Huskers pull away from Iowa, 98-84
LINCOLN, Neb. — Chanting Nebraska fans wanted 100 points, but there was no need to go for it when the Cornhuskers got the ball back for their final possession and the clock winding down.
Their 98-84 win over Iowa was good enough Saturday night.
“I won’t apologize to the fans for not getting 100 tonight,” James Palmer Jr. said. “It probably would have been great for them, but we got the win, so be happy.”
Palmer scored 28 points, Isaac Copeland added 23 points and 11 rebounds and Nebraska pulled away in the second half.
Nebraska (16-8, 7-4 Big Ten) scored its most points in a conference game since putting up 99 against Kansas State in 2002 when the Huskers were in the Big 12.
“One thing about Iowa is they can lead you down the path to a shootout,” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said. “They play quick, they see an open shot and it’s going up, and you can have a lot of quick possessions. I didn’t know if we could keep up.”
Iowa (11-12, 2-8), which beat Wisconsin on Tuesday, failed to win consecutive conference games for the first time and left coach Fran McCaffery with 399 career wins.
Jordan Bohannon and Tyler Cook each had 24 points to lead the Hawkeyes.
Copeland made his first five shots and scored 13 points in the opening 7 ¢ minutes. Seven different Huskers scored as they closed the half on a 23-10 run to grow a 25-24 lead to 48-34 at half.
“Copeland has looked good shooting it all week,” Miles said.
Iowa got within 56-54 early in the second half, with Bohannon scoring seven quick points, 6-foot-11 freshman Luka Garza making a 3-pointer for his first basket of the game, and Ahmad Wagner scoring on a layup to make it a two-point game.
But Palmer started a decisive 15-4 run that broke open the game again. He made back-to-back 3s and scored nine points during the spurt.
Garza, after making his first 3, tried another one a minute later and only hit backboard. After a couple Iowa turnovers and a foul on Nicholas Baer, Nebraska was in control.
“They’re a talented group that shares the ball,” McCaffery said of Nebraska. “They have a lot of good individual players. I don’t see any selfishness there. Copeland and Palmer, they’re the guys, but they give it up.”
Isaiah Roby added 17 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and two steals for the Huskers, who are alone in fourth place.
Nebraska already has one more conference win than it did last season.
“I like the demeanor of my team, I like the buy-in,” Miles said.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes have struggled on defense all season and came in allowing 82.6 points per game against Big Ten opponents. Saturday was their worst performance. They gave up a season-high 98 points and allowed Nebraska to shoot an opponent season-best 57.7 percent and make 6 of 8 3-pointers in the second half and 11 of 19 (57.9 percent) for the game.
Nebraska: Palmer has been on a tear the last five games, averaging just under 25 points, and big man Jordy Tshimanga scored a season-high 11 points. Tshimanga was away from the team for two games two weeks ago for personal reasons. Miles said he’s come back playing free and loosely.
MEET THE COACHES
Fans were on their feet at halftime when the new Nebraska football assistant coaches walked through the tunnel and were introduced on the court. Head coach Scott Frost was a no-show, however.
“We shoot 50 percent from the field, 43 (percent) from 3, 20 assists on nine turnovers against a team that’s up in us. You’re on the road. You come back. There’s a lot of good. And 84 points on the road should keep you in the game. But we give up 98.” — McCaffery.
Iowa hosts Minnesota on Tuesday.
Nebraska visits Wisconsin on Monday.
NEBRASKA 98, IOWA 84
At Lincoln, Neb.
IOWA (11-12) — Garza 2-5 3-4 8, Baer 2-6 0-0 5, Cook 11-18 2-5 24, Moss 1-6 0-0 2, Bohannon 8-15 2-2 24, Wagner 2-3 0-0 4, Nunge 1-5 2-2 5, Pemsl 5-6 0-1 10, Uhl 0-1 0-0 0, Dailey 1-1 0-0 2. TOTALS 33-66 9-14 84.
NEBRASKA (16-8) — Copeland 8-11 3-6 23, Roby 5-10 6-8 17, Watson 0-3 4-4 4, Palmer 7-12 11-14 28, Gill 1-3 0-0 3, Tshimanga 4-5 3-4 11, Allen 1-3 0-0 3, Taylor 4-5 0-0 9. TOTALS 30-52 27-36 98.
Halftime–Nebraska 48-34. 3-Point Goals–Iowa 9-21 (Bohannon 6-11, Nunge 1-2, Garza 1-3, Baer 1-4, Moss 0-1), Nebraska 11-19 (Copeland 4-5, Palmer 3-6, Roby 1-1, Taylor 1-1, Allen 1-3, Gill 1-3). Fouled Out–Garza. Rebounds–Iowa 28 (Cook 10), Nebraska 36 (Copeland 11). Assists–Iowa 20 (Bohannon 7), Nebraska 18 (Palmer 5). Total Fouls–Iowa 22, Nebraska 14. A–15,952 (15,147).