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Grand Island swimmers defeat Fremont


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Bellar named NSAA Executive Director

LINCOLN – The Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) has hired Jay Bellar, Superintendent of Schools at Battle Creek, as the next NSAA Executive Director. As Executive Director of the NSAA, Bellar will be responsible for the overall administration of NSAA programs and coordination of the NSAA staff, budgeting and finance for the association, interpretations of the NSAA Constitution & Bylaws, eligibility and hardship rulings and NSAA championship contracts. Mr. Bellar has an extensive background in education and extracurricular activities, having served as a teacher, coach, principal and activities director before becoming Superintendent of Schools at Battle Creek, where he has served since 1998. Bellar also currently serves as the NSAA District III representative on the NSAA Board of Directors, a position he has held since 2007. Mr. Bellar holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Kearney State and a Specialist Certificate in Educational Administration from the University of Nebraska-Kearney. “The Board had a number of excellent candidates for this position, making the Board’s task most difficult,” said current NSAA Executive Director, Dr. Jim Tenopir. “Mr. Bellar has exhibited great understanding of the issues involved in sports and performing arts. I believe that Jay will provide sound leadership to this statewide activities organization going forward.” Mr. Bellar will begin his duties as NSAA Executive Director on July 1, 2018.


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UNK Wrestling-Portillo Makes D2 National Debut

Kearney, Neb. – The Nebraska Kearney wrestling team remains 12th in the latest Division II Wrestling Coaches Association Top 25 poll, presented by the U.S. Marines Corps.

This poll is a tournament power index (TPI) ranking as teams receive points for individuals ranked. UNK now has four wrestlers ranked among the 10 weight classes, good for 31 points and the No. 12 ranking.

St. Cloud State is still No. 1 team (103 points) with Notre Dame College, Ohio (80) second, Wisconsin-Parkside third (60), Ashland U., Ohio (57) fourth and Colorado State-Pueblo fifth (50). MIAA-member Central Oklahoma is 10th (37).

Individually, Maryland senior Kevin Barrett (6th/285 lbs.), Kansas senior Bryce Shoemaker (11th/133 lbs.), Illinois senior Keith Surber (2nd/149 lbs.) and Iowa redshirt freshman Josh Portillo (9th/125 lbs.) are ranked in the top 12 of their respective weight class. Colorado junior Zach Stodden (174 lbs.) and Iowa redshirt freshman Matt Malcom (157 lbs.) have previously appeared in the national rankings.

UNK (16-1) heads to Fort Hays State (4-3, 0-1) tomorrow night at 7 p.m. to begin the MIAA dual season. The Tigers are led by Brandon Ball (8th/141 lbs.), Live results are available for that event.


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Hastings College men take down #4 Briar Cliff

Hastings, NE - It has certainly been a magical week for the Hastings College men's basketball team as the Broncos pulled off its second straight victory over a top 10 team with its 96-72 thrashing of No. 4 Briar Cliff on Wednesday night in Lynn Farrell Arena.

Jake Hansen (SR/Omaha, NE) joined the 1,000 point club when he drained his first three of the game at the 4:21 mark of the first half which gave Hastings a 34-28 lead.

On top of those milestones, Tyler Hedlund (SR/Albion, NE) had a career night scoring a career high 22 points in the win. His previous high was 14 earlier this season.

Following Hansen's big three, Kevin Harkins (SR/Omaha, NE) would pick up a free throw and then Hansen would connect on back-to-back three pointers pushing the Bronco lead to 10 points at 41-31 before Hastings took a 43-37 lead into halftime.

The Chargers would come out quickly in the second half cutting the deficit to two points but then the toughness of Hedlund took over as he drove to the basket for a tough bucket.

Drew Callaghan (SR/North Platte, NE) answered the next BCU bucket with a layup of his own before the Chargers cut the deficit to two with a couple of Erich Erdman free throws.

Hedlund then buried a three followed by another tough look to fall in the lane pitted Hastings to a 54-47 lead.

BCU would not go quietly cutting the lead back to three at 54-51 before Zach Kitten (SO/Hastings, NE) found an answer off an offensive rebound and then Kevin Miller (JR/Lynwood, CA) made the Chargers pay following a turnover to give Hastings a 58-51 lead.

