Lincoln, Neb. — Despite a slow offensive night, the Nebraska men’s basketball team grabbed a win over Wisconsin with a 63-59 victory at Pinnacle Bank Arena Tuesday night. James Palmer Jr. scored 11 of his 18 points in the second half to lead the Huskers to their 12th win of the season, matching last year’s win total.
In addition to his team-high 18 points, Palmer added five rebounds and went 8-for-9 from the foul line on a night where Nebraska relied heavily on the charity stripe. Nebraska held on for the win by scoring 13 of its final 15 points at the free throw line, as the Huskers moved to 12-6 on the season and improved to 3-2 in Big Ten Conference play.
In addition to another big night from Palmer – who reached double figures for the 14th straight game – Isaac Copeland chipped in 12 points and six rebounds. Jordy Tshimanga also had his best performance of the season by scoring a season-high nine points and grabbing six rebounds.
Ethan Happ led Wisconsin (9-9 overall, 2-2 Big Ten) with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
Nebraska led by as many as 10 points in the first half before a late Wisconsin run trimmed the lead to 26-22 at the break. Although the Huskers hit just one 3-pointer in the first half and committed seven turnovers which led to 12 Badger points, the Huskers still took a lead into the locker room thanks to a stifling defensive effort. The Huskers held Wisconsin to 22 points in the first half, an opponent first-half low for Nebraska this season. The Badgers shot just 33.3 percent in the first half.
After a defensive first half, the Big Red came out strong in the second half and went on a 13-2 run, including a 7-0 spurt to stretch the lead to 13 six minutes into the second half. Nebraska could never shake the Badgers however, as Happ helped the Badgers chip away the lead and brought Wisconsin within five with just over four minutes to go. At the final media timeout, the Huskers led by seven points before Palmer hit a jumper after the timeout to extend the lead to nine. With under one minute left, Happ cut the lead to five to give Wisconsin some momentum, but Glynn Watson Jr., Palmer and Copeland came in clutch with key free throws down the stretch. Wisconsin hit a pair of quick three-pointers near the end of regulation to make it a one-possession game for the first time since the opening minutes of the half, but Evan Taylor hit a free throw with less than one second remaining to seal the win.
Nebraska is back in action on Friday when it travels to Penn State for another Big Ten match up against the Nittany Lions. Tip off is set for 6 p.m.