Lincoln – James Palmer Jr. scored a game-high 15 points, while Isaiah Roby recorded his second double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds as Nebraska cruised to a 67-55 win over Rutgers on Saturday afternoon at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
With its fifth win in a row, Nebraska improves to 19-8 on the year and 10-4 in the Big Ten, as the Cornhuskers maintain fourth-place in the league. Nebraska’s 19 wins so far this season matches the program’s highest win total in 10 seasons, and 2017-18 marks just the 12th time in program history that the Huskers have won double-digit conference games. Rutgers falls to 12-15 on the season and 2-12 in the Big Ten.
Four Huskers finished in double figures, as Glynn Watson Jr. and Isaac Copeland both added 11 points a piece. Jordy Tshimanga continued his strong play inside, as he had eight points off the bench. Palmer had five rebounds and dished out four assists, while Duby Okeke recorded a season-high four blocks.
Nebraska was lights out on both offense and defense to begin the game, as the Huskers scored the first eight points of the contest. A Roby coast-to-coast layup gave Nebraska a 6-0 lead and forced a Rutgers timeout, and Palmer scored on a putback to give NU an 8-0 lead before Rutgers got on the board.
A highlight dunk from Roby put the Huskers on top 17-4, before an Anton Gill 3-pointer gave the Huskers their largest lead of the half at 20-4 with 12:13 in the half.
Rutgers fought back, and eventually cut the Husker lead to single digits, using a 6-0 run capped with a bucket in transition from Deshawn Freeman off a Geo Baker assist to shave the NU lead to just 24-17. The Scarlet Knights would get it as close as five at 27-22 before Watson’s first two baskets of the game gave NU some cushion at 31-22.
In the final few minutes of the half, the Huskers turned up the pressure on the defensive end, with a block by Okeke to set the tone. The Huskers scored the final four points of the half at the free-throw line, and took a 37-28 lead into the locker room at halftime. Palmer led NU with nine points before the break, while Copeland added seven as seven different Huskers scored in the opening half.
After Rutgers cut the lead to 38-32 early in the second half, Nebraska embarked on a 10-0 run to push the lead to 16 at 48-32, capped by four straight points from Copeland.
Roby’s basket at the 6:41 mark gave Nebraska its largest lead of the game at 63-44, before Nebraska salted the game away to complete a season sweep over the Scarlet Knights.
The Huskers never trailed in the game, and shot 45 percent from the field. Nebraska held Rutgers to 34.8 percent from the floor and continued its strong defense of the three-point line, as Rutgers was just 2-14 (14.3 percent) for the game.
Corey Sanders led the Scarlet Knights with 14 points, while Freeman added 12 and Eugene Omoruyi returned from injury to score 11 for the visitors.
Nebraska returns to action on Tuesday night, as the Huskers welcome Maryland to Lincoln at 6 p.m. The game will be carried on BTN and can be heard around the world on the Husker Sports Network.