Palmer Sets Scoring Record, But Huskers Fall at TCU
The Nebraska men’s basketball team saw its season end Sunday night in an 88-72 loss to TCU in the second round of the NIT Tournament at Schollmaier Arena.
James Palmer Jr. scored 19 points in his final game – all in the second half – to finish his senior season with 708 points, the most points in a single season in Nebraska history. Fellow senior Tanner Borchardt posted his second career double-double, finishing with a career-high 16 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, the second-highest total of his career. Senior Johnny Trueblood also set a career high with eight points, while Glynn Watson Jr. concluded his outstanding career with a stat-filling performance of 17 points, a career-high-tying nine rebounds and six assists without a turnover. Sophomore Thorir Thorbjarnarson chipped in eight points, one off his career high.
Nebraska finished the season with a 19-17 record. TCU (22-13) advanced to Tuesday’s NIT quarterfinal, when the Horned Frogs will host Creighton. TCU had five players in double figures, led by Desmond Bane’s game-high 30 points. The Horned Frogs shot 51 percent from the field – including 59.3 percent in the second half – and knocked down 10 3-pointers while going 20-of-25 at the free throw line. Nebraska committed only seven turnovers and out-rebounded TCU, but the Huskers shot just 43 percent from the floor, 32 percent from the 3-point line and 53 percent from the charity stripe.
Nebraska trailed by eight at the half, but the Huskers were in the game thanks to some unexpected scoring contributions. Borchardt (eight points), Thorbjarnarson (seven) and Trueblood (five) combined for 20 of Nebraska’s 32 first-half points.
TCU led by six early before the Huskers used an 8-0 run to take a 14-12 lead eight minutes into the game. Watson scored six of his eight first-half points during the run. TCU was able to regain the lead despite going more than five minutes without a field goal, but a Thorbjarnarson 3-pointer put Nebraska back on top, 18-17 midway through the half.
With the game tied at 19-19, TCU scored eight straight points during a larger 12-2 run to build a 10-point lead at the five-minute mark. Three straight points from Borchardt pulled Nebraska to within seven, and the Huskers cut the lead down to five, but TCU scored five points in the final 39 seconds of the half to take a 40-32 lead into the locker room.
After being held scoreless and missing all 10 of his first-half shots, Palmer hit three 3-pointers in the first three minutes of the second half. But TCU answered two of Palmer’s shots as the Horned Frogs extended their lead to 10. The lead was back down to eight before a flagrant foul led to a five-point possession that allowed TCU to take a 13-point lead at the 12-minute mark.
Nebraska, which trailed by at least five the entire second half, was back within eight with 10 minutes to play, but the Huskers could get no closer. The lead held steady between and eight and 13 points for most of the half, until TCU scored 10 of the final 14 points to pull away for the 16-point win.
Nebraska Post-Game Notes
- Nebraska (19-17) made seven 3-pointers in the game to finish with a school-record 270 3-pointers on the season. The Huskers broke the previous record of 267 set during the 2001-02 season.
- James Palmer Jr. finished with 19 points to finish the year with 708 points, a Nebraska single-season record. Palmer broke the previous record of 704 points by Dave Hoppen in 1984-85. Palmer and Hoppen are the only Huskers to score 700 points in a season.
- Palmer finished his senior year with Nebraska season records for points (708), free throws attempted (282), free throws made (215) and minutes played (1,269). Palmer also finished with the second-highest career scoring average in Husker history (18.5 points per game).
- Glynn Watson Jr. had 17 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Watson’s nine rebounds tied his career high. He also had nine rebounds against Western Illinois and Minnesota in 2017.
- With his six assists, Watson tied Jack Moore for seventh place on Nebraska’s all-time assist list with 382. Watson finished his career first all-time in school history in games played (134), second in starts (113), tied for fourth in steals (177), tied for seventh in assists (382) and fourth in 3-pointers (184).
- Tanner Borchardt finished with his second career double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds. His 16 points were a career high, topping his previous best of 12 at Illinois on Feb. 2. Borchardt posted his second career game with at least 10 rebounds and his ninth game with at least seven rebounds.
- Johnny Trueblood also set a career high with eight points in the game. He topped his previous best of six points in the NIT opener against Butler.
- Thorir Thorbjarnarson scored eight points, the second-highest scoring game of his career and one shy of his career high of nine points against Mississippi Valley State on Nov. 6, 2018, while playing a career-high 35 minutes.