Rutgers 33 43 - 76 Nebraska 38 31 - 69
A series of runs cost the Nebraska men’s basketball team Monday night in a 76-69 road loss at Rutgers.
The Scarlet Knights strung together four runs of 8-0 or greater, including scoring eight straight points after Nebraska had tied the game at 67 with 2:02 to play. Nebraska (13-6 overall, 3-5 Big Ten) led by as many as 13 in the first half and eight in the second half, but every time the Huskers tried to pull away, Rutgers (9-9, 2-6) responded.
In the first half, the Scarlet Knights had an 8-0 run to erase a six-point deficit and a 15-0 run to erase a 13-point Husker lead. During those two runs, Rutgers outscored Nebraska 23-0 in a span of just 3:45. Then in the second half, an 8-0 Rutgers run wiped out an eight-point Nebraska lead, and the Scarlet Knights used a 7-0 run to erase a one-point deficit and take the lead for good with less than 10 minutes to play.
James Palmer Jr. led Nebraska with 22 points before fouling out. Isaac Copeland Jr. added 16 points and eight rebounds, but he was held to just two points in the second half. Glynn Watson Jr. chipped in 14 points for a Nebraska team that shot just 41.7 percent from the field, including hitting only 10-of-28 shots in the second half. The Huskers were also just 10-of-18 from the free-throw line on the game. .
The first half featured big runs for both teams. The Huskers used 9-0 and 13-2 runs to lead by as many as 13. Rutgers responded with a 15-0 run to take a late lead before Nebraska scored the final seven points of the half to head to the locker room with a 38-33 advantage. Copeland had 14 first-half points on 6-of-9 shooting, while Palmer added 10 points.
Nebraska missed its first five shots of the game and took more than three minutes to make its first field goal. But the Huskers then hit four of their next five shots to spark a 9-0 run. Isaiah Roby scored the first four points of the run and Palmer the final five, as Palmer’s 3-pointer gave Nebraska a 10-4 lead. Following a Rutgers timeout, the Scarlet Knights scored eight straight points to take a 12-10 advantage.
After briefly falling behind, Nebraska used a 13-2 run to build a 25-16 lead with six minutes to play in the half. Copeland scored seven points during the run, and the Husker defense limited Rutgers to just two fields during the nearly eight-minute run, while forcing seven turnovers. Nebraska stretched the lead to 13 with less than five minutes remaining in the half but just when it looked like the Huskers might be pulling away, Rutgers exploded for a 15-0 run in less than three minutes to regain the lead at 33-31. Nebraska answered right back with a 7-0 run over the final 1:02, with Palmer’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer giving the Huskers a five-point halftime lead.
Rutgers opened the second half with a quick basket before Nebraska scored the next five points, including a four-point play from Watson. Trailing by eight, the Scarlet Knights responded with an 8-0 run to tie the game at 43 less than four minutes into the period. The teams traded baskets over the next four minutes before Rutgers hit a 3-pointer to take its first lead of the second half at 50-47 with 11:46 to play.
Nebraska regained a one-point advantage on a Thomas Allen 3-pointer only to see Rutgers score the next seven points and take a 59-53 with 7:13 remaining. The Scarlet Knights stretched the lead to seven with five minutes to play and continued to lead by at least three until Nebraska used an 8-1 run tied the game at 67. But Rutgers again answered as it had all night, scoring eight straight points and 10 of the game’s final 12 points to secure the win.
Montez Mathis led Rutgers with 20 points, while Geo Baker scored 16 points and Myles Johnson added 13. That trio combined for 33 second-half points, as Rutgers outscored Nebraska 43-31 over the final 20 minutes.
Nebraska is back in action on Saturday when the Huskers host the Ohio State Buckeyes at 11 a.m. at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The game will be televised nationally on FS1, with the Husker Sports Network providing live radio coverage.
*-James Palmer Jr. finished with 22 points, his 10th 20-point effort of the season and 18th of his career.
*-Palmer finished in double figures for the 18th time in 19 games this season finishing with 16 points and eight rebounds. *-Nebraska reached double figures in steals for the fifth time this year and finished with 11 steals. The Huskers came into the game leading the Big Ten with 8.3 steals per game.
*-Nebraska went 10-of-18 from the foul line, its lowest performance from the foul line this year. NU entered the game shooting 73 percent from the line overall and 75 percent in Big Ten play.
*-Rutgers’ 15-0 run in the first half run marked only the third double-figure run against Nebraska this season.