James Palmer Jr. knew something needed to change.
After struggling through Nebraska’s first bout of overtime play of the season in a loss at Penn State last Friday, the junior addressed the off night on Monday after a win over Illinois.
Against the Nittany Lions he shot just 1-of-9 from the field, and missed his only three-point attempt of the night during 20 minutes of play. The guard was also called for three personal fouls and before heading to the bench halfway into the second half, where he remained through overtime. Even after rallying back from a 16-point deficit at halftime, the Huskers fell victim to a last-second jump shot in a 76-74 PSU win.
Palmer said he felt like a lot of the responsibility for the loss fell on him and he knew he needed to take action.
Against Illinois, Palmer answered the call.
“I definitely had to come out and play well this game, I couldn’t have two bad games in a row. At Penn State I think it was really on me because I didn’t show up on the road game. We really took the loss hard so we had to come out and play hard today and I tried to help the team as much as possible.”
– James Palmer Jr.
The difference between his numbers at PSU and Monday night against Illinois was stark. In his return to Pinnacle Bank Arena, Palmer recorded a season-high 10 field goals, and led both teams on the scoring front with 24 points, just one shy of his career high. It also marked his 18th double figure scoring night in 20 games this season.
Even bigger than his impressive numbers on the night was Palmer’s game winning 3-pointer with .03 left on the game clock. After watching from the bench as Penn State won the game with a late jump shot, Palmer took ‘his turn’ for Nebraska on Monday, and connected with a ‘3’ to help the Huskers escape with a 64-63 win.
“I’m very happy for James,” Coach Tim Miles said. “He bounced back in a big way. He and I had a good talk of ‘James I believe in you, I know you’re a go-to guy.’ I stuck with him when he was falling down tonight, but James can make plays and that’s always valuable.”
– Compiled by Becca Mann