James Palmer Jr. scored 26 points to pace Nebraska to a sixth straight victory with a 70-66 decision over Maryland on Tuesday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Neb.
Palmer keyed a 9-0 run early in the second half as the Cornhuskers (20-8, 11-4 Big Ten) took control. His 3-pointer at 17:41 broke a 36-36 tie and started the run. When he scored in transition at 15:57, Nebraska led 43-36, the biggest lead in the game by either team to that point.
But Maryland (17-11, 6-9) hung tough, and freshman Bruno Fernando’s stickback with 1:40 to play cut the lead to 64-63. Fernando blocked a Palmer shot, but the Cornhuskers came up with a defensive stop at their end. Isaiah Roby hit two free throws at 20 seconds to make it 66-63. Roby finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
The Cornhuskers won 20 games in the regular season for just the sixth time in the program’s 122-year history. The current six-game winning streak is the longest for Nebraska in 20 years.
Fernando had 21 points, 12 in the first half, as the Terrapins were able to get the ball inside effectively and control the tempo. Fernando’s tip-in at the halftime horn gave Maryland a 32-30 lead after the Terrapins shot 13-of-26 and overcame an early deficit. Fernando finished 9-of-14 from the field and had nine rebounds.
The Terrapins didn’t lead until the 10:41 mark when Anthony Cowan hit a 3-pointer to make it 12-10, and that was the first of six lead changes in the half. Evan Taylor’s two free throws for Nebraska at 28 seconds had knotted the score 30-30, the fourth tie of the first half.
Cowan had an uncharacteristically poor night, hitting just 3 of 13 shots and finishing with seven points, seven assists and five rebounds. Kevin Huerter had 12 points before fouling out in the final seconds.
Maryland held Nebraska without a field goal over the final 5:42 of play, but didn’t have an answer for Palmer much of the second half as he got 24 points in that frame.
The Terrapins are back in action Saturday, hosting Rutgers. Maryland has lost seven of the last 10 games. Nebraska plays Sunday at Illinois.
—Field Level Media