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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — James Palmer Jr. had 18 points and Nebraska opened up a 19-point lead midway through the first half and turned back a second half Delaware State surge to take an 85-68 win Friday.
Nebraska (9-5) ran off 14 straight to go up 20-6 on Thomas Allen's layup with 12:56 left in the opening half, and stretched that to 28-9 over the next four minutes.
A 10-2 flurry by Delaware State (2-12) cut the Nebraska lead to 11 on Kavon Waller's 3 pointer with 6:34 left in the half. But the Huskers scored eight straight to go back up 19. Nebraska, which hit 60 percent of its shots in the half, led 42-26 at intermission.
Delaware State trailed by 21 when it put together an 11-1 run to cut the Nebraska lead to 59-48 on Demola Onifade's basket with 10:35 left in the game. Anton Gill's 3-pointer two minutes later put Nebraska back up by 15 and Palmer's layup with 6:17 left gave Nebraska a 71-50 lead.
"These Christmas times are just really difficult," Nebraska coach Tim Miles said of his team's up-and-down play. "We've been through it. We've got one more to go. We'll be locked in and find enough guys to do it. Tonight, we did. We had just enough guys that were locked in. It's hard."
Delaware State coach Keith Walker said that, even with the Hornets comeback, the game was decided early.
"I thought we started out a little slow," Walker said. "I don't know if it was the atmosphere, because this is probably the largest crowd we've played against all year. I don't know if that threw the young guys off a bit, but we started out a little slow. But once we figured out that we could play a little bit with them, I think they did a much better job the second half. Because of the deficit we built the first half, we weren't able to overcome it."
Gill and Thomas Allen each had 14 points for Nebraska, Isaac Copeland had 11 points.
Waller had 16 points to lead Delaware State. Simon Okolue and Artem Tavakalyan had 13 points each and Pinky Wiley had 12 points.
Nebraska: The Huskers were averaging 75.5 points per game entering Friday's contest, the highest scoring mark for a Nebraska team through 13 games since the 1995-96 season. Nebraska has scored more than 80 points in six of its 14 games.
Delaware State: The Hornets have been mired in a season-long shooting slump. Delaware State shot just 39.5 percent from the field through its first 13 games. The Hornets hit 37.8 percent of their shots in the first half Thursday, then made 51 percent of their shots in the second period.
AN EARLY CHRISTMAS PRESENT
Tanner Borchardt, a walk-on junior from Gothenburg, Neb., got a scholarship Saturday in unusual fashion.
"Santa brought a present to the locker room," Borchardt said. "I got a little Christmas cookie that said 'Congrats.' Then got a shower full of teammates for about a minute, a jumping huddle. What a blessing."
FROM ICELAND WITH THREES
Thor Thorbjarnarson, Nebraska's first scholarship player from Iceland, had a career high 6 points, playing in front of family members who made the trip from Reykjavik. "Eight family members came over Iceland," Miles said. "To be able to get him in the game and have him make those two threes was pretty cool stuff. That second one was deep. I thought I was going to be in the way."
Nebraska hosts Stetson on Dec. 29, ending non-conference play. The Huskers will resume Big Ten play at Northwestern Jan. 2
Delaware State travels to Penn for its final non-conference game. The Hornets will open MEAC play Jan. 3 against NC Central.
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