Huskers Fall to No. 13 Buckeyes, 64-59
Columbus, Ohio - Despite a career-high 34 points from James Palmer Jr., No. 13 Ohio State edged Nebraska, 64-59, Monday evening at Value City Arena.
Palmer set an arena record with his 34-point effort, as he went 11-of-18 from the field, including five 3-pointers in a losing effort, topping his previous best of 25 against UTSA on Dec. 20. It was the most by a Husker since Glynn Watson Jr. had 34 against Iowa last season and the most by a Husker in a road game since Aleks Maric had 37 at Iowa State in 2006.
Keita Bates-Diop led four Buckeyes in double figures with 20 points, as OSU improved to 18-4 overall and 9-0 in the Big Ten.
Nebraska (14-8, 5-4 Big Ten) trailed 46-41 with just over nine minutes remaining when Glynn Watson Jr. started an 8-0 Husker run before Palmer hit two straight 3-pointers to put the Huskers up 49-46 and force OSU to take timeout.
OSU went to Bates-Diop, who had 14 of his 20 points in the second half, for two straight baskets to put the Buckeyes ahead before Evan Taylor’s basket put NU up by one. The teams traded 3-pointers, as Anton Gill’s 3-pointer put NU ahead 54-53 with 4:36 remaining before Bates-Diop’s basket gave the Buckeyes the lead for good with 4:09 left.
Trailing by one, Isaiah Roby was fouled with 3:29 left, but was unable to convert the front end of a 1-and-1 opportunity. OSU took advantage was Jae’Sean Tate was fouled and hit both free throws to extend the lead to 57-54. Moments later, C.J. Jackson’s 3-point play with 2:26 left capped the 7-0 run and gave the Buckeyes a 60-54 lead.
Nebraska pulled to within 60-56 on two Palmer free throws with 2:19 left, but a basket by Tate and two free throws from Kaleb Wesson stretched the Buckeye lead to eight in the final minute. Tate finished with 17 points and seven boards while Wesson and Jackson added 12 each for OSU.
Nebraska stood toe to toe with the No. 13 Buckeyes in the first half, leading for most of the half before Ohio State took a 24-22 lead into the locker room.
Nebraska held OSU, which came into the game leading the Big Ten in field goal percentage, to just 36 percent shooting from the field. The Huskers were held in check offensively by OSU, as NU shot just 28 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes.
Nebraska used an early 8-1 run, including 3-pointers from Palmer and Isaac Copeland, to push the lead to 12-5 after Palmer’s 3-pointer with 13:21 left in the half. NU led 14-7 after a Jordy Tshimanga basket, but the Buckers would chip away. OSU responded with a 10-2 run of its own, taking a 17-16 lead on a Bates-Diop dunk but baskets by Palmer and Roby gave the Huskers a 20-17 advantage.
Nebraska lead 22-21 after a Palmer basket with 1:04 left, but C.J. Jackson’s 3-pointer with 43 seconds left in the half sent the Buckeyes to the locker room with a one-point lead. Palmer led NU with 11 first-half points, while Tshimanga had four points and four boards before picking up three fouls. Tate had seven markers for the Buckeyes, whose 24 points matched their lowest first-half total of the season.
For most of the second half, the Huskers had an answer for the Buckeyes, who stretched the lead to five on a pair of occasions, only to see Nebraska respond until the final three minutes.
The Huskers will continue their two-game road trip on Wednesday, as they travel to Rutgers. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. (CT) and will be carried on the IMG Husker Sports Network and televised on BTN.