A few possessions later, Miller brought the crowd to its feet with another tough bucket in the lane which forced a BCU timeout with Hastings leading 62-53.

The Broncos continued its onslaught when Musiel buried a jumper followed by a big block from Kitten. Then Bart Hiscock(SO/Bennington, NE) would score from the low block followed by another extremely tough bucket from Hedlund pushing the Bronco lead to 16 at 73-57 with just under 10 minutes to go.

Hastings would build the lead to 20 with back-to-back buckets from Hiscock followed by a three from Miller as Hastings now led 80-60 with 7:27 to go.

Once Hansen scored back-to-back buckets including his final bucket of the game while being fouled, Hansen went on to make the free throw and then Gavers cleared his bench at the 2:52 mark as the team came off the floor to a standing ovation.

Hedlund led all scorers with his career high 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting including going 2-for-3 from downtown. Miller added 15 points on 7-for-11 shooting. Hansen finished his night with 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting including 3-for-4 from behind the arc.

Hiscock added 12 points while pulling down eight boards and Musiel finished the game with a double-double scoring 10 points while dishing out a career high 10 assists. Kitten added 10 points on a perfect 4-for-4 shooting. Kevin Harkins finished the night with seven points but pulled down a game high 11 rebounds.

Hastings finished the night shooting 58 percent (39-for-67) from the floor and an astounding 61 percent (8-for-13) from downtown. Hastings also out rebounded the Chargers 39-to-34.

Hastings improves to 15-7 (5-5) on the year and will be back in action Wednesday Jan. 24 as Concordia comes to town with tip-off set for 8:00 p.m. in Lynn Farrell Arena.


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Hastings College women win over Briar Cliff

Hastings, Neb.- For the seventh consecutive home game, the Hastings College women's basketball team collected a hard-fought victory, this time an 80-64 win on Wednesday against the Briar Cliff Chargers.

The Broncos (17-3, 9-3 GPAC) got it going early when Jordan Johnson (SR/Fairbury, NE) splashed a three-pointer to start an 8-1 run against the Chargers (8-13, 5-6 GPAC). Briar Cliff was able to climb back into the game with 10-4 run to make it a 12-11 Bronco lead. Though, Briar Cliff was able to get it within one, the Broncos answered back with a 6-0 run to extend their lead back to seven with 4:22 left in the first quarter.

Nearing the one minute mark, the Chargers were able to take a one point lead with an and-one by Johanna Vaske, with both teams trading a basket to a 24-23 Briar Cliff lead.

For most of the second quarter, the Broncos found themselves on the trailing side of things, looking poised to take a lead going into halftime, but Briar Cliff was able to tie the game up at 44 with :06 left on the clock.

The Broncos were able to get things going in the third quarter when Mackenzie Willicott (JR/Blue Hill, NE) hit a shot in the paint :22 seconds in. This shot by Willicott wound up being the final lead change of the game and started a quarter where the Broncos outscored the Chargers 21-9.

With a 12 point lead, the Broncos were able to keep the momentum on their side and were able to get their lead up to 16 with :30 left in the game en route to their 80-64 victory.

Leading the Broncos in scoring was Willicott with her 20 points with Johnson right behind her with 19 points.

Next for the Broncos is a home match on Friday against Oglala Lakota at 6 p.m. The Broncos will then take on the No. 1-ranked Concordia Bulldogs (20-0, 12-0 GPAC) at Lynn Farrell Arena on Saturday, also with a 6 p.m. tip-off.



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Spring Game Set for Saturday, April 21

Nebraska Athletics has finalized the date and time for the 2018 Red-White Spring Game which will be played on Saturday, April 21 at 11 a.m. at Memorial Stadium. Last fall the spring game had been listed as April 14, 2018.

Reserved tickets for the game are $10 each and will go on sale to season ticket holders on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 10 a.m. Tickets will be available to the general public on Wednesday, Feb. 7 at 10 a.m. More details on ticket sales will be available closer to the on-sale date. Husker fans are also encouraged to join the 2018 Nebraska Football Season Ticket Request List now by visiting Huskers.com/tickets.

All sections of Memorial Stadium will be available for the 2018 Spring Game. The largest crowd for the Red-White Spring Game was 80,149 in 2008, and the contest has drawn better than 54,000 fans each year since 2004.


