In a showdown of teams looking to announce that they are ready to climb out of their respective conferences’ cellars, Nebraska (2-1) laid an egg at St. John’s (3-0) in a 79-56 loss as part of the annual Gavitt Tipoff Games.
The Huskers shot 28.1 percent form the field including 6-of-26 from 3-point range. They turned the ball over 16 times and allowed 16 offensive rebounds. Junior guard James Palmer Jr. was the only Husker in double figures with 13 points on 4-of-10 shooting.
Conversely, four of the five St. John’s starters scored 13 or more points led by sophomore Shamorie Ponds with 22 points and five assists.
Senior guard Anton Gill made his season debut after missing the first two games with a groin injury and chipped in seven points off the bench but shot just 1-of-6 from downtown.
Nebraska jumped out to a 5-2 lead 1:01 into the game after a three-point play by Evan Taylor and turn-around jumper by Isaac Copeland, but St. John’s responded with a 9-0 run over the next 4:38.
St. John’s stretched its lead out to 17-8 before freshman Thomas Allen checked in and knocked down a 3-pointer. Soon after, Taylor knocked down a triple of his own to pull Nebraska within three at 19-16.
The Huskers got no closer the rest of the night.
Nebraska followed Taylor’s 3 with a 3:05 scoring drought before scoring four points to make the score 26-20 St. John’s. Then Nebraska went another 5:11 without a point. Anton Gill broke the cold spell with a four-point play with 6 seconds left in the half, but the Huskers allowed St. John’s point guard Marcus LoVett to go the length of the floor and lay it in just before the buzzer.
St. John’s led 37-24 at halftime.
Nebraska scored on its first three possessions to pull within eight, but St. John’s caught fire too and the Huskers had no answer. The Red Storm continued to stretch out its lead the rest of the half and the Huskers never threatened again.
St. John’s threw down dunks on four of its last seven possessions to add insult to injury.
The Huskers will return home Sunday to host North Dakota at 1 p.m. before heading down to Orlando for the Advocare Invitational starting on Nov. 23.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.