Watson scores 19, Nebraska beats Northwestern 70-55
ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) — Glynn Watson Jr. knew he needed to step up after two quiet games and give Nebraska a lift.
This will do.
Watson scored 19 points and Nebraska took control down the stretch to beat Northwestern 70-55 on Tuesday night.
“It’s just on me,” Watson said. “I’ve got to get focused.”
Held to a total of three points over the previous two games against UT San Antonio and Delaware State, he sure was locked in for this one. Watson also had six rebounds and six assists.
James Palmer Jr. added 18 points, 15 in the second half, and Isaac Copeland scored 13.
The Cornhuskers (11-5, 2-1 Big Ten) blocked 14 shots, one shy of their record, on the way to their fourth straight win.
Dererk Pardon had 17 points and a season-high 15 rebounds for Northwestern (10-6, 1-2). But the Wildcats shot just 29 percent from the field (19 of 65) and were 6 of 21 on 3-pointers.
It didn’t help that star guard Bryant McIntosh watched from the sideline after exiting Saturday’s win over Brown with a left knee injury. He is day to day after an MRI showed no major structural damage.
“If you take our main creator out, we become a team that has to really score off our offense,” coach Chris Collins said. “Because that’s not a strength of what a lot of our guys do. They’re good players, but when you have a guy like Bryant, he can break you down (off the dribble) he can play in pick-and-roll and obviously that’s a big element of what we do. But you have to play with what you have. I’m not making excuses. That’s part of the game.”
Nebraska coach Tim Miles acknowledged McIntosh’s absence allowed his team to take some more chances on defense, to be more disruptive. And they certainly were able to fluster the Wildcats. Then again, Northwestern also missed its share of open shots, particularly on the perimeter.
Despite all that, the Wildcats led by seven early in the second half. Nebraska then took control and ended a four-game losing streak to Northwestern.
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers are starting to build some momentum after back-to-back losses to Creighton and Kansas.
Northwestern: The Wildcats continue to struggle to find consistency coming off their first NCAA tournament appearance.
The Cornhuskers went on a 16-5 run to go up 41-36. Law cut it to 41-40 with a basket and two free throws, but the Cornhuskers pulled away after that.
Anton Gill made a 4-point play with just under eight minutes left, and Collins said, “They got a lot of energy from that.”
Isaac Copeland got fouled on a put-back and hit the free throw to complete the 3-point play, making it 54-45 with 6:13 remaining. And James Palmer nailed a 3 to make it 59-49 with 3:32 left.
“We’ve got more guys that can make plays,” Miles said. “You have to credit them, though. It was a struggle. Defensively, Northwestern was excellent. There (were) no good looks early for each team. We just kept hanging in there and hanging there.”
Nebraska blocked 15 shots against Coppin State on Dec. 6, 1996. ... Copeland and Duby Okeke each had three blocks in this game.
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers visit No. 13 Purdue on Saturday.
Northwestern: The Wildcats visit Penn State on Friday.
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