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Huskers Host No. 23 Michigan on Thursday

After a thrilling one-point victory over Illinois on Monday evening, Nebraska wraps up its brief two-game homestand on Thursday, as No. 23 Michigan pays a visit to Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Tipoff is set for shortly after 8 p.m., and a limited number of tickets are still available by visiting Huskers.com or at the PBA Ticket Office beginning Monday evening at 6:30 p.m.

The game will be nationally televised on BTN with Kevin Kugler and Robbie Hummel on the call. The game is also available on BTN.com, BTN2Go and the Fox Sports Go app.
Fans can follow all of the action across the state of Nebraska on the IMG Husker Sports Network with Kent Pavelka and Jake Muhleisen on the call. The game will also be available on Huskers.com, on the Huskers app, on TuneIn Radio and on the TuneIn Radio app. The radio broadcast begins one hour prior to tipoff.

Nebraska (13-7, 4-3 Big Ten) come into Thursday's game as winners of six of their last eight games following the 64-63 win over Illinois on Monday evening. James Palmer Jr. provided the heroics, hitting a 3-pointer with 0.3 seconds left to cap a 24-point performance. In fact, Nebraska's last two games have gone down to the final three seconds, as the Huskers lost at Penn State in the final 2.7 seconds of overtime.

While Palmer, who leads three Huskers in scoring at 15.7 points per game, hit the game winner, the play of Isaiah Roby and Evan Taylor helped key Nebraska's rally. Roby nearly posted a double-double in his first start of the year, finishing with nine points, 10 rebounds, four steals and two blocks. Taylor, who came off the bench, added 13 points, five rebounds and two assists.

The Huskers will face one of the hottest teams in the Big Ten, as Michigan (16-4, 5-2 Big Ten) comes to Lincoln as winners of nine of their last 10 games, including a 10-point win at then No. 4 Michigan State last Saturday.

The Wolverines, who are ranked 23rd in this week's AP poll, are coming off a 68-67 win over Maryland on Monday. The Wolverines needed two free throws from Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman with 1.2 seconds left to escape with the win. Michigan features its 1-2 punch of Moritz Wagner (14.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg) and Charles Matthews (14.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg).

OPENING NUMBER
118 - Nebraska's 118 blocked shots already eclipses the team's entire 2016-17 total of 116 and is the most since the 2005-06 season. Isaiah Roby's 33 blocked shots is the most by a Husker since the 2010-11 season (Andre Almeida 39; Jorge Brian Diaz 38).

NUMBERS TO KNOW

1.25 - Nebraska's assist-to-turnover ratio which is on pace to be NU's best in more than 20 years. In fact, the last time Nebraska had more assists than turnovers was in 2009-10. Nebraska's 10 turnovers against Illinois was the fewest forced by the Illini this season.

.390 - NU has held its last seven opponents to a combined .390 shooting percentage and 65.3 points per game dating back to Dec. 22. The Huskers have also held each of their last six Big Ten opponents to under 45 percent shooting.

70 - Nebraska is 11-2 when scoring 70 or more points and 2-5 when held to under 70 points. Nebraska's only two losses when scoring 70+ points was a one-point loss to Kansas and a two-point OT loss at Penn State.

SCOUTING MICHIGAN
Under Coach John Beilein, Michigan is 16-4 on the season and playing its best basketball over the last month. The Wolverines have won nine of its last 10 games since a loss to Ohio State on Dec. 9, with the only loss being a one-point setback to Big Ten co-leader Purdue on Jan. 9. Michigan, whose non-conference losses were to LSU and North Carolina, started the streak with wins over UCLA and at Texas to begin a five-game win streak to close non-conference action. Since resuming Big Ten play, Michigan has wins over Iowa, Illinois and Maryland, as well as a 10-point win at Michigan State last Saturday. Michigan averages 76.3 points per game and ranks second in the Big Ten with 9.6 3-pointers per contest. The Wolverines also lead the conference in turnover margin (+4.7 per game), as they commit a conference-low 9.8 turnovers per game.

Michigan, which returned two starters from its NCAA Sweet 16 team, has three players averaging double figures and a fourth averaging 9.4 points per game. Moritz Wagner tops the Wolverines in scoring (14.9 ppg) and rebounding (7.2 rpg), while Kentucky transfer Charles Matthews also averages 14.9 points per game and ranks second among all Big Ten newcomers in scoring. Michigan has eight players who have connected on at least 10 3-pointers, including 39 from Duncan Robinson and 31 from Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman.

