‘Locked-in’ Huskers end seven-year drought by thumping Jays

December 10, 2018 GMT

LINCOLN — For the first time in eight years, Nebraska is a red state.

The Huskers took down the Bluejays in Lincoln, 94-75. It’s the first time in the Tim Miles era Nebraska has beaten its in-state rival.

James Palmer led the Huskers with 30 points on 9-for-12 shooting, hitting 6 of his 7 3-point shots. Thomas Allen scored a career-high 18 points. Nebraska got help from Isaac Copeland, who had 11, and Isaiah Roby, who had 15.

Nebraska gave Creighton a taste of its own medicine, hitting 14 3-pointers en route to its eighth win of the year.

Creighton was led by Mitch Ballock, who made 7 3-pointers. He made his first 6 shots from 3-point range. Creighton, as a team, shot 43.3 percent from the floor.

Nebraska came out from the jump and was ready to vanquish the seven-game Creighton win streak.

Palmer set the tone, making his first three shots — all 3s — to give Nebraska a 9-6 lead.

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Thomas Allen had a coming-out party in the first half. The sophomore scored 11 points in the first 12 minutes, hitting 5 of his first 7 shots, most of which came in the lane. He finished the half with 13.

The chippiness of the rivalry also reared its head early, when both Tim Miles and Greg McDermott were given technical fouls with Nebraska up 16-10. The two were talking to each other from across the court.

That fueled a Nebraska run, jumping out to a 23-14 lead.

Nebraska held Creighton, one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country, to just two 3-point shot attempts in the first eight minutes. The Jays shot 36 percent for the half. They also kept doubling ball screens, which left wide open jumpers for Nebraska.

A 3 from Allen put the Huskers up 27-14 and sent PBA into a frenzy.

Copeland hit a 3 on the next possession for 30-14, forcing a Creighton timeout. Nebraska made six of its first nine shots from 3-point range, and made eight total in the first.

After a Roby fall-away and a Allen lay-up, the Huskers led by 18 with eight minutes left. Nebraska broke the 20-point barrier on a Brady Heiman lay-in, which was set up by Nana Akenten diving on the floor to steal a loose ball away from Creighton. Nebraska led 45-24 at the under-four timeout after an Allen step-back jumper.

Creighton finally woke up and hit a few jumpers in the final four minutes of the half. Ballock shot from all around the arc, making four 3-pointers by the half’s end. The Jays went on a 12-4 run to end the half, with Nebraska not scoring in the final 2:35. The Huskers led at the break 47-34, and shot 51 percent in the first 20 minutes.

Ballock came out willing the Jays back into the game, with two quick 3-pointers to cut the once-21 point lead to nine with 18 minutes left. He made six of his first seven shots, while the rest of his team shot just 26 percent in the first 24 minutes of the game.

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Two 3-pointers from Palmer and Watson gave Nebraska some breathing room. The Huskers were lights-out from deep, making 10 of their first 19 3-pointers.

Unlike the first half, Creighton kept up with the Huskers in the second. Nebraska made seven of its first 10 shots, but the Jays made eight of their first 12. The Huskers kept Creighton at bay through eight minutes, up 67-54.

A 3-pointer from Watson, Nebraska’s 12th of the game, followed by a tip-jam from Copeland opened up the Nebraska lead to 16 two minutes later.

The Jays hit back with a 7-0 run in a quick 1:19, making four of five shots to pull the lead back down to 10. In that span, Nebraska didn’t score a field goal for 2:38.

That drought continued, ending with around five minutes left, and in that time, Creighton couldn’t quite break through. Nebraska led by 14 at the final media timeout.

They went on a 13-2 run after that drought to close out the win.