James Palmer Jr. scored 24 points — including two go-ahead free throws with 1.1 second left — to help host Nebraska snap a seven-game losing streak with a 62-61 victory against Minnesota on Wednesday in Lincoln, Neb.
Referees whistled Minnesota’s Amir Coffey for a late foul to send Palmer to the line. After the free throws, the Golden Gophers executed a clean inbounds pass to Gabe Kalscheur just past midcourt, but Kalscheur lost the handle as Thomas Allen and Glynn Watson Jr. defended and was unable to attempt a potential game-winning shot.
Watson scored 19 points for Nebraska (14-11, 4-10 Big Ten), while Allen contributed seven points and nine rebounds.
Minnesota (16-9, 6-8 Big Ten) suffered its fourth straight loss despite Jordan Murphy’s double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds. Daniel Oturu (16 points) and Coffey (11) also finished in double figures.
Nebraska raced to a 9-1 run in the first 2:08 of the second half to take a 39-32 lead. But Minnesota responded with a 9-2 run to reclaim the advantage. Both teams traded surges after that, with neither side earning more than a four-point edge.
Minnesota drew within 57-55 with 4:33 to go but Isaiah Roby drove to the hoop for a layup on Nebraska’s next possession. Nebraska had the chance to extend its lead to six points with 2:25 to go, but Watson missed a fadeaway jumper, and Minnesota answered with a 6-0 run, punctuated by Murphy’s go-ahead layup with 1:05 left.
The Cornhuskers trailed just 31-30 at halftime despite shooting 14.3 percent (1 of 7) from long range. Proficiency in the paint helped Nebraska stay close, as Palmer led the way with 14 points on 5-for-6 shooting. Palmer scored the first points of the game on a layup before Nebraska went cold, and Minnesota surged to a 10-0 run.
After trailing by as many as 11 points in the first half, Nebraska took a 22-21 lead on two Palmer free throws with 6:34 before halftime. A Dupree McBrayer trey with 40 seconds before halftime gave the Golden Gophers a one-point edge entering the break.
Before Wednesday, Nebraska’s most recent conference win came on Jan. 14 at Indiana.
—Field Level Media