SERIES HISTORY VS. MICHIGAN
Thursday’s meeting is the 17th between the Huskers and Wolverines and the only one of the 2017-18 campaign. Michigan leads the all-time series, 14-2, in a series that dates back to 1949, although the Wolverines’ win over the Huskers in the 1992 Rainbow Classic was later vacated. Nebraska looks to snap a 10-game losing streak to the Wolverines dating back to 1980.

Michigan has won all eight conference meetings with the Huskers and is the only Big Ten team NU has not beaten since joining the conference prior to the 2011-12 season. One of Nebraska’s two wins in the series was a 74-73 win over No. 1 Michigan at the NU Coliseum on Dec. 12, 1964. In that game, Fred Hare’s buzzer beater knocked off the Cazzie Russell-led Wolverines. That win is one of three wins over No. 1 ranked teams in Nebraska’s history.

LAST MEETING VS. MICHIGAN
Michigan used a blistering shooting night in spoiling Nebraska’s senior night with a 93-57 win over the Huskers on March 5, 2017.
The Wolverines put five players in double figures, led by Derrick Walton Jr., who finished with 18 points and a school-record 16 assists. Walton’s effort helped Michigan shoot 63 percent from the floor, including 14-of-27 from 3-point range.

Nebraska, which shot 56 percent in the first half, shot just 29 percent in the second half and committed 16 turnovers, which led to 24 Michigan points.

Isaiah Roby tied for team-high honors with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting, while Ed Morrow Jr. added 10 points and four rebounds. Tai Webster, who had reached double figures in 30 straight games, was held to a season-low eight points, but led NU with five assists.

LAST TIME OUT
James Palmer Jr. led Nebraska with 24 points, and none were more important than his game-winning three-pointer with 0.3 seconds left to give Nebraska a 64-63 win over Illinois on Monday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
After Illinois' Michael Finke converted on a four-point play to give Illinois a 63-61 lead with eight seconds to play, Glynn Watson Jr. took the inbounds pass up the floor and found Palmer on the left wing, who took a dribble and hit an off-balance three to give Nebraska the win as Illinois' desperation heave was off the mark.

Palmer's bucket was originally ruled a two-pointer on the floor, but after a short review, the officials determined his foot was behind the three-point line, to send the crowd of 15,630 home happy.
With the win, Nebraska improves to 13-7 and 4-3 in Big Ten play, while Illinois drops to 10-8 and 0-6 in conference action.

Evan Taylor joined Palmer in double figures with 13 points, as Taylor provided a spark off the bench for NU for the first time after starting the first 19 games of the season. Isaiah Roby chipped in nine points, 10 rebounds and four steals in his first start of the year.

ABOUT NEBRASKA
*-NU comes into Thursday's game with a 13-7 record, which is NU's best record in the Big Ten era and best 20-game record since going 15-5 in 2010-11.

*-A Husker win on Thursday would give NU its best conference mark after eight games since the 2005-06 season.

*-Two of NU's last three losses have come in the final 30 seconds (vs. No. 13 Kansas, at Penn State) and Nebraska was also within three at Creighton in the final minute.

*-Nebraska is 10-1 in home games this season with the only loss coming in a one-point setback against No. 13 Kansas. If NU wins on Thursday, it would mark the most wins in the building since the 2013-14 campaign.

*-The Huskers are averaging 73.5 points per game and is on track for one of the best offensive seasons in recent years. NU's 73.5 points per game marks only the fifth time in the last 22 years that NU has averaged at least 72.0 points per game through the first 20 games. The Huskers are 11-2 this year when scoring at least 70 points, including six games of at least 80 points.

*-While Nebraska is 10th in the Big Ten in scoring defense at 70.3 points per game, a closer look shows that Nebraska already played five teams that are ranked in the top 25 nationally in scoring offense (Michigan State, Purdue, Creighton, Kansas and UTSA). NU held three of the five teams at least 10 points below their scoring average.

*-Nebraska's defense has been its calling card in Big Ten action. The Huskers are fourth in field goal defense (.389) and have held their last six opponents to under 45 percent shooting.

