Piscataway, N.J. — For all the scoring that Isaac Copeland did against Rutgers, it was one of the little things that gave Nebraska a much-needed road win.
Copeland scored 23 points and came up with a clutch rebound in the final minute to lead Nebraska to 60-54 victory Wednesday night.
Copeland’s rebound of a missed 3-pointer by James Palmer Jr. with 54 seconds to play and the Cornhuskers ahead by two points allowed Nebraska to take time off the clock and led to a layup by Glynn Watson Jr. with 29 seconds that all but sealed the victory.
“That was big for us,” said Copeland, who hit 9 of 15 shots from the field, including 3 of 5 from long range. “They had the momentum. Palmer got a good shot and he missed it and I got the rebound. Put a fresh 30 on the clock, so it was big for us.
In a game in which Rutgers came up a possession or two short, coach Steve Pikiell felt the rebound was a difference maker.
“Huge,” Pikiell said. “Huge. We did a good job. We wanted him taking 3s and not driving it. A long rebound on the 3 and we can’t secure it. There were a couple of guys around the ball, too. Every possession is huge in a one-possession game.”
Palmer added 18 points and Watson made two clutch layups in the final 2:30 as the Cornhuskers (15-8, 6-4 Big Ten) won their second road game of the season.
Corey Sanders had 14 points to lead Rutgers (12-10, 2-7) but he also was called for an offensive foul on a drive with the Scarlet Knights down by four with 14 seconds to play. Geo Baker and Deshawn Freeman added 10 each. Freeland also had a game-high 10 rebounds.
The 23-point performance was Copeland’s second-best game since transferring from Georgetown.
“Isaac is building confidence in his entire game,” Nebraska coach Tom Miles said. “It’s a completely different system in what he is accustomed to. He likes certainty. There is some uncertainty in the motions and reads and all that stuff. But I think he is doing better and better and better and is more comfortable fitting in and that grows confidence.”
Palmer hit a 3-pointer and Copeland made a 3-pointer and slammed home a rebound in an 8-0 run early in the second half that gave the Cornhuskers a 41-32 lead with 13:23 to play. They would score three baskets the rest of the way but hung on because Rutgers struggled just as much, finishing the game 22 of 65 from the field, or roughly 34 percent.
Nebraska wasn’t much better, converting roughly 40 percent.
“Neither of us, the two teams, are juggernauts offensively. We’re not going to pretend we’re the Warriors,” Miles quipped.
Isaiah Roby added eight points for Nebraska, including five free throws in the final 8:01.
More Big Ten
(At) Illinois 73, Indiana 71: Trent Frazier and Leron Black each scored 19 points to help Illinois to its first Big 10 Conference win of the season and the first of coach Brad Underwood’s career. It also snapped the Illini’s six-game losing streak.
Indiana jumped all over Illinois early, taking a 12-4 lead but freshman Frazier kept the Illini afloat in the first half. With just over six minutes left in the period, he reeled off 13 straight points.
Illinois entered the break trailing by six but made 22-of-30 free throws in the second half. The Illini outscored the Hoosiers 41-33 in the final period, highlighted by a three-pointer from Kipper Nichols.
Leading by three, Illinois swung the ball to Nichols for a wide open look. He buried the long jumper and the fans at State Farm Center erupted as he put the Illini ahead by two possessions.
That six-point lead proved to be big, as Indiana cut the lead to two with just 8.3 seconds left. But it wasn’t enough. Devonte Green turned it over on Indiana’s last possession.
Juwan Morgan scored 25 points, his seventh 20-point game of the season, and Zach McRoberts scored a season-high 10 points.
Illinois had four players score in double figures.
(At) No. 8 Xavier 89, Marquette 70: Point guard Quentin Goodin scored 13 of his team-high 15 points while Xavier took control in the first half, and the Musketeers remained unbeaten at home. The Musketeers (19-3, 7-2 Big East) surged ahead by 26 and were never threatened as they beat the Golden Eagles for the second time this season. Xavier has won eight of the last 10 games between the schools.
Trevon Bluiett scored 13 and became the fifth Musketeers player with 2,000 career points.
Markus Howard had 33 for Marquette (13-7, 4-4), which entered second in the nation in 3-pointers. The Golden Eagles went only 6 of 23 from outside the arc, matching their season low for 3-pointers.
(At) No. 9 Cincinnati 75, Temple 42: Gary Clark had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Jarron Cumberland scored 11 of his 13 in the first half to help Cincinnati extend the nation’s longest home winning streak with a victory over Temple.
Kyle Washington had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Bearcats (17-2, 7-0 American Athletic Conference), who won their 11th consecutive game and 37th straight at home while completing a regular-season sweep of the Owls.
Cincinnati is playing home games at BB&T Arena on the campus of Northern Kentucky University while its own building is renovated.
It was the worst loss of the season for Temple (10-10, 2-6), which shot a season-low 28.6 percent and committed 20 turnovers.
South Carolina 77, (at) No. 20 Florida 72: Wesley Myers scored a season-high 22 points, and Chris Silva added a double-double. Silva finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Gamecocks, who won the Elite Eight rematch from last year’s NCAA Tournament.
South Carolina knocked off the Gators in that one thanks to 42 points in the paint. Coach Frank Martin’s team won this one from the 3-point line.
The Gamecocks (13-7, 4-4 Southeastern Conference) hit 11 of 21 shots from beyond the arc, matching their most 3-pointers all season. Myers was 5 of 7 from 3-point range, taking advantage of the league’s worst team at defending the 3.
The Gators (14-6, 6-2) led by 11 in the first half and were up 48-39 early in the second. But they had no answer for Myers outside and Silva down low.
No. 24 Rhode Island 78, (at) Fordham 54: Andre Berry scored 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting, Jared Terrell had 17 points and six assists, and Stan Robinson added 16 points, seven steals and six rebounds for the newly ranked Rams, who moved into the AP Top 25 this week.
Rhode Island (16-3, 8-0 Atlantic-10) jumped out to an 8-0 lead 2:34 into the game after Berry assisted on a 3-pointer by E.C. Matthews. Fordham (6-14, 1-7) tied it at 22 with 5:14 left in the first half after back-to-back 3-pointers by Ivan Raut.
Western Michigan 59, (at) Akron 51: Deja Wimby and Breanna Mobley each scored 13 and Jasmyn Walker scored 10 for Western (12-8, 5-3 MAC). Destiny Perkins scored 15 for Akron (6-12, 0-8).
Miami 73, (at) Eastern Michigan 69: Lauren Dickerson scored 33 and Kendall McCoy 19 for Miami (11-8, 3-5 MAC). Sasha Dailey scored 26 and Danielle Minot and Courtnie Lewis 11 each for Eastern (10-9, 5-3).