Kearney, Neb. – Nebraska-Kearney’s veteran trio scored 60 points and three freshmen came up big as well as the Lopers beat Emporia State, 84-79, Saturday afternoon at the Health & Sports Center.
The streaking Lopers (18-3, 10-3) have won seven straight and nine of 10 to be tied with Pittsburg State for second place in the MIAA. UNK is now 12-0 on the Buckle Court and 11-0 in games decided by 10 points or less.
Emporia (13-7, 8-5), coming off its worst loss in 23 years, has dropped four of five and sees an eight-game win streak over UNK end. The Lopers hadn’t beaten the Hornets, a perennial MIAA and NCAA Division II power, since the 1999-00 season.
Like Thursday night against Washburn, Kearney led over the final 30 minutes but still had to fight until the end. Shooting over 50 percent in each of the first three quarters, the Lopers led by as many as 11 points and then sunk 18 of 21 free throws in the fourth quarter to keep Emporia at bay.
“Every win in the MIAA feels good but I think this one, especially for players like McKenzie (Brown) and Michaela (Brown) that have played Emporia several times, this one is satisfying. We’ve struggled against them in the past and we were able to get one today,” said UNK head coach Carrie Eighmey.
The Hornets out rebounded the Lopers 43-29 and tallied 22 of its points off 17 o-boards. Holding UNK to 2 of 10 shooting over the final 10 minutes, Emporia went on a 9-2 run to make it a 71-67 score with 4:36 left.
Reserve freshman guard Adreon Bell (Independence, Mo.) countered 25 seconds later with her second and final bucket of the game, a driving layup that broke down the Hornet defense. UNK didn’t make another basket but went 11 of 14 at the line to keep at least a five-point cushion.
“She does some really good things for our team. Defensively, Adreon is really good on the ball and gives us some athleticism at the end. Offensively, she is explosive, can get to the rim and is a good shooter. She has given us a boost the last several games,” said Eighmey.
Scoring 16 points off 16 ESU turnovers, UNK ended the day 28 of 37 (76 percent) at the line. Individually, senior guard Michaela Barry (21 points, four assists and four rebounds), senior wing McKenzie Brown (25 points and six boards) and graduate transfer Alyssa Frauendorfer (14 points, three rebounds, and two assists) went for 60 points thanks to 26 of 29 free throwing shooting and a 14 of 36 effort (6 of 10 threes) from the field
“McKenzie was incredible today. I can’t say enough good things about what she has done over the course of her career. This year, she’s stepped into some roles that maybe weren’t in her comfort zone. She’s willing to do whatever the team needs her to do,” said Eighmey.
In 16 minutes, Bell had five points and hounded the Hornets defensively. Fellow reserve freshman KyleIgh Vaught (Smithton, Ill.) had two rebounds, one assist and drew a foul at a key point in the first half and freshman starting guard Kelsey Sanger (Crofton) joined Brown as Lopers to go all 40 minutes. She tallied eight points, four boards and two assists.
Emporia had four starters and a reserve reach double figures. Starting guard Morgan Laudan (13 points and 11 rebounds) had a double double with reserve post Tiana Moala (10 points, five rebounds and two blocks) having a productive 15 minutes.
UNK heads to nationally-ranked Central Oklahoma on Thursday night. The Bronchos (17-5, 8-5) have dropped two straight and were swept by the Lopers last season.
Kearney, Neb. – The Nebraska-Kearney men’s basketball team got scoring from eight different players and shut down Emporia State in the second half to post a 70-57 win Saturday night at the Health & Sports Center.
The Lopers (10-12, 6-7) avenge a December loss to the Hornets (8-14, 3-10) who have dropped seven straight. UNK is now in a three-way tie for sixth place in the MIAA standings.
On “Loper Basketball Alumni” Night, it was the Hornets who came out fast. They never trailed in the first half, led by as many as 10 points and started the game 12 of 18 (67 percent) from the floor. However, UNK closed the half on a 7-2 run and then dominated the final 20 minutes.
“They came out swinging. They scored it pretty consistently in the first half but luckily we went in down only five,” said UNK head coach Kevin Lofton. “We shot it a little bit better in the second half which helped fuel our defense. We also got Trey (Lansman) involved a bit more and that obviously helps everything.”
The Lopers outscored E-State 38-20 after the break thanks to an even 50 percent (11 of 22) shooting. That included a 5 of 7 effort from the behind the arc and, as an added bonus, 11 of 14 free throwing shooting.
Meanwhile, Emporia shot an anemic 17 percent (5 of 30) in the second half. Going 1 of 10 from the three point line, the Hornets trailed for the last 18 minutes and never made a serious run down the stretch.
Winning the battle on the glass by nine, 42-33, UNK got 15 points, seven rebounds, four blocks and four assists from senior forward Trey Lansman (Harlan, Ia.). He was 9 of 10 at the line and one of two Lopers whistled for four fouls.
“They are doing everything (to stop Lansman). They biggest thing is they are doubling him or they deny him from catching the ball. If he’s out on the perimeter and puts it on the floor, he’s got the guy guarding him plus the guy in the gap.”
Next, seven others were between six and nine points. That large group included York senior guard Ty Danielson (nine points and eight rebounds), Iowa sophomore reserve forward Kyle Juhl (eight points and three rebounds) and Minnesota freshman reserve post Weston Baker Magrath (six points, four rebounds and one block).
“The balance is exciting. Kyle hit a couple of shots, Isaiah made a couple of plays and Weston had a nice tip in when they were trying to come back,” said Lofton. “Everyone contributed and now we have to build on that.”
Emporia’s two leading scorers on the year, guard Brandon Hall (15.1 ppg) and wing Stephaun Limuel (11.5 ppg), were held to 12 points on a combined 5 of 20 shooting. Forward Hassan Thomas tried to make up the difference by tallying 15 points, five boards, three steals and two blocks.
UNK heads to Central Oklahoma (Thursday) and Northeastern State (Saturday) next weekend. The Bronchos and RiverHawks then come to Kearney the following week.