*-Nebraska used the same starting lineup for the first 18 games, the most Tim Miles has used any single lineup in a season. The Huskers have used different lineups in each of the past two games.

*-Thursday's matchup features two of the highest-scoring newcomers in the Big Ten in James Palmer Jr., and Michigan's Charles Matthews. Palmer is averaging a team-high 15.7 points per game, while Matthews is tied for the Wolverine team lead at 14.9 ppg. They are the only Big Ten newcomers (freshmen or transfers) averaging at least 13 points per game.

*-Nebraska's biggest offensive strength has been a balanced attack with three players averaging double figures, led by James Palmer Jr., who averages a team-high 15.7 points per game to rank second among Big Ten newcomers in scoring. Palmer is currently on track to enjoy one of the top first-year seasons in school history, as the top three first-year scorers have been in Tim Miles' six seasons at Nebraska.

*-Nebraska relies on a pair of transfers in James Palmer Jr. (Miami) and Isaac Copeland (Georgetown), as the duo combines for 28 points per game. Palmer has reached double figures 18 times in 20 contests, including a season-high 25 points against UTSA on Dec. 20, and is third in assists (2.6 apg). Copeland leads the Huskers in rebounding at 6.6 per game and is among the team leaders in scoring (12.3, second) and blocked shots (26, second). Copeland posted his first double-double of the season at Creighton on Dec. 9 with 20 points and 11 rebounds.

*-Palmer has shown the ability to get to the foul line, as he ranks third in the Big Ten with 119 attempts. Among conference guards, he is second only to Maryland's Anthony Cowan in getting to the foul line.

*-Junior Glynn Watson Jr. is in his third season guiding the Husker offense and is among NU's leaders in both scoring (11.9 ppg, third), assists (3.3, first) and steals (1.5, first). The 6-foot guard will make his team-high 66th career start on Thursday and has a 2.0-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio this season. Watson is just 67 points from 1,000 for his career and is also 16 steals away from 10th place on Husker career charts.

*-Nebraska has been getting strong performances from its bench throughout the season, averaging 23.1 points per game, including 25.8 points per game over the last eight games dating back to Dec. 20.

*-One of the main emphasis for Tim Miles and his staff in the offseason was improving the Huskers' 3-point efforts on both ends of the court. Last year, NU was in 300th or worse in both 3-point shooting and 3-point defense. This season, the Huskers have made strides in both area, especially on the defensive end.
NU has six players with at least 10 3-pointers, and that does not include Jack McVeigh, who was second on the team in 3-pointers last year. In 2016-17, NU had just four players hit 10-or-more 3-pointers in 31 games.

*-Nebraska could regain the services of Jordy Tshimanga, who missed the last two games. Tshimanga started NU's first 18 contests, averaging 3.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.


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Huskers Knock Off No. 20 Iowa, 74-65

Lincoln - Maddie Simon poured in 19 points, Hannah Whitish added 18 and Taylor Kissinger contributed 12 points, including Nebraska's final four points at the free throw line, as the young Huskers battled their way to a 74-65 women's basketball win over Iowa on Tuesday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

The victory was Nebraska's first over a top-25 foe under second-year coach Amy Williams and it snapped Iowa's five-game winning streak in the all-time series with the Huskers. It also ended Nebraska's three-game losing streak at home, while moving Nebraska to 13-6 overall and 4-2 in the Big Ten. The Huskers moved within one game in the loss column of the top of the Big Ten standings, after No. 19 Michigan upset at No. 8 Ohio State earlier Tuesday evening. The Buckeyes were 5-0 in the league before the loss to the Wolverines.

Iowa slipped to 15-4 overall and 3-3 in the Big Ten. The Huskers will see the Hawkeyes again in 12 days (Jan. 28) in Iowa City.

Like so many of Nebraska's victories this season, the Huskers did not make it easy on themselves. The Big Red went just 17-for-35 (.486) at the free throw line, including 4-for-10 in the final 49 seconds. Nebraska was also outrebounded 53-40 by the Hawkeyes, including 18 boards and 29 points from Iowa junior center Megan Gustafson.

