Palmer's career night wins NU win at Big Ten Tourney against Rutgers



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CHICAGO – With only six players and two available for his first-round match with Rutgers at the Big Ten tournament on Wednesday, Nebraska needed all the hardness, money and resilience he could get.

For the second consecutive game, the Huskers, who were shorthanded and tied, defeated the odds of an unlikely win, beating the Scarlet Knights 68-61 to qualify for the second round on Thursday.

Senior James Palmer Jr. He had one of his best games when his team needed him the most, with 34 points, a career high, including 27 in the second half.

The Huskers were trained nearly 35 minutes in 40 minutes, but a 15-0 record in the second half proved to be the difference to keep their season alive for another day.

"It's great just because a lot of people counted on us, especially when we lost (Isaac) Copeland and we kept going," said the junior forward. Isaiah Roby I said. "The season has not been exactly as we expected and people can give us up, but we will never do it, no matter if we have eight, six or five guys. It's a bit of the mantra of our team.

Nebraska missed seven of its first eight shots to open the game and was quickly trailing 12-4. Although they scored just eight points in the first ten minutes, the Huskers were just two points behind them after a successful 8-2 run. Glynn Watson layup with 9:21 left in half.

Rutgers shot 52.6 percent on the field in the first half, but he could not stay out of the way with turnovers and fouls. This allowed NU to stick around and have an attack, using a 9-0 run to take his first lead of the evening at 23-21 on a layup of Brady Heiman with 1:56 remaining.

Palmer scored three seconds from the end to send Nebraska to the locker room with a 26-25 lead.

The Huskers only fired 34.5% of the field, scored 1 of 8 over 3 points and missed seven dunks and layups in the first half. But the Scarlet Knights held them back by making 11 turnovers, 10 fouls, and missing all five attempts from behind the arc.

"We started very slowly, sort of, we got used to the rims," ​​Watson said. "We just had to calm down."

The second half had a rough start, with Rutgers scoring five points but no second chance to take the lead and force the game to end after just 13 minutes.

Palmer scored 16 of his team's first 18 points in the second half to allow Nebraska to stay within reach and score between 45 and 44 with 10 minutes remaining.

"I just wanted to go out and be more aggressive in the second half," said Palmer. "I knew we needed some kind of spark, quite simply. if it was to score or on the defensive end. I just wanted to stay in the second half and be much more aggressive than I was in the first period. "

A Myles Johnson dunk scored 51-46 with just under seven minutes, but the Scarlet Knights would be scoreless in the next three minutes. This allowed Nebraska to trim and eventually return the advantage to 52-51 on a pair of free throws from Roby with four minutes on the clock.

A three-pointer from Palmer opened the scoring at 55-51 in 3:13, and the rally reached 15 straight points, earning a 61-51 lead with just one minute left.

That would be all the cushion that NU would need, since he ended up overtaking Rutgers 22-10 on the 6:20 final.

Watson finished with 11 points and five assists in the win, while Roby added 10 points, six rebounds and four blocks. The remaining four members of the Nebraska team scored just 13 points overall, but they caught up with 12 boards, 7 steals and 4 assists.

Senior walking Johnny Trueblood was once again huge, playing 26 minutes and winning a four-game high with two assists and three points.

Eugene Omuruyi led Rutgers with 16 points and five assists before committing a foul, while Johnson recorded a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds.

The third Nebraska meeting against Maryland will be announced 25 minutes after the first game Thursday between Indiana and Ohio State, which will begin at 11:30. The Terrapins swept the regular season series on the NU with a 72-71 victory at College. Park and then a 60-45 win at Lincoln.

"I thought we could win this game and I think there is a way to win tomorrow night against Maryland," said the head coach. Tim Miles I said. "We will gather our ideas and solve this problem, but I trust these guys and I am really proud of them."

1. Palmer's performance was one for the ages

Palmer's 34 points were not just the highest total of his career in singles matches, nor were they the second point of a Husker in a conference tournament match behind the 42nd. Eric Piatkowski in 1994. They were also the second Ever no player in the history of Big Ten tournaments only surpassed the 35 scored by Michael Thompson of Northwestern in 2011. Palmer's performance on the free throw line , despite shooting about 63.3%, was also the highest performance. His 14 free throws were the most marked by a Husker in a league match, as were his 22 attempts. They also set Big Ten Tournament records for a match by Jared Sullinger of the Ohio State, who scored 16 goals out of 18 in a match in 2011.

2. Trueblood was still a hero

For a guy who has not played a significant minute in nearly four years in Nebraska, Trueblood is sure to keep his best for last. After posting by far the best game of his career in the regular season final against Iowa, the senior player played 26 minutes and finished with three points, four rebounds and four wins in his win against Rutgers . His last line of statistics was not only productive, as he once again decided to play game after game to help the club change course. Trueblood is a basketball fairy tale story in many ways, and his coaches and teammates hope that there are still a few chapters in his book.

3. The defense was the basis

Palmer may have the majority of headlines during his career night, but it was Nebraska's defense that prevented Wednesday's game from turning into an end-of-season loss. While the Huskers struggled to make the most of the attack for half of the night, they made up for it by upsetting Rutgers with an aggressive defense. Nebraska forced the Scarlet Knights to make 22 turnovers, which tied for third place in the history of the Big Ten tournament. The 25 points allocated in the first half of Rutgers were also the lowest allowed by NU since February 16th. Northwestern had 23 on February 16th. Given the makeup of his team, he sometimes has to choose the amount of energy to spend on one side. the ground or the other. It may be tiring for the legs, but the Huskers' best chance to continue the race will be the lockdown defense.

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