) went on a 15-0 run to grab a 10-point lead in the closing minutes on the way to their second straight win after dropping 11 of 13. They are banking on a run in the conference tournament to vault them into the NCAA picture and maybe save coach Tim Miles' job.
Eugene Omoruyi led Rutgers (14-17) with 16 points. Myles Johnson added 11 points and 11 rebounds, but the Scarlet Knights were one and done this time after winning at least one game in the previous two conference tournaments.
Nebraska went on a 15-0 run to turn a five-point deficit into a 61-51 lead with 1:30 remaining. Isaiah Roby started it with a layup with 6:21 remaining and hit two free throws with four minutes left to put Nebraska back on top for the first time since the opening minutes of the half at 52-51.
Palmer then nailed a 3 and Roby drove for a neat scoop layup after a steal by Johnny Trueblood.
Palmer then threw down a hard fast-break dunk, getting intentionally fouled from behind by Omoruyi, and Glynn Watson Jr. made two free throws to finish the run.
Also, Channel 8's Jared Koller captured this hilarious moment following the Huskers' win.
Nebraska: Palmer could probably use some help if the Cornhuskers are going to make a run in the conference tournament. No one else scored more than 11 points, and Nebraska shot just 40.4 percent while making 3 of 15 3-pointers.
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights came up short down the stretch in this one after showing some promise during the regular season.
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers were swept by Maryland 74-72 on the road on Jan. 2ND, and 60-45 at home on Feb. 6TH.
Rutgers: Season is likely over.
POST GAME NOTES
- The Huskers improved their Big Ten Tournament record to 4-7. It was Nebraska’s first BTT victory since 2016 when it beat Rutgers, 89-72 in opening-round action.
- Nebraska improved to 2-0 over Rutgers in the Big Ten Basketball Tournament.
- Nebraska was down eight points with 14:02 to play in the first half, but hit three of its last four shots to take a 26-25 lead at the half. The Cornhuskers led the Scarlet Knights despite being outshot by Rutgers, 53%-34%.
- The team went on a 15-2 run over 5:11 in the second half to secure the lead.
- Nebraska led for a total of 5:47 in the contest.
- The Cornhuskers caused 22 Rutgers turnovers, tied for third most in Big Ten Tournament history.
- James Palmer Jr. scored a season-high 34 points in the contest. Palmer Jr.’s 34 points is second in single game scoring in Big Ten Tournament history. The BTT record is 35 points by Northwestern’s Michael Thompson vs. Minnesota (3/10/11).
- Palmer Jr. went 14-22 from the free-throw line. His 14 makes rank second in tournament history and 22
*-James Palmer Jr. became the sixth Husker to score 600 points in a season as he had 34 points against Rutgers. He went over the 600-point plateau with his layup with three seconds left in the half. Palmer’s 627 points is fourth on NU’s single-season list and the most since Tyronn Lue, who had 678 points in 1997-98.
*-Palmer tied his career high in points, as he also had 34 at Ohio State last season. His 34 points is the second-highest total by a Husker in school history, trailing only the 42-point by Eric Piatkowski in the 1994 Big Eight Tournament.
*-Palmer posted his 16th20-point game of the year and fourth career 30-point game with his performance.
*-With 14 free throws made today, Palmer broke the single-season record for most free throws in a season and now has 198 on the season. He was tied with Jack Moore, who had 184 in 1979-80.
*-Nebraska held Rutgers to 25 first-half points, the lowest total since Northwestern had 23 on Feb. 16.
*-Glynn Watson Jr. moved into a tie for second place on NU’s career games list with his 130th appearance on Wednesday. He is one away from the school record of 131 by Cookie Belcher (1997-2001).
*-Johnny Trueblood had a career high four steals, nearly doubling his career total of five in 29 career games before today.
*-Thor Thorbjarnarson’s four points was his highest total since scoring a career-high nine points in the opener against Mississippi Valley State.