The Huskers made up for their mistakes by outscoring the Hawkeyes 27-0 from three-point range, as Simon (3-4) and Whitish (2-4) combined to go 5-for-8 from beyond the arc. As a team, Nebraska hit 9-of-25 three-pointers (.360) on the night while Iowa went 0-for-7. It marked the first time under Coach Williams that the Huskers had shut out a team from beyond the arc. It was the first time the Hawkeyes had been held to fewer than three made threes in a game this season. In fact, in the first 39 minutes, Iowa only attempted three threes and one of them was blocked. In the final minutes, the Hawkeyes were 0-for-4 from long range and not close to making any of them.

The last time Nebraska held an opponent without a three-pointer came at Rutgers on Feb. 5, 2015, a span of 88 games.

Nebraska only turned the ball over eight times - a Big Ten season best - while forcing 15 turnovers by the Hawkeyes. The Huskers scored 23 points off Iowa's turnovers, while holding Iowa to just 12 points in that category.

For the game, Nebraska hit just 38.1 percent (24-63) of its shots from the field against an Iowa team that is among the Big Ten leaders in field goal percentage defense. Iowa hit 39.1 percent (27-69), including 13-of-23 from the field for Gustafson and just 14-of-46 (.304) for the rest of the Hawkeyes. The Huskers also forced a season-high 26 fouls on Iowa.

Nebraska used a big second quarter to take a 37-28 lead into the locker room at halftime against the No. 20 Hawkeyes. The Huskers trailed 8-1 to open the game before rallying to tie the score at 14 at the end of the period. The Huskers tied the Hawkeyes in the first quarter despite hitting just 4-of-15 shots and just 1-of-6 three-pointers in the period.

The Huskers heated up in the second quarter. After the two teams exchanged the lead six times in the first five minutes, Emily Wood buried a three-pointer to tie the game at 24, before Whitish hit another three 46 seconds later to shoot Nebraska to a 27-24 lead. A layup from Whitish gave Nebraska a 29-24 edge to cap an 8-0 run before Amanda Ollinger stopped the run with a putback for the Hawkeyes. Ollinger finished with 12 points and eight rebounds off the bench for the Hawkeyes.

But a steal and a layup by Janay Morton pushed the lead back to five before back-to-back threes for Kissinger and Morton around a layup for Gustafson gave Nebraska a 37-28 lead. For the quarter, the Huskers went 5-for-9 from three-point range.

In the half Nebraska hit just 37.1 percent (13-35) of its first-half shots, but hit 6-of-15 threes (.400). The Huskers also outscored the Hawkeyes, 5-4 at the free throw line in the half.

The Huskers quickly pushed the lead to 15 points at 47-32 early in the third quarter before Iowa rallied with a 10-0 run to trim the margin to five at 47-42 with 2:32 left. Simon scored Nebraska's final six points and Nebraska maintained a 53-47 lead at the end of three quarters.

In the fourth quarter, Nebraska pushed the lead back to double digits at 64-53 after a pair of threes by Simon around a pair of free threes by Nicea Eliely, who finished with six points on the night. Iowa got the lead back to four points at 67-63 with just under two minutes before Jasmine Cincore scored her only points of the night on a run-out layup. Cincore finished at the rim and was fouled by Gustafson, who committed her fifth foul with 1:21 left. Cincore completed the three-point play to give Nebraska a 70-63 edge.

The Hawkeyes got a bucket from Hannah Stewart, who finished with six points, with one minute left, but the Huskers closed the game with outstanding defense and four free throws from Kissinger in the final 27.2 seconds.

The Huskers return to Big Ten road action this weekend when they travel to Piscataway, N.J., to take on No. 25 Rutgers. Tip-off between the Big Red and the Scarlet Knights at The RAC is set for Sunday at 5 p.m. (CT).


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Huskers Top Illinois on Palmer's Last-Second Three

James Palmer Jr. led Nebraska with 24 points, and none were more important than his game-winning three-pointer with 0.3 seconds left to give Nebraska a 64-63 win over Illinois on Monday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

After Illinois' Michael Finke converted on a four-point play to give Illinois a 63-61 lead with eight seconds to play, Glynn Watson Jr. took the inbounds pass up the floor and found Palmer on the left wing, who took a dribble and hit an off-balance three to give Nebraska the win as Illinois' desparation heave was off the mark. Palmer's bucket was originally ruled a two-pointer on the floor, but after a short review, the officials determined his foot was behind the three-point line, to send the crowd of 15,630 home happy.

