Kearney, Neb. – Senior McKenzie Brown scored a career-high 28 points and Nebraska-Kearney made 11 three pointers to roll past rival Fort Hays State, 78-64, Saturday afternoon at Gross Memorial Coliseum in Kansas.
With the effort, the Lopers (12-3, 4-3) stop a 14-game losing streak to the Tigers (12-4, 3-4) which dated back to November 2008. Hays came in having won 84 of its past 88 home games.
This is UNK’s largest margin of victory in the series in 14 years and the Tigers biggest home setback since February 2009. To reach these lofty marks, the Lopers shot 55 percent from the field, including an 11 of 16 effort from behind the arc, against one of the MIAA’s best defensive teams.
“Anytime you can come in here and win …. that is an unbelievable statement on the type of game that you played. We came out throwing punches, we were patient and we came out with great urgency on the defensive end. We got stops and then saw the ball go through the basket early,” said Loper assistant Brandon Rohr.
Besides its hot shooting, Kearney also was plus four on the glass, 35-31, made 11 of 13 free throws, sent Hays to the line only 12 times and limited the Tigers to four fast break points. Defensively, FHSU was shut down from the three point line (3 of 17) en route to 40 percent shooting overall.
“The ball moved well today and we made a lot of extra passes, a lot of kick out passes. That is a testament to our girls being unselfish and nobody was caring who got the shot,” said Rohr.
Brown (G.I. Northwest) continued a super senior season by going 10 of 15 (6 of 6 threes) from the field and 2 of 2 at the line. Over a team-high 36 minutes, she also supplied four rebounds, two blocks and an assist. Having 17 points in the first half, this marks Brown’s fourth 20-point game of the year. Her previous career-best of 26 point came back in November vs. Colo.-Colo. Springs in Gross.
“McKenzie was unconscious today. We’ve been telling her all week this is a place where she shoots the ball well. It’s a place where she feels comfortable and we got her some good matchups and she made plays,” said Rohr.
UNK led for 37 minutes and by as many as 17 points. The Lopers capped each of the first three quarters with a three to lead 20-18, 43-32 and 60-45. The momentum-building treys came from three different players; overall, UNK had seven in the scoring column with four making at least one trey
“We tried to exploit a few match ups that we had. (The threes at the end of each quarter) were a prime example of the energy we played with today. Our togetherness was off the charts and, as coaches, we were more proud of that anything,” said Rohr.
A three from sophomore point guard Jenna Gillespie (Holdrege) made it 20-18 with 48 seconds left in the opening quarter and UNK never trailed again. Hays cut an 11-point deficit to six near the end of the next quarter but senior guard Michaela Barry (Battle Creek) scored five straight to push the Loper lead back in to double digits.
In the third quarter, UNK was up 52-45 before getting a three-point play from freshman reserve Kelsey Sanger (Crofton), a jumper from Brown and a triple by Humphrey graduate transfer Alyssa Frauendorfer. The Tigers didn’t get closer than 13 points the rest of the way.
Junior wing Tatyana Legette, her team’s leading scorer on the year, paced the Tigers with 20 points on 9 of 13 shooting. Former UNL commit and Kansas State Wildcat Lanie Page had eight points and three boards.
UNK hosts Northwest Missouri State (1-14, 0-7) and Missouri Western State (10-6, 3-4) next weekend.
Kearney, Neb. – The Fort Hays State Tigers shot 58 percent from the field to pull away from Nebraska-Kearney, 78-69, Saturday evening in Kansas. FHSU (11-5, 4-3) improves to 9-0 in Gross Memorial Coliseum while UNK (6-10, 2-5) drops a third straight game.
Trying to beat its archrival for a fifth consecutive time, the Lopers scored the first five points. However, UNK went ice cold after that, making just five of its next 27 shots (19 percent). That included a 0 of 12 effort from down town and a 10-minute stretch without a bucket.
Despite the offensive struggles, the Lopers were down just 29-20 at the break. But the Tigers slowly warmed up as the night wore on while UNK missed its first three shots to start the second half. Hays took advantage, scoring the first eight points after the break to open up a 17-point cushion, its biggest lead of the game.
“Shots weren’t falling early and for a team that likes to score, when that happens, that really effects other parts of the game. I thought we had some decent stretches and hung in there. We found a way to cut it to single digits a couple of times but it wasn’t enough,” said Loper head coach Kevin Lofton.
UNK made 17 of its final 25 shots (68 percent), including four threes, but never got the deficit lower than nine. Hays was even hotter offensively, making 18 of 25 field goals (72 percent) over the final 20 minutes. That included 5 of 6 three point shooting and, for added measure, an 8 of 11 effort from the line.
“Hays made plays at home and shot the ball really well from the three point line. They executed, were tough and got stops when they needed,” said Lofton.
Senior forward Hadley Gillum paced FHSU with 23 points and nine rebounds (eight defensive). Making all seven free throws he attempted, he was 8 of 14 from the field and reached his production in just 24 minutes. Seventeen of his points came in the second half.
Three other Tigers reached double digits, including reserve Jared Vitztum. The 6-7 redshirt freshman, a Hays native, came in with 32 points in eight games but tallied 15 today thanks to 6 of 6 (3 of 3 threes) shooting.
As a team, FHSU got 23 points off its bench and had eight different players in the scoring column. UNK finished plus two on the glass to tally 10 second chance points but was a season-low 4 of 22 (18 percent) from the arc.
“We’re so limited right now. Trey (Lansman) can get something done anytime he touches it but he is always double teamed whether it be in the paint or on the perimeter. Yashua (Trent) is our next best guy and he is in a brace. They both can get into the lane and that helps loosen the defense,” said Lofton. “That being said, we got our looks. We just have to keep battling and I liked what I heard from the guys in the locker room afterwards.”
Scoring 20 points in the second half, Lansman (Harlan, Ia.) managed to record his ninth double double of the year (27 points and 10 rebounds). Going 10 of 22 from the field and 5 of 5 at the line, he played 35 minutes before fouling out late. Lansman now ranks 10th all-time on UNK’s career scoring list (1,762).
Playing all 40 minutes, Pierce senior guard Lane Rohrich went for 21 points, six assists and three rebounds (two offensive). He was 8 of 15 from the field to have his second 20-point game of the year. Finally, off the bench, Iowa junior forward Carter Burns had five points and two board in 10 minutes.
UNK hosts defending national champion Northwest Missouri State (14-1, 6-1) and Missouri Western State (3-11, 1-6) next weekend.