EditorsNote: updates second graf with Tuesday opponents
Isaac Copeland Jr. and Glynn Watson Jr. combined to score 39 points, leading Nebraska to an 85-62 win over Missouri State in a semifinal matchup at the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City, Mo.
Nebraska (4-0) will play in the championship game on Tuesday against Texas Tech, which beat Southern California 78-63 late Monday night. Missouri State (3-1) will oppose the Trojans.
On a night when Nebraska’s leading scorer, James Palmer Jr., was saddled with foul trouble and struggled to get going offensively, it was Copeland, a transfer from Georgetown, who led the Cornhuskers to their first win of the season away from Lincoln.
Copeland scored 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field. He also grabbed seven rebounds and had four assists.
Nebraska’s floor general, Watson, scored 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including 4-of-8 success from 3-point range.
Palmer, who came in averaging 21 points, four rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, played only seven minutes in the first half, scoring only five points. He hit a jumper five minutes into the second half to give the Huskers a 48-37 lead and finished with eight points. He also committed five turnovers.
Missouri State went from a man-to-man to a matchup zone in the second half and Nebraska promptly went on 13-6 run to open up a 56-43 lead. The Cornhuskers, sitting just outside the AP Top 25, opened up an 18-point lead at 71-53 and cruised from there.
Keandre Cook led the Bears with 22 points. Jarred Dixon added 12 points, and Kabir Mohammed scored 10.
The Bears had to feel fortunate to be trailing only by 36-29 at half. The Cornhuskers dominated the first 20 minutes and led 26-14 with just under six minutes to go before intermission. Copeland scored seven consecutive points to cap the run.
However, Cook got hot and scored nine points as Missouri State cut the deficit 29-26.
Nebraska scored the first six points of the game with Watson and Palmer sinking 3-point jumpers. The Bears finally got on the board on Dixon’s layup at the 16:52 mark.
With Palmer on the bench, Nebraska’s sharpshooting sophomore guard Nana Akenten sank a trey to put the Cornhuskers up for good at 11-10 at the 12:45 mark.
Akenten connected on 3 of 5 from long range and finished with 11 points off the Nebraska bench.
—Field Level Media