With the win, Nebraska improves to 13-7 and 4-3 in Big Ten play, while Illinois drops to 10-8 and 0-6 in conference action.

Evan Taylor joined Palmer in double figures with 13 points, as Taylor provided a spark off the bench for NU for the first time after starting the first 19 games of the season. Isaiah Roby chipped in nine points and 10 rebounds in his first start of the year.

After Nebraska took a 32-30 lead into the locker room at halftime, Illinois got off to a quick start in the second half, using an 8-2 spurt, including a pair of buckets by Leron Black, to take a 38-34 lead and force an early Husker timeout. Trailing 40-34, Nebraska turned its defense into offense, using a pair of fast-break dunks by Palmer and Taylor to spur a 14-0 run as the Huskers held Illinois scoreless for over five minutes, helping NU take its largest lead at 48-40 with just over 11 minutes to play.

Illinois kept it close, cutting the NU lead to three at 50-47, before Anton Gill's first basket of the night, a three-pointer, increased Nebraska's lead to 53-47.

The teams traded buckets down the stretch, as Illinois shaved NU's lead to two at 59-57, before a Palmer steal and dunk gave NU some cushion at 61-57 with 59 seconds to play. Illinois was not finished yet, as Finke, who scored 15 of his 16 points after halftime, hit a jumper to cut the lead to 61-59. His next bucket on Illinois next offensive possession set the stage for Palmer's heroics in the final seconds.

Both teams struggled out of the gates in the opening half, as the two sides combined for just 2-14 shooting through the first four minutes of the game. Illinois made its first shot, but then missed its next 10, and failed to make the Huskers pay for six first-half turnovers, as the Illini scored just six points off NU miscues.

NU scored on back-to-back dunks by Palmer and Taylor, as the Huskers led 13-8 early on. The Huskers got most of their work done at the foul line to make up for a slow start from the floor, as seven of Nebraska's first 15 points came at the line. The Big Red finished the half 12-15 from the charity stripe.

After Nebraska took a 17-12 lead, Illinois used 7-0 run with just over eight minutes left to take a 19-17 lead at the under-eight media timeout. The Huskers were strong over the next few minutes of game action, as NU scored the next six points to take a 23-19 lead. Illinois closed to within 28-25 with 2:38 in the half on an and-one basket by Kipper Nichols which sent Isaac Copeland to the bench with his third foul, but Nebraska's Thomas Allen scored on a four-point play to give NU its largest lead of the half at 32-25.

Illinois closed the half on a 5-0 run, but NU still took a 32-30 lead into the locker room at halftime. Palmer led the Huskers with 11 in the opening stanza, while Taylor, who came of the bench for the first time in 20 games this season, provided a spark with 10 first-half points.

Despite Palmer's late triple, NU was just 5-23 from behind the arc on the game, but the Huskers held Illinois to just 3-18 from downtown. A theme for the Huskers of late, NU held Illinois to 39 percent shooting, the exact mark it held its last six opponents to coming into Monday's game.

Although Illinois held a 46-29 advantage on the glass with 18 offensive rebounds, Nebraska was strong at the free-throw line, hitting 17-23, while scoring 24 points off 16 Illinois turnovers.

Trent Frazier led the visitors with 19 points. In addition to Finke's 16 tallies and 10 rebounds, Black chipped in 13 points and eight boards.

Nebraska will return to action on Thursday, as the Huskers welcome No. 23 Michigan to Pinnacle Bank Arena, with tip-off set for 8 p.m. A limited number of tickets are available for Thursday night's contest by visiting Huskers.com/Tickets or by calling 1-800-8-BIG-RED. The game will be broadcast live on BTN and streamed on BTN2Go.com, and it can be heard around the world on the Husker Sports Network.


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Huskers Outlast Illini, 80-72

Champaign, Ill. - Hannah Whitish hit a career-high six three-pointers to finish with 20 points, while redshirt senior Janay Morton added the best performance of her Husker career with 10 points off the bench in the second half to lead Nebraska to an 80-72 women's basketball win on Wednesday night at the State Farm Center.

With the victory, Nebraska improved to 12-5 overall and 3-1 in the Big Ten while notching its seventh consecutive win away from home. The Fighting Illini slipped to 9-10 overall and 0-5 in the Big Ten. The seven straight road wins for the Huskers ties for the second-longest road streak in school history.

