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Husker hoops notes: Palmer stays hot; Watson working

December 23, 2018

James Palmer is a 35-percent three-point shooter.

On the surface, that doesn’t mean much. There are a lot of guys hitting at that rate, or better, all over the country.

But the way the senior guard has done it — filling it up at a torrid pace from beyond the arc over Nebraska’s past three games — may show that the senior is an even larger scoring threat than he was last season.

Palmer went 4-for-6 from long range Saturday against Cal State Fullerton, the third consecutive game he’s made three or more three-pointers.

Over Nebraska’s last three contests, Palmer is 13-for-17 (76 percent) from long range.

Through the Huskers’ first nine games, Palmer was 13-for-56 (23 percent) and made more than two threes in a game just once.

“I think I still take the same shots in the same spots,” Palmer said Saturday. “It’s just getting in the gym, getting more reps up that I think has really helped me.”

NU coach Tim Miles credited Palmer with continuing to work when things weren’t going his way. Miles has often called Palmer one of the hardest workers on the team. A visit to practice often proves that point — Palmer is generally the last, or one of the last, players on the court getting up shots after a workout.

“I’m proud of James because he’s very coachable,” Miles said. “And I can be really hard on guys. And he just hangs in there with it and puts it into practice.”

Not coincidentally, Palmer’s scoring output has surged with his uptick in long-range accuracy. He’s scored 30, 29 and 23 points in Nebraska’s last three games.

“You can’t expect anything like that, because that’s performing at a really, really high level,” Miles said. “But at the same time, he’s capable. We know he’s capable.”

Watson working: Another senior, Glynn Watson, handed out a career-high 10 assists Saturday. Along with scoring 10 points, that gave the guard the first double-double of his career.

It’s also the second career-high for Watson this season, to go with nine rebounds against Western Illinois. Watson’s points-assists double-double was the first for Nebraska since Lance Jeter did it against Kansas in February 2011.

It’s been a resurgent year for the Chicago native, who leads NU in three-point shooting and assists while averaging nearly 14 points per game.

Already this season, Watson has moved into Nebraska’s top 20 in scoring and top 10 in steals and three-pointers made. He’s 25 assists from Nebraska’s top 10 in that category.

“Coach (Miles) always says Glynn sets the tempo for our team; sets the pace. So when he’s playing hard like that and sharing the ball, we’re really good,” junior forward Isaiah Roby said.

By the numbers: Nebraska’s 10-2 record to start the year is the program’s best since the 1994-95 team started 11-1. The start ties the 2010-11, 2007-08 and 2003-04 teams. ... The victory was Nebraska’s 18th consecutive win in Pinnacle Bank Arena, and moved NU within two games of tying the program-record 20-game streak that spanned the 1965-66 and 1966-67 seasons. ... Palmer reached double figures for the 42nd time in 45 career games at Nebraska. ... Palmer and Roby gave Nebraska its first pair of 20-point scorers since last January, when Palmer and Isaac Copeland did so against Iowa. ... The victory was No. 107 for Tim Miles in his Nebraska tenure, moving him to sole possession of third place on NU’s career wins list.

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