James Palmer Jr.

Nebraska's James Palmer Jr (0) pushes past Andres Feliz (10) on a drive during the game against Illinois at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The Nebraska men’s basketball team broke into the AP Top 25 poll for the first time since 2014 after defeating Illinois 75-60 to open Big Ten Conference play on Monday.

The No. 24 Huskers (7-1, 1-0) are off to their best start since the 2003-04 season. Nebraska is one of seven other Big Ten schools ranked inside the top 25, including No. 5 Michigan, No. 10 Michigan State and No. 12 Wisconsin.

Nebraska picked up a strong non-conference win against Clemson, which has been in-and-out of the top 25 this season, on Nov. 26 behind strong performances from seniors James Palmer Jr. and Isaac Copeland Jr. The Huskers’ lone loss came against No. 13 Texas Tech in the Hall of Fame Class championship game on Nov. 20.

Nebraska has a tough stretch of games coming up that features an away game against Minnesota on Wednesday, Dec. 5 and a home game against in-state rival Creighton on Saturday, Dec. 8.

sports@dailynebraskan.com