Boston College 62
1 2 Boston College 36 26 NEBRASKA 44 27
Four Huskers scored in double figures to lead the Nebraska men’s basketball team to a 71-62 win over Boston College at Pinnacle Bank Arena during the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Wednesday night.
James Palmer Jr. and Isaac Copeland had 15 apiece, as Nebraska shot 49 percent from the field, including 9-of-19 from 3-point range. Evan Taylor added a season-high 13 points, including a perfect 3-of-3 from 3-point range, while Glynn Watson Jr. added 10 points and six assists for the victors.
Nebraska (6-2) never trailed in relying on hot shooting in the first half and a solid defensive effort in the final 20 minutes. The Huskers shot 58 percent from the floor and hit eight 3-pointers en route to a 44-36 halftime lead.
Nebraska got off to a strong start from long range, hitting five of its first seven shots from 3-point range to build an early 19-10 lead after Taylor’s third 3-pointer of the half. Boston College would roar back, scoring eight of the next 11 points to pull within 21-18 after a Deontae Hawkins jumper. The Eagles, who shot 53 percent in the first half, would stay within striking distance and were within 39-36 after a Jermone Robinson layup with 1:35 left before halftime. NU would take over in the final minute with five straight points with a Palmer steal, one of five for the junior and basket, before Watson closed the first half with a 3-pointer from the corner to give NU an eight-point halftime advantage.
In the second half, Nebraska stretched the lead to 11, at 49-38 on a Watson jumper with 18:09 left, but the Eagles would claw back. BC used a 7-0 run to pull within 49-47 on a Steffon Mitchell 3-pointer with 14:40 left and the game would remain tight until Palmer keyed a 12-0 run to give the hosts some breathing room.
Boston College was within 59-57 after a Ky Bowman layup with 7:10 left, but Nebraska put on the clamps defensively, forcing eight straight Eagle misses as BC went scoreless for over five and a half minutes. Palmer and Copeland combined for eight of the Huskers’ 12 unanswered points, as NU stretched the lead to 71-57 with 1:30 left after a Copeland basket beat the shot clock.
Robinson led BC (5-3) with 17 points and seven rebounds, while Ky Bowman added 13 points and six assists. In all, NU limited the high-scoring duo to 11-of-30 shooting, including 2-of-10 from 3-point range.
The Huskers return to action when they open Big Ten play at No. 3 Michigan State on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. (CT). The game will be televised on FS1 and carried on the Husker Sports Network.
*-Nebraska improves to 4-3 all-time in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, including 4-2 under Tim Miles. The win snaps NU’s two-game losing streak in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
*-Nebraska is now 6-0 this year when putting three or more players in double figures.
*-Evan Taylor finished with a season-high 13 points, betting his previous high of 12 on two occasions. Taylor has now been in double figures in four of NU’s eight contests after reaching double figures just six times last season.
*-Taylor hit his Nebraska personal best with three 3-pointers, topping his previous Husker best of two on three previous occasions. His collegiate career high is four when he was at Samford as a freshman, when he had four 3-pointers against Chattanooga on Feb. 14, 2015.
*-Taylor now has eight 3-pointers this season (hitting 8-of-10 from long range after hitting six 3-pointers in 31 games last year).
*-Glynn Watson Jr. has six assists and no turnovers and now has a 23-3 assist-to-turnover ratio over the last four games. Watson, who also had two steals, also has multiple steals in three of Nebraska’s last four contests.
*-Nebraska’s nine 3-pointers was its second-highest total of the season, trailing only the 11 against Marist.
*-James Palmer Jr. had a career-high five steals against Boston College, topping his previous best of two on five on two occasions, most recently against Central Florida. It marked the second straight game a Husker has had five-plus steals, as Watson had six steals against Long Beach State.
Nebraska Coach Tim Miles
On offensive play
“We came out early. I thought we really played well. We shared the ball. The guys who had open shots, stepped up and made them, like Jack and Evan are really important setting the tone. Glynn wasn’t feeling well tonight. He was light-headed all night. For him to go out there and get 10 points, six assists, no turnovers was exceptional. I thought the team played well with only nine turnovers.”
On Boston College’s defense
“They were changing defenses. They were in some match-up and some straight zone. I like our zone attack. I like what we’re doing because they’re step-in threes. Our guys have worked hard to be a better shooting team and a better three-point defensive team. Those two things happened tonight.”
On maintaining the lead
“They ran out of gas a little bit. They had Hawkins get hurt during the game and so I think that helped in terms of our efforts. They had some younger guys out there. We were up 11 and I put in kind of a different group. That experiment went awry and then they got it down to two, 59-57, we had eight straight stops. That was important to have that stretch when had our main guys back in.”
On shooting and moving forward
“When you go out there and shoot better from the three than you do the foul line, you have a problem. We have to make our foul shots. We practice so we should’ve been extending, but yes it’s nice to have a lead and keep the lead and not see it shrivel up. We still have a lot of work to do. It’s nice to beat a Power Five school. It’s our first we beat this year. I think it’s the only one we’ve played. We have about four more coming that will get our attention too.”
Nebraska Players Quotes
On whether this was the team’s first “full game”
Evan Taylor: “Yeah. We’re getting better. This year we’ve been putting halves together, but not a full game. Today, (Boston College) made their runs, but we stayed strong. We never lost the lead, so it’s just a sign of growth. Hopefully we can build on that.”
On whether the team was nervous when the game was tight
Isaac Copeland: “No. I think this year we do a good job of huddling together and really communicating, so we kind of got together and said, ‘we’ve been here before this, let’s not let this lead go,’ and we pulled it through.”
On the Huskers’ Upcoming Stretch with Four Ranked Teams
Evan Taylor: “Yeah, definitely. Who wouldn’t want to play against four of the best programs in the country? It’s going to be hard, but it’s an opportunity to show the world what Nebraska basketball is and to get better. I’m excited, and I know our guys are excited and we hope for the best.”
Boston College Head Coach Jim Christian
On second-half shooting
“We couldn’t make a shot. We were 4-for-22 from three. I probably would have signed up for every one of them. They were wide-open shots. We have got to make them. “
“We have guys out there who haven’t played all year. We have two guys, two starters out in the first three minutes of the game. So I’ve got Vin Baker, whose played maybe 19 minutes on the year playing 30 minutes, Ervins Meznieks who hasn’t played all year. They gave us heart, they gave us effort, but you have got to make open shots if you want to beat them on the road.”
On his team’s first-half performance
“We played hard. It wasn’t effort. Our effort was great. It was just execution and putting the ball in the basket. Sometimes it’s that simple. They just hit open shots. We were running to get shots but they did a good job. Tshimanga is such a big body he takes away the front of the rim. We were making the right plays but we just couldn’t knock one in.”
On defensive play
“Inconsistent the first half. I thought the second half we played great defensively. We played hard. I mean we played hard. We had three freshmen running around out there, playing different positions. We tried to ad-lib and teach them the plays as we go, it was a tough game for that, because you know we’re out Hawkins who plays 37 minutes per game, Chatman plays 33 minutes per game. If you take any team in the country and take out two 30-plus-minute players, it’s going to be tough. We fought hard, we needed to make a couple more plays. “