Huskers Top Tigers, 68-66
Clemson, S.C. – James Palmer Jr. scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the second half, as Nebraska picked up a crucial road win with a 68-66 victory over Clemson in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Palmer hit 8-of-14 shots from the field and grabbed a career-high nine rebounds, while Isaac Copeland Jr. totaled 16 points, six rebounds and three assists, as Nebraska broke away from the Tigers (5-2) down the stretch and withstood a frantic finish.
Leading 53-52, Palmer keyed a 7-0 Husker run with five straight points as Nebraska built a 59-52 lead after an Isaac Copeland dunk with 5:32 remaining.
The Huskers eventually stretched the lead to eight, at 64-56, after a 3-pointer from Thomas Allen with 2:22 left and was up 66-59 after a Palmer reverse dunk with 1:29 left.
The Tigers would claw back, scoring five straight points to get to within 66-64 after a David Skara basket with 57 seconds left.
The teams would trade possessions and Clemson had a chance to tie to take the lead before a traveling call on Clemson’s Marcquise Reed with 9.4 seconds left. Watson, who joined Palmer and Copeland in double figures with 12 markers, was eventually fouled and sank both free throws to push the lead to 68-64 with 6.8 seconds left.
Clemson got within two on a basket from Aamir Simms with 1.0 seconds left, but Watson preserved the win by catching the in-bounds pass and dribbling out the clock.
The win improved Nebraska to 5-3 all-time in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, including a 3-1 road mark. NU’s only road loss was a two-point setback at Clemson in 2016.
Nebraska withstood Clemson’s early run and battled back as the first half ended in a 31-all stalemate. Copeland led the Huskers with 10 first-half points, while Palmer Jr., Nana Akenten and Watson Jr. each tallied at least five points for the Big Red. Nebraska nearly out-rebounded the Tigers and had nine second-chance points to help offshoot 41 percent shooting in the opening 20 minutes.
Clemson shot 48 percent from the floor as Shelton Mitchell paced the Tigers with nine, while Clyde Trapp came off the bench to score eight for the Tigers.
Clemson got out of the gates quickly, scoring eight of the first 10 points before the Huskers found their footing. Isaac Copeland had four points in a 6-0 spurt that tied the score at eight after a Copeland putback with 15:37 left in the half.
Nebraska trailed 21-17 after a Clyde Trapp 3-pointer with 10:20 left, but Isaiah Roby’s 3-pointer started a 12-3 run for the Huskers that saw Nebraska regain the lead at 24-23 after a Copeland putback slam with 7:07 left in the half and eventually extend the lead to 29-25 after a Copeland jumper with 5:14 left in the half. Clemson would come back and close the half on a 6-2 run to get the game tied heading to the locker room.
Early in the second half, Nebraska ran off five straight to break a 37-all tie, as Palmer’s 3-pointer with 15:29 left gave the Huskers a 42-37 lead. Reed, who had 13 of his 15 points in the second half, hitting a pair of jumpers to pull the Tigers within one before Watson’s 3-point stretched the margin back to four at 45-41.
Elijah Thomas led three Tigers in double figures with 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting.
Palmer long 3-pointer with 12:14 left gave the Huskers a 50-45 lead, but neither team could seize control until the Huskers’ 7-0 spurt.
The Huskers return home to begin Big Ten action this Sunday, Dec. 2, when they host the Illinois Fighting Illini. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. (CT) and the game will be carried on the Husker Sports Network and televised by BTN.
*-Nebraska handed Clemson just its second home loss in the last 20 games dating back to the start of the 2017-18 season.
*-Nebraska improved to 5-3 all-time in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, including 5-2 under Tim Miles. Nebraska and Purdue are the only Big Ten teams with winning records in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
*-Nebraska improves to 3-1 all-time in ACC/Big Ten Challenge games on the road. NU’s only challenge road loss was a two-point set back at Clemson in 2016.
*-James Palmer Jr. recorded his 10th career 20-point game with a game-high 20 points.
*-James Palmer Jr. finished with a career high nine rebounds. His previous best was eight set on three other occasions, the last at Wisconsin on Jan. 29, 2018.
*-Isaac Copeland Jr. reached double figures for the sixth time in seven contests, finishing with 16 points. *-Nebraska held Clemson to 49.1 percent shooting, the 33rd straight game Nebraska held its opponent under 50 percent shooting
*-Glynn Watson Jr. jumped from 25th to 21st on Nebraska’s career scoring list with his 12-point effort.