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Nebraska takes care of Cal State Fullerton

December 25, 2018

LINCOLN — Tim Miles wanted to see his team do three things Saturday.Build a lead, win the game, get to the holiday break without anyone hurt. It wasn’t pretty, and the lead-building part took awhile, but Nebraska checked all three boxes in an 86-62 win over Cal State Fullerton in front of 13,349 at Pinnacle Bank Arena.“There’s probably nine things we could take from that game and try and get better at,” Miles said. “But at the end of the day, I thought we did a good job slowly extending the lead.”Nebraska players now have an NCAA-mandated three days off, and arrive at the Christmas break 10-2, the program’s best start since the 2010-11 season.James Palmer led the way with an efficient 23 points, shooting 7 for 14 from the floor and 4 for 6 from the 3-point line. Nebraska shot 50 percent from the floor in the second half and was 10 of 22 for the game from 3-point range.Cal State Fullerton shot 38 percent from the floor and 4 for 19 from 3-point range. Kyle Allman scored 16 points for the Titans, but he took 17 shots.Nebraska took awhile to decide to fight on Saturday afternoon. Sophomore guard Thomas Allen was late to the team shoot-around, so Miles sat the starter for the first six minutes of the game. Sophomore Nana Akenten started in Allen’s place, and that messed with rotations, Miles said.And because of that, Cal State Fullerton (3-9) kept it close against a lackadaisical Nebraska defense. Two straight floaters from Austen Awosika closed an early lead to 17-13 midway through the first.With the lack of regular routine and the prospect of going home after the game hanging over the arena, Saturday’s game was tough to get motivated for, senior guard Glynn Watson said. That may have contributed to the slow start.“It’s pretty hard because we ain’t played in like a week or so,” said Watson, who finished with 10 points and 10 assists. “We started off slow, but we picked it up and came out with a win. We got it done.”Cal State Fullerton outrebounded Nebraska 22-17 in the first half and outscored NU 22-8 in the paint. NU led 36-25 at the break, but went through two separate scoring droughts of longer than 3:45 in the final 10 minutes.Fullerton shot just 35 percent from the floor at the half and had nine turnovers, but was within striking distance at the break.The second half was a different story. Nebraska came out swinging.Palmer and Isaac Copeland traded off 3s, and an and-1 for Isaiah Roby finished a 9-2 run to give NU a comfortable 18 -point lead early in the second. Roby didn’t score or record a rebound in his first 11 minutes of the game, but finished with 20 points and eight boards.“I was being aggressive early and I wasn’t making shots,” Roby said. “I just started making shots later in the game.”Nebraska built the lead to 21, but Fullerton wouldn’t go away. A 9-0 run in a little more than two minutes cut the lead to 12 with nine minutes left. The Huskers countered with a 3 from Palmer, two Watson free throws and a dunk from Roby to retake a 19-point lead and cruise to the win.“I think Coach Miles has done a hell of a job building a great culture,” Fullerton coach Dedrique Taylor said. “For our level, we are a talented group of guys, but right now we’re not making the same plays that Coach Miles has his team making.”Nebraska does not play for a week and will have time off for the first time this season. Players were giddy after the game about the idea of going home and getting some time off. The usually serious and monotone Palmer was giggling most of the press conference and wished the media a “Merry Christmas” on his way out the door.For Miles, while his team relaxes, the break will be focused on projects. His team is 10-2, but the Big Ten awaits just past the New Year.“We did a lot of things right,” Miles said. “There’s a lot of things we can do better.”CAL STATE FULLERTON (3-9)FG FT RB PF A Min TPWang 1-3 1-2 5 2 1 16:52 3Rowe 1-6 1-2 6 4 1 30:05 3Smith 1-3 0-2 5 4 1 21:02 3Awosika 5-10 2-6 9 1 1 33:30 13Ahmad 5-13 2-2 3 5 0 17:57 12Allman 7-17 2-2 2 3 1 29:01 16Clare 1-5 0-0 5 1 1 9:51 2Kuljuhovic 0-2 0-0 8 2 1 17:50 0Arnold 3-6 0-0 2 1 1 18:51 8Ozegovic 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 2:39 0Heinzl 1-1 0-0 0 1 0 2:22 2Totals 25-66 8-16 49 24 8 200 62 3-point shots (4-19) — Arnold 2-5, Smith 1-2, Awosika 1-2, Clare 0-1, Rowe 0-2. Ahmad 0-3, Allman 0-4. Team rebounds — 3. Turnovers — 16. Shot percent — 37.9.NEBRASKA (10-2)FG FT RB PF A Min TPCopeland 3-8 5-7 4 3 0 31:12 12Roby 5-13 9-16 8 2 3 30:50 20Palmer 7-14 5-7 4 1 0 34:21 23Watson 3-11 4-5 3 1 10 35:31 10Akenten 3-4 0-0 4 1 0 20:34 9Borchardt 0-0 0-0 1 2 1 9:50 0Allen 4-5 0-0 3 1 1 20:49 9Thorbjarnarson 0-1 0-0 1 0 1 5:00 0Heiman 1-3 1-3 5 0 0 8:21 3Trueblood 0-0 0-0 0 0 1 2:22 0Costello 0-0 0-0 0 0 1 1:10 0Totals 26-59 24-38 33 11 18 200 86 3-point shots (10-22) — Palmer 4-6, Akenten 3-4, Allen 1-1, Roby 1-3, Copeland 1-3, Thorbjarnarson 0-1, Watson 0-4. Team rebounds — 5. Turnovers — 7. Shot percent — 44.1.Cal State Fullerton 25 37—62At Nebraska 36 50—86 A — 13,349. Officials — Courtney Green, Edwin Young, Mark Riggs.

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