James Palmer Jr. and Glynn Watson Jr. had 16 points apiece, as Nebraska closed out non-conference action with a 79-38 victory over Southwest Minnesota State Saturday afternoon at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The Huskers, who are ranked 23rd in the coaches poll, jumped out to a 12-0 lead and never looked back in posting their 19th consecutive home win. Nebraska finished non-conference action with a 10-1 mark, its best mark since 2003-04 and the fourth time since World War II that the Huskers had one non-conference loss.
Palmer finished with 16 points, five assists and six rebounds, while Watson had 16 points, five boards, four assists and four steals to lead four Huskers in double figures, as all 10 players who dressed got in the scoring column. Isaac Copeland Jr. had 12 points while Thomas Allen added 10 as no Husker played more than 28 minutes.
Nebraska got out to a blistering start behind the play of Copeland, as the senior keyed a 12-0 spurt in the first 3:12 with five of his seven first-half points.
Southwest Minnesota State chipped away, pulling to within 16-8 following a basket by Braedan Hansen and was within 19-10 before Nebraska used an 18-3 run to build a comfortable margin. Palmer scored 10 of his 14 first-half points in the surge as Nebraska built a 37-13 cushion after a Brady Heiman basket capped a run of 13 straight points for the hosts.
In all, the Huskers held Southwest Minnesota State to 29 percent shooting in the first half and turned nine Mustang turnovers into 16 points. Nebraska shot 36 percent, but went 7-of-13 from 3-point range.
After SMSU pulled within 17 in the opening minute of the second half, Nebraska used an 11-0 spurt, capped by five straight points from Allen, to push the advantage to 48-20, and NU cruised to the 41-point win
Ryan Bruggeman and Steven McNease led Minnesota State with eight points apiece, as the Mustangs shot 30 percent from the field and just 3-of-21 from 3-point range. Saturday’s game was an exhibition game for the Mustangs before resuming conference action on Sunday.
The Huskers are back in action on Wednesday, Jan. 2, when they travel to Maryland. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. (central) and will be carried by the Husker Sports Network and televised on BTN.