The Nebraska men’s basketball team saw its season end Sunday night in an 88-72 loss to TCU in the second round of the NIT Tournament at Schollmaier Arena.
James Palmer Jr. scored 19 points in his final game – all in the second half – to finish his senior season with 708 points, the most points in a single season in Nebraska history. Fellow senior Tanner Borchardt posted his second career double-double, finishing with a career-high 16 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, the second-highest total of his career. Senior Johnny Trueblood also set a career high with eight points, while Glynn Watson Jr. concluded his outstanding career with a stat-filling performance of 17 points, a career-high-tying nine rebounds and six assists without a turnover. Sophomore Thorir Thorbjarnarson chipped in eight points, one off his career high.
Nebraska finished the season with a 19-17 record. TCU (22-13) advanced to Tuesday’s NIT quarterfinal, when the Horned Frogs will host Creighton. TCU had five players in double figures, led by Desmond Bane’s game-high 30 points. The Horned Frogs shot 51 percent from the field – including 59.3 percent in the second half – and knocked down 10 3-pointers while going 20-of-25 at the free throw line. Nebraska committed only seven turnovers and out-rebounded TCU, but the Huskers shot just 43 percent from the floor, 32 percent from the 3-point line and 53 percent from the charity stripe.
Nebraska trailed by eight at the half, but the Huskers were in the game thanks to some unexpected scoring contributions. Borchardt (eight points), Thorbjarnarson (seven) and Trueblood (five) combined for 20 of Nebraska’s 32 first-half points.
TCU led by six early before the Huskers used an 8-0 run to take a 14-12 lead eight minutes into the game. Watson scored six of his eight first-half points during the run. TCU was able to regain the lead despite going more than five minutes without a field goal, but a Thorbjarnarson 3-pointer put Nebraska back on top, 18-17 midway through the half.
With the game tied at 19-19, TCU scored eight straight points during a larger 12-2 run to build a 10-point lead at the five-minute mark. Three straight points from Borchardt pulled Nebraska to within seven, and the Huskers cut the lead down to five, but TCU scored five points in the final 39 seconds of the half to take a 40-32 lead into the locker room.
After being held scoreless and missing all 10 of his first-half shots, Palmer hit three 3-pointers in the first three minutes of the second half. But TCU answered two of Palmer’s shots as the Horned Frogs extended their lead to 10. The lead was back down to eight before a flagrant foul led to a five-point possession that allowed TCU to take a 13-point lead at the 12-minute mark.
Nebraska, which trailed by at least five the entire second half, was back within eight with 10 minutes to play, but the Huskers could get no closer. The lead held steady between and eight and 13 points for most of the half, until TCU scored 10 of the final 14 points to pull away for the 16-point win