Wow. After entire game of mostly ugly basketball, Nebraska and James Palmer Jr. found a way to win it with a contested three-point buzzer beater to beat Illinois 64-63.
JPJ BUZZER BEATER!!! pic.twitter.com/QAO9VA4CYg— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) January 16, 2018
Nebraska started out cold once again, turning the ball over four times, committing a technical foul, and shooting 25 percent from the field at the U16 media timeout. The technical foul wasn’t anything to worry about though, Palmer grabbed the ball while hanging on the rim after a missed alley-oop.
Things wouldn’t get much better through the next eight minutes, as Illinois led 19-17 at the U8 media timeout, mainly because of Nebraska’s poor shooting. Nebraska was 5-15 from the field, 0-6 from three point line, and had given away the ball six times at the timeout.
The rest of the half Nebraska led, but not by much, for both teams had been in the bonus/double bonus. Copeland had three fouls through the first half, while Evan Taylor, Anton Gill, Isaiah Roby, and Glynn Watson Jr. each had two fouls. The Huskers were fortunate to be leading 32-30 at the half.
Illinois then came firing out of the gates, leading 40-32 with 15 minutes to go. But that’s when Nebraska put their foot on the gas, and it just so happened when Tim Miles started to use the 1-3-1 defense.
Nebraska went on a 14-0 run, including an almost massive dunk by Roby that even though he missed it, made the whole crowd go crazy. Illinois would once again creep back into the game however, getting the ball with 23 seconds to go down two after a missed free throw by Palmer.
Of course Illinois wanted to go for the win with a three, and of course they made it, with Roby fouling Michael Finke on the shot too. Finke would go on to make the free throw to make it a 63-61 lead with 8.1 seconds to go.
Miles called a timeout and according to Palmer said this,
“They told me and Glynn to try and make a play, and that’s what happened, basically.”
Watson dribbled past half court with four seconds left, passed it to Palmer and made the shot shown above. What. A. Win.
Strong play from Taylor and Roby were the X-factors tonight. Taylor, after coming off the bench for the first time this season, ending a scoring slump with 13 points and added five rebounds. Roby did everything in his fourth career start and first of this season, scoring nine points, hauling in ten rebounds, and getting four steals. Without these two, no chance Nebraska won tonight.
To go along with this strange yet important win, Jordy Tshimanga is coming back! Tshimanga will be greatly needed in Nebraska’s next two games, a home game against No. 23 Michigan this Thursday, and then an away game at No. 22 Ohio State next Monday.
If Nebraska wants to make the NCAA tournament this year, it will be vital to at least get one win in these next two games, for these might be their last two ranked opponents in Big Ten play.
Also a shoutout to @PatrickGerhart who predicted the final score would be Nebraska 67, Illinois 63. Just missed by a couple points. GBR.