James Palmer and Glyn Watson Jr. combined for 36 points Tuesday night and the Nebraska defense held Mississippi Valley State to just three first-half field goals as the Cornhuskers ran away with a 106-37 season-opening win over the visiting Delta Devils.
Nebraska, which was coming off a 22-11 season and an NIT bid, shot 58.5 percent from the field, including 46.9 percent (15 of 32) from 3-point range. The Cornhusker defense held Mississippi State to 13 of 68 (19.1 percent) from the field.
Palmer, a first-team all-Big Ten selection last season, scored 15 first-half points and Watson 11 as the Cornhuskers never were threatened and coasted to the easy victory. Palmer finished with 15 points.
Watson, who was making his 78th career start, finished with 21 points.
Nana Akenten came off the Nebraska bench to score 18 points in just 13 minutes of play. The Cornhuskers’ sharp-shooting sixth man made 6 of 14 field-goal attempts, including going 5 of 9 from 3-point range.
The Delta Devils, who were coming off a 4-28 season, were led by Jordan Evans, who scored 13 points. Dante Scott, the former Memphis player, who is the Delta Devils’ leading returning scorer (14.9 points per game), finished with nine points on a 4-for-22 night.
Palmer connected from beyond the arc to open the scoring and the Cornhuskers (1-0) were off and running.
Evans got the Delta Devils on the board at the 17:52 mark. Mississippi State’s next basket came on a Fritz Lucien dunk with just under 10 minutes left in the half to make the score 24-7.
The Delta Devils’ only other first-half field goal came with just over five minutes to go on a Scott layup. But by then, the Huskers had a 43-11 lead.
The Cornhuskers took a 55-13 lead into halftime.
As dominating as they were in the first half, the Cornhuskers were even more in control in the second. Nebraska made nine of its first 12 shots in the second half, outscoring Mississippi Valley State 24-5 to open a 79-18 lead.
The Cornhuskers cracked the century mark on Justin Costello’s 3-pointer, which gave Nebraska a 70-point lead with 2:11 left in the game.
—Field Level Media