Kearney, Neb. – Senior guard Ty Danielson hit two free throws with five seconds left to help Nebraska-Kearney hold off Lindenwood, 67-64, Thursday night in St. Charles, Mo.
The Lopers (9-10, 5-5) win a third straight game by 10 points or less and pick up its first road win since November 17. Meanwhile, the Lions (13-7, 5-6) fall to 5-4 at home.
UNK led all 40 minutes but had to hang on after senior forward Trey Lansman (Harlan, Ia.) fouled out with 1:42 remaining. Picking up his fifth foul on a charge call, he managed his 11th double double (18 points and 10 rebounds) of the year, one of the highest totals in NCAA Division II.
The Lopers seemingly were in control up 65-58 with 2:20 left but three turnovers and a missed shot followed. Lindenwood took advantage, scoring the next five points and then seeing junior forward Chandler Diekvoss go to the line with seven seconds left. The second of two steals setup Diekvoss, a former Division I redshirt at Richmond.
The Lions came in shooting just 70 percent at the line and that issue cropped up as they finished 13 of 20 (65 percent). Diekvoss badly missed the first free throw but made the second. Forty-five seconds earlier, junior guard Adam Pohlman went one of two at the line; he came shooting 59 percent on the season.
Danielson (York), an 84 percent free throw shooter, was fouled in the back court and made those two freebies to complete the scoring. With no timeouts remaining, LWU threw a long pass that junior Brad Newman caught. His potential game-tying three was well off the mark.
“When Trey went out you get a little nervous but guys stepped up and Ty hit two really big free throws,” said Loper head coach Kevin Lofton. “It was nice to see Yashua (Trent) out there running around again. He gave us some penetration into the lane that we hadn’t been getting. He did a good job for being out as long as he has.”
Going 11 of 12 at the line and 24 of 50 from the field (48 percent), UNK got a big game from Bellevue sophomore forward AJ Jackson. Over 32 minutes he went 5 of 8 from the field to tie his season-high of 10 points. He also had six rebounds (three offensive) and a steal.
Off the bench, Danielson went for 11 points, three assists, two steals and two rebounds. Seeing game action for the first time since December 19, Trent (Chicago) had eight points, four assists and four rebounds in 25 minutes.
“Defensively we played pretty well. Our guys got down and guarded with the exception of transition early in the first half. They hit some threes and we just weren’t talking and getting matched up like we needed to,” said Lofton. “In the second half, we got that problem solved and also made an adjustment on how we were guarding their post players.”
Lindenwood was 5 of 9 from behind the arc in the first half to hang around but missed all five of its treys in the second half. UNK came in as the MIAA leader in three point defense, allowing just six makes per game. Pohlman, averaging 7.2 points coming in, went for a team-high 22 thanks to 8 of 11 (3 of 3 threes) shooting). Newman (12) was the only other Lion in double figures; Diekvoss (four) was held 11 points below his season average. UNK heads to Lincoln on Saturday afternoon. The Blue Tigers (10-10, 4-7) blasted Fort Hays State tonight, 77-56.
Kearney, Neb. – Senior guard Michaela Barry scored 33 points and assisted on the game winning bucket with 2.8 seconds left as Nebraska-Kearney rallied past Lindenwood, 80-78, Thursday night in St. Charles, Mo.
The Lopers (15-3, 7-3) continue a magical season, improving to 9-0 in games decided by 10 points or less and posting its eighth fourth quarter rally among 11 Division II wins. UNK has also won seven of eight to be tied with two others for third place in the MIAA standings.
Barry (Battle Creek), the current MIAA Player of the Week, notched her third 30-point game of the season by going 12 of 17 (2 of 5 threes) from the field and 7 of 8 at the line. But it was her fourth assist of the night that proved to be the crucial play.
Ahead 78-75 with just under a minute to play, UNK ran the shot clock down and not surprisingly gave the ball to Barry. Her shot in the lane was blocked out of bounds and the Lopers called a timeout. After the break, Lindenwood forced a five second call to get the ball back. Thirteen seconds later, reserve Kyle Ferguson capped a great night by hitting a 26-footer to tie things. She tallied 15 points thanks to three triples.
UNK called another time out and again gave the ball to Barry. She worked from the top of the key, drew the defense toward her and found a wide open Kelsey Sanger (Crofton) for an easy layup and the game winner. The Lions (10-10, 2-9), calling a timeout to move the ball down the court, had a chance to win or tie but couldn’t get a shot off.
“Our team just continues to fight; Lindenwood would go up, we would come back. They would go up, we would come back again,” said Loper assistant coach Brandon Rohr. “Michaela and Kelsey have won their whole lives so it’s not surprising what happened at the end. Michaela might’ve been feeling it but she’s unselfish and smart enough and made a great pass.”
Sanger, replacing an injured Jenna Gillespie (Holdrege) in the starting lineup, had one of her finest games of the season. Over 25 minutes, she had nine points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals. Five of her points came in the fourth quarter to help UNK erase two different four-point deficits.
Now 6-1 all-time against Lindenwood, the Lopers led 17-9 after the first quarter and tallied the first two points of the second quarter. However, the Lions went on a 30-11 over the next 11 minutes to lead by nine. That was Lindenwood’s biggest lead of the game. UNK didn’t grab the lead back until Alyssa Frauendorfer (Humphrey) made a layup with 6:11 to go. That made the score 63-62 and capped an 8-1 Kearney run. The two teams then went back and forth until the final seconds.
Frauendorfer joined Barry and Sanger as Lopers to have big efforts as she made a season-best four threes to tally 16 points. She also had seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block. Off the bench, UNK got six points apiece from forward Kennedy Sander (Lincoln Pius X) and Adreon Bell (Independence, Mo.).
Four Lions were in reached double figures, led by 6-3 sophomore post Kallie Bildner. The 2017 MIAA Freshman of the Year went for 23 points and nine rebounds with starter Charisse Williams and reserve Gaby Walker each scoring 10.
UNK is among the best teams in D2 in not sending teams to the free throw line but the Lions went 16 of 21 tonight. The 16 makes are a season-high for a Loper opponent with Bildner doing most of the damage (9 of 9). Finally, the Lopers shot 64 percent (9 of 14) on the four quarter. In its previous seven “rally wins, Kearney made 59 percent of its fourth quarter shots. On Saturday, the Lopers head to Lincoln University. The Blue Tigers (3-16, 0-11) fell tonight to Fort Hays State, 65-55.