Queens, N.Y. – James Palmer Jr. had a team-high 13 points, but the Huskers could not survive a cold-shooting performance, falling to St. John’s 79-56 Thursday night at Carnesecca Arena in the Gavitt Tipoff Games.
Palmer’s third straight double-figure effort was one of the few highlights on the night, as the Huskers shot just 28 percent from the floor, including 6-of-26 from 3-point range, and committed 16 turnovers in suffering their first loss the season
Shamorie Ponds paced four St. John’s players in double figures with 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists, as Nebraska was unable to slow down the Red Strom backcourt after closing to within eight in the opening minute of the second half.
Nebraska was within 40-32 after a Glynn Watson Jr. 3-pointer, but St. Johns extended the margin with a 12-6 spurt to push the lead back to 13, as the Red Storm opened the half by hitting six of its first seven shots, including a trio of 3-pointers, and Nebraska was unable to cut into the deficit.
The Huskers struggled from the floor in the first half, hitting just 30 percent from the field, as St. John’s took a 37-24 lead into the locker room. Nebraska battled foul trouble, as four players, including Watson and James Palmer, picked up two fouls apiece and committed 11 first-half turnovers.
The Huskers jumped to an early 5-2 lead on a three-point play from Evan Taylor and an Isaac Copeland basket, but the hosts responded with an 11-2 run to build a 13-7 lead after a Marcus LoVett basket. The Huskers trailed 17-8, but fought back, as 3-pointers from Thomas Allen and Taylor keyed an 8-2 Husker run that pulled NU within 19-16 after a Taylor’s 3-pointer with 9:06 left in the half.
That would be as close as NU would get the remainder of the half, as Ponds keyed an 18-8 spurt for St. John’s with 10 of his 14 first-half points to help the Red Storm build a 15-point before Anton Gill’s four-point play with 6.3 seconds left in the half ended the Huskers’ dryspell.
Lovett and Ponds combined for 22 of St. John’s 37 first half points.
Nebraska got out of gates quickly in the second half, scoring the first five points of the half to cut the 13-point deficit to 37-29 with 19:13 remaining after Watson split a pair of technical foul shots. The Huskers opened the second half by hitting five of its first 10 shots, but St. John’s matched the Huskers basket for basket, hitting six of its first seven shots, including a trio of 3-pointers, to push the lead back to 14.
The Huskers return home Sunday afternoon, as the Huskers play North Dakota beginning at 1 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at Huskers.com/Tickets or at the Pinnacle Bank Arena Box box office beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.