Whitish, Nebraska's leading scorer coming into the game, hit 6-of-11 three-pointers on the night and added a pair of late free throws. Whitish's sixth three was her biggest, putting Nebraska up 77-72 with 28 seconds left.

Morton, who scored nine of her 10 points in the fourth quarter, then sealed the Husker win with a pair of free throws with 13.1 seconds left. The Big Red who entered the final quarter with a 58-56 lead got a free throw from Morton to open the quarter, then a Whitish three before back-to-back threes from Morton to shoot Nebraska to its biggest lead of the game at the time at 68-57 with 7:07 left.

After an Illinois timeout, the Huskers got a two-pointer from freshman Kate Cain, who finished with 11 points, to take their biggest lead of the game at 70-58 with 6:30 left. But the Big Red went without a field goal for six minutes until Whitish's final three, as Illinois trimmed the margin to 74-72 with 58 seconds left.

For the game, Whitish led four Huskers in double figures, including 11 points and five rebounds from junior forward Maddie Simon. Senior guard Jasmine Cincore also played big for Nebraska with points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Cincore led a Nebraska team that dominated the glass, 40-27, including 13 offensive rebounds that led to 15 second-chance points.

The Huskers hit 46.6 percent (27-58) of their shots, including 12-of-27 (.444) three-pointers. Nebraska hit 14-of-22 free throws, but lost the turnover battle, 13-6.

Illinois hit 26-of-58 (.448) shots, including 7-of-15 threes (.467) and 13-of-19 free throws. Junior forward Alex Wittinger led Illinois with a game-high 23 points, while adding seven rebounds and three blocks. Ali Andrews added 13 points, while sophomore point guard Brandi Beasley pitched in 10 points and 11 assists. Courtney Joens added 13 points and 3-of-5 threes off the bench for the Illini.

The Huskers overcame a slow start to build a 10-point second-quarter lead before settling for a 41-38 halftime advantage. Nebraska went scoreless for the first 3:23 before the Big Red got six straight points in a 1:21 span to take a 6-4 lead.

The Illini led for the last time in the half at 10-8 before a three-pointer by Chicago native Bria Stallworth put the Huskers up 11-10 with 2:48 left in the first quarter. The Huskers the got a five-point play off a layup from Nicea Eliely, who was fouled but missed the free throw. Nebraska got the offensive rebound and Simon hit a three 20 seconds later to push NU's lead to 16-11.

Whitish hit the first of three first-half threes to extend the Husker margin to 19-13 with 34 seconds left in the quarter.

But Nebraska faced adversity in the final five seconds of the quarter, when the Illini's Kennedy Cattenhead was the beneficiary of a foul in the middle of the lane by NU's Cain with less than a second on the shot clock and less than four seconds in the quarter. Cattenhead made one free throw before Cain was whistled for her second foul with 0.9 seconds left on an illegal screen at halfcourt in front of Whitish's half-court shot attempt.

Nebraska still led 19-14 at the end of the quarter, but the Illini took advantage of Cain's absence at the start of the second quarter to cut the NU margin to 22-20.

But the Big Red responded, surging to their largest lead of the half at 33-23 after another five-point play. Grace Mitchell sparked the Huskers with four straight points, including a strong finish at the rim and a foul. She missed the free throw, but 14 seconds later Whitish hit a three to push the NU lead to 10 with 4:48 left in the half.

Nebraska hit 48.5 percent (16-33) of its first-half shots, including 6-of-16 threes (.375). The Huskers went 3-for-5 at the line, but turned both misses into made three-pointers. Nebraska won the first-half rebound battle, 21-17, but lost the turnover battle, 8-3. Whitish led the Huskers with nine first-half points, while Cain and Taylor Kissinger each had six first-half points.

The Illini hit 45.7 percent (16-35) of their first-half shots, including 4-of-9 threes. The Illini was 2-for-5 at the line. Wittinger led Illinois with 14 points, while Ali Andrews added 11 in the half.

The Huskers return to home action at Pinnacle Bank Arena this Saturday when they take on No. 23 Michigan. Tip-off between the Big Red and the Wolverines is set for 7 p.m. with tickets available now at Huskers.com.


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