Nebraska cruises past Western Illinois

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LINCOLN, Neb. Glynn Watson Jr. had 20 points and nine rebounds, as Nebraska built a 23-point halftime lead and cruised to a 73-49 win over Western Illinois on Saturday.

Watson hit 8-of-10 shots from the floor and tied his career high with nine rebounds to pace the Big Red, who bounced back from its first loss of the season.

James Palmer Jr. added 19 points for Nebraska (5-1) which won its 15th straight home game dating back to last season.

Nebraska held Western Illinois to 30.6 shooting, as the Leathernecks (2-4) scored a season-low 49 points, over 30 points beneath their season average.

The Huskers took control in the first half, overcoming a slow start en route to building a 40-17 halftime lead. Nebraska used runs of 13-0 and 19-0 to seize momentum, as NU shot 57 percent from the field and outrebounded the Leathernecks, 25-12, in the opening stanza.

Trailing 9-4, the Husker defense took control, holding WIU without a point for 8:47 while reserves Nana Akenten and Brady Heiman keyed the run with five of the Huskers’ 13 straight points.

Palmer then got going for the Big Red, scoring eight of his 12 first-half points to begin the run, as Palmer and Watson combined for 15 of the Huskers’ 19 points. Nebraska built its largest lead of the half at 38-14 off a Tanner Borchardt hook shot with 32 seconds left in the half.

Nebraska took any remaining suspense out by scoring the first 10 points of the second half, pushing the margin to 50-17 after a Watson 3-pointer with 17:41 left.

C.J. Duff led Western Illinois with 13 points, while Isaac Johnson added nine points and six boards in a losing effort.

The Huskers return to action Monday night as they take on Clemson in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Tipoff from Littlejohn Coliseum is at 6 p.m. (CT) and will be televised on ESPN2 and carried on the Husker Sports Network.