This week, The Daily Nebraskan’s NU men’s basketball Player of the Week honor goes to James Palmer Jr.
Palmer Jr. led the Huskers in scoring in a pair of games last week. He scored 24 points and was one of only two Huskers to reach double digits in a thrilling 64-63 win over Illinois on Monday. And his 19 points led a more-balanced effort in a 72-52 victory over No. 23 Michigan on Thursday.
Palmer Jr. nearly cost Nebraska the game against Illinois. With the Huskers up 61-59, Palmer Jr. missed the front end of his one-and-one opportunity, which led to a four-point play by Illinois’ Michael Finke. However, Palmer Jr. redeemed himself by hitting a leaning three-pointer as time expired to give the Big Red its one-point victory over the Big Ten cellar-dwellers.
Palmer Jr. ended Monday’s contest with 24 points on 10 of 19 shooting. That included an off night from three point range, where Palmer Jr. made only two of his seven attempts. He was the only Husker to make more than one three-point shot, and the team combined to shoot 5-for-23 from behind the arc.
Palmer Jr. also added four rebounds along with an assist and two steals to offset his four turnovers. Along with his offense, he contributed solid defense, committing zero fouls and was the only Nebraska player in the starting lineup to have fewer than three fouls.
Against Michigan, Palmer Jr. scored 19 points and was one of four Husker starters to reach double-digit points. Glynn Watson Jr. was the only starter who failed to reach that mark as he finished with eight points. Palmer Jr. only attempted eight field goals, making three of his five attempts from two-point territory and two of his three tries from three.
However, he made a living at the free-throw line, where he was 7-for-11. He took nearly half of the Huskers’ 23 free throws and took and made one more free throw than the entire Michigan team, which went 6-for-10.
Palmer Jr. also added another four boards, a pair of assists and a steal to his box score line against the Wolverines.
On the year, Palmer Jr. averages 15.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists-per-game. He is one of three Huskers who averages 29 minutes or more per contest, and he has shot the most free throws of any player on the team with 130 through 21 games.
Palmer Jr. was named the Big Ten co-Player of the Week on Monday by the conference. It is the first time he earned the award, and he becomes the first Nebraska men’s basketball player to win the award in more than a year. Tai Webster was the last when he earned the award on Jan. 2, 2017.
Nebraska faces a busy and challenging week, which begins at No. 22 Ohio State on Monday evening and continues against Rutgers in Piscataway, New Jersey, on Wednesday before the squad returns home to face Iowa on Saturday evening.
The games against Ohio State and Iowa will air on Big Ten Network at 7 p.m. local time and the Rutgers game will show at 6 p.m.