No. 24 Nebraska beats Creighton 94-75, ends skid in series
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska, in basketball, is now a red state.
The No. 24 Cornhuskers left no doubt, turning in their best performance of the season against Creighton, their in-state rival from Omaha.
James Palmer made three of his career-best six 3-pointers in the first three minutes and finished with 30 points, and the Huskers won 94-75 on Saturday night to end a seven-game losing streak in the series.
“James is a playmaker, and the bigger the stage, the bigger the performance,” said Nebraska coach Tim Miles, who won for the first time in the series and also broke through to win for the first time in 15 games against teams coached by Greg McDermott.
Creighton’s Mitch Ballock made his first six shots, all 3-pointers, and finished 7 for 10 from long range with 23 points. His efforts weren’t nearly enough.
The Huskers (8-2) shot 53 percent from the floor, including 52 percent (14 of 27) on 3-pointers.
Isaiah Roby had 15 points and eight rebounds, Glynn Watson Jr. had 13 points and Isaac Copeland added 11 points.
The 19-point winning margin was Nebraska’s biggest in the series since 1997.
“Every guy made these huge plays,” Miles said. “You start with James Palmer shooting the ball really well, Isaiah and Isaac Copeland doing what they always do, and then you look at Glynn. I was so happy for Glynn. And then Tom Allen, it was like he was shot out of a cannon tonight.”
The win was especially sweet for Watson, who was 0-3 in his career against the Bluejays.
“I can’t really put it into too many words,” he said. “It’s a great feeling. I’m very happy for me, my coach and my team.”
The sellout crowd at Pinnacle Bank Arena began chanting “Go Big Red!” as the Huskers put the finishing touches on their performance.
The Huskers led by as much as 21 points in the first half but couldn’t put the Bluejays away until late.
“Today we were so hyped before the game,” Palmer said. “We were ready to play. It really showed in the first half.”
The Bluejays got a dunk from Martin Krampelj and a layup and 3-pointer from Davion Mintz to make it 77-67 with 6:11 left.
Allen missed a 3 as the shot clock was running out. If the Bluejays had gotten the rebound, they would have had a chance to cut the lead to single digits. But Roby came up with the ball and passed to Copeland, who swished a 3 to put the Huskers up 84-70 with 3:46 left.
Mintz had 13 of his 15 points in the second half and Ty-Shon Alexander scored 10 for Creighton (6-3).
“Nebraska played great,” McDermott said. “We were concerned with their dribble penetration and their ability to get to the free-throw line. We tried to plug up the lane early. To their credit, they made us pay with the 3-point shot. That kind of got the crowd into the game and got us off to a rough start, and then we’re fighting an uphill battle the rest of the game.”
Creighton: The Bluejays got all they could want from Ballock, but the rest of the team shot 19 of 50 from the field, and their 12 turnovers were converted into 17 Nebraska points.
Nebraska: The Huskers were up 13 points in the second half at Minnesota on Wednesday and squandered the lead in an 85-78 loss. When Creighton trimmed its 21-point deficit to nine, the Huskers responded well and never let the Bluejays get closer.
Nebraska extended its home winning streak to 17 straight games, with 12 of those victories by double digits. That marks the Huskers’ longest home winning streak since a school-record 20-game streak spanning the 1965-66 and 1966-67 seasons. Nebraska is 6-0 at Pinnacle Bank Arena this season, winning every game by at least 15 points.
MILES VS. MAC
Miles said the end of his personal 0-for-14 streak against McDermott-coached teams at the Division I and II levels will make for good conversation when the two play golf together next summer.
“It’s meaningful,” Miles said. “But I won’t be happy until we get 13 more.”
Creighton hosts Green Bay on Friday.
Nebraska plays Oklahoma State on Dec. 16 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
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