BIG TEN MEN’S BASKETBALL: Nebraska surprises No. 21 Maryland in Big Ten Tournament
CHICAGO (AP) — Once James Palmer Jr. pulled on his crisp red Nebraska jersey, it was mostly smooth sailing for the Cornhuskers.
Palmer scored 24 points after a late wardrobe change, and Nebraska shut down No. 21 Maryland 69-61 on Thursday for the first big surprise of the Big Ten Tournament.
Using a seven-man rotation because of injuries and backup guard Nana Akenten’s suspension, the Cornhuskers harassed the Terrapins into 36 percent (18 for 50) shooting and 11 turnovers. Glynn Watson Jr. added 19 points, and Isaiah Roby finished with 15.
“We believe in each other. That’s the main thing,” Watson said.
Palmer went 8 for 13 from the field after he matched a career high with 34 points in Wednesday’s tournament-opening victory over Rutgers. He played 40 minutes for the second straight day after realizing right before tip-off that he wasn’t wearing his game jersey.
“Oh man. I was shocked because I’ve never done that before,” Palmer said. “First time for everything. Lucky for me our manager Pat (Norris) got it to me in time.”
Nebraska (18-15) earned a second win in the Big Ten tourney for the first time since 2016 and will face fourth-seeded Wisconsin on Friday afternoon. The Cornhuskers lost 62-51 to the Badgers on Jan. 29 in their only meeting of the season.
“A lot of teams would just say, we’ve got seven guys, there’s no way, and they’d quit,” coach Tim Miles said. “Not just say I quit, but they just wouldn’t do those things. So I think that is probably that mentality is the thing I’m most proud of.”
Maryland (22-10) swept Nebraska during the regular season, including a 60-45 win in Lincoln on Feb. 6. But the Terrapins — one of the youngest teams in the country — struggled offensively in their third loss in their last four games.