The loss ended the season for Faulkner (17-13), which needed a win in the Southern States Athletic Conference tournament semifinals to advance to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Division I men's basketball tournament in Kansas City. The Hawks, who went on to win the SSAC tournament, advanced to semifinals of the national tournament before losing to eventual Division I men's champion Concordia (Calif.) University.
Palmore, a three-time All-SSAC selection, would've liked for his collegiate career to have played out in the Midwest, hundreds of miles away from The Forum. His coach would've liked that, too.
"Chris Palmore is a very special basketball player and has had a wonderful career," Eagles coach Jim Sanderson said afterward. "He's one of the greats to come through here. I just wish we could've gotten to the tournament during his career, and we came close a couple times but just came up short."
It wasn't just about Palmore, though, an acknowledgment the senior guard made three weeks after the career-ending defeat.
"As much as I wanted it to [continue], I wanted to get there for other people, too," he said Friday.
The loss, he said, resonated with him immediately but came into focus even more the next day.
"After the game, it kind of hit me, but more so the next day," added Palmore, who scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds in his last college game. "It kind of hit me, 'I won't be putting on a college jersey [again].'"
The former Purple Hurricanes point guard tried to recall the good moments of his career and put everything in perspective -- but it was still hard to know he wouldn't be suiting up for Faulkner from that moment on.
"I had a good four years, so I looked at more of the positives. I enjoyed my career," Palmore continued. "At the same time, it was kind of sad because you're never really ready to give it up."
There was, however, a silver lining to Palmore playing so close to home in his final collegiate games.
"That was good because my family was able to come and some of my friends were able to come to some of my games," he said of the support of his loved ones.
It has all been quite a ride for Palmore, who couldn't have foresaw his career playing out the way it did when he signed with the Eagles out of high school four years ago.
"I can't say I envisioned it at first. I was just happy to be able to be playing college ball," he recounted of that day several years ago. "I wouldn't [have been] able to say then that I [would accomplish] the things I did."
Playing at the next level took some getting used to for Palmore in 2008-09, his freshman season.
"At first, it was just adjusting to the pace of the game, the [physicality] of the [college] game -- and the speed was a lot different, too," the 6-foot-3 guard admitted. "[Coach Sanderson] really pushed us to go to another level. You had to stick with it. It wasn't something you just breeze through. ... You had to have that fight in you."
He demonstrated he had just that -- fight -- and by the end of the season, Palmore had been inserted into the starting lineup.
"I ended up starting the second half of the season. I did pretty well, [helped] the team out," he said. Palmore averaged just a shade under 5 points per game and led the team in steals with 1.4 per contest.
Another adjustment lay ahead for Palmore, though, who was moved to shooting guard as a sophomore. The change came without any trepidation from Palmore, who had always played the point guard position but also was comfortable scoring.
"I got moved to the 2-spot and then I started scoring. [I] helped people score too, but [Sanderson] was looking at me to score at the same time," Palmore explained. "It really wasn't that hard. I felt like it was actually easier. As a point guard, the ball's in your hand; there's more pressure. ... As a 2-guard, you're running through the plays ... but I feel like it's less pressure.
"My coach used to always try to tell me, 'It's not pressure. You don't have to do it by yourself,'" he said. "I just try not to do too much, stay within myself ... take my opportunities when they're there."
Palmore, who averaged 11.4 points per game as a sophomore, led Faulkner in assists (3) and steals (2) as the team went from 16-14 his first year to 18-13. He also made his first all-conference team. The Eagles fell to 13-19 in Palmore's junior season, even as the Cartersville native took on more of the scoring workload, leading the team with 14.2 points, 2.6 assists and 1.6 steals per game. A second All-SSAC honor awaited him at the end of the season. As a senior, Palmore continued to improve as a player, averaging career-highs in points (16.1), rebounds (7.1) and steals (2.1). He was on the all-conference team and joined the Faulkner 1,000-point club.
"It felt really good," Palmore said of the all-conference selections and 1,000-point club distinction. "It was surprising for me. I wasn't aware of it. I was surprised, but at the same time ... I was thankful really to receive such awards."
On senior day, Feb. 25, Sanderson said of Palmore, " ... From the very first day you set foot on campus, you've displayed a very humble spirit and a put-others-ahead-of-yourself mentality. ... Living in a day of self-promotion, despite being an all-conference player, you've always handled yourself with class and have always possessed an appreciative attitude.
"Chris, I'm so thankful for your willingness to accept the challenges extended by me over the past four years to improve yourself both on and off the court. I'm so looking forward to watching you move into the next phase of your life and to see how God will continue to transform you into His plan," Sanderson added. "Thank you, Chris, for meaning so much to me, and to this basketball program."
Despite the ending of a stellar college career, the 200-pound Palmore doesn't seem to have tied up his sneakers competitively for the last time.
"I'll graduate in May," said the criminal justice major. "I'm definitely trying to pursue a career professionally. I've had agents talking to me, telling me different routes I can take -- like overseas or the [National Basketball Association] D-League."
-- Information from the Faulkner University athletics website was used in this article.