In a tale of two halves, Nebraska picked up its first true road win of the season and improved to 2-1 in conference play with a 70-55 win at Northwestern on Tuesday night.
The Huskers (11-5) found themselves down five at halftime after shooting 8-of-28 from the field but they opened the second half with a 10-5 run to tie it up and dominated the Wildcats the rest of the way.
Junior point guard Glynn Watson Jr. broke out of his recent slump (three points and four assists in the previous two games) ina big way, finishing with game highs in points (19) and assists (six) and also chipped in six boards for the Huskers. Junior guard James Palmer Jr. scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and also chipped in five rebounds and four assists. Junior forward Isaac Copeland added 13 points — including nine after halftime — and team-high eight rebounds.
The Huskers finished with 14 blocks — their highest total ever in conference play — and held the Wildcats to 29.2 percent shooting in the second half. Northwestern junior center Derek Pardon finished with 17 points and 15 rebounds, but the Huskers made him work for everything he got as he finished 6-of-18 from the field. Nebraska also held Northwestern’s leading scorer Scottie Lindsey to 12 points on 4-of-14 shooting.
Without senior point guard Bryant McIntosh who missed the game with a knee injury, the Wildcats struggled to generate offense against Nebraska.
The Huskers took a 10-5 lead about six minutes into the game, but Northwestern responded with an 11-0 run to pull ahead 16-10. Copeland tied the game again at 20-all on a dunk and Watson regained the lead for Nebraska with a 3-pointer, then Copeland hit a pair of free-throws to put Nebraska ahead 23-20 with just under four minutes to play.
However, the Wildcats closed the half on a 10-2 run capped by a 3-pointer by Lindsey with five seconds left in the half.
Northwestern struck first after the break to take its largest lead of the game at 32-25, but Watson and Palmer took over, scoring or assisting on 14 straight Nebraska points to take the lead for the Huskers. Copland tipped in a miss by Watson to cap a 16-6 run.
Northwestern cut its deficit to one a couple of times, but senior guard Anton Gill converted a four-point play to spark a 13-4 run that gave the Huskers their first double-digit lead of the game at 56-46 with 5:41 to play. Lindsey hit a 3 to cut it to seven, but Palmer answered with a trey of his own and the lead never dropped below 10 again as the Huskers cruised to victory.
Nebraska will return home to host No. 13/13 Purdue Saturday at 1:15 p.m. on BTN.
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.