Kearney, Neb. – Four starters scored in double figures and Central Missouri went 10 for 10 at the line in overtime to edge Nebraska-Kearney, 88-81, Saturday evening in Warrensburg.
The Mules improve to 12-2 (4-1) while the Lopers fall to 6-9 (2-4). UNK is now 3-8 in games decided by 10 points or less.
This was the second straight game Kearney was a bit short handed. Starting guard Yashua Trent (Chicago) and reserve forward Austin Luger (Alliance) both suffered injuries in recent practices and weren’t available. Both should return to action by February. Already this year, UNK has seen guard Sam Morris (Lincoln) take a medical redshirt with several others missing game or practice time due to ailments.
UCM led for 34 of the 45 minutes but never by more than seven points. The Lopers efforts to hang around paid off as senior forward Trey Lansman (Harlan, Ia.) was fouled attempting a long three with 1.3 seconds left in regulation. Prior to that shot, the Mules went 2 of 4 at the line.
Lansman, tallying 34 points and 16 rebounds, sunk all three free throws. UCM almost won it as a very long three by senior star Spencer Reaves hit the back of the iron. In the extra five minutes, UNK was 3 of 6 from the field with a three pointer but committed back-to-back turnovers. The Mules were just 2 of 5 from the floor but the 10 made free throws put them at 29 of 33 (88 percent) for the day.
“Our guys battled and they’ve been doing that all year long. This team has been through a lot and we again came out and competed hard. We hate to see it go that way but we did have some fortunate things happen to get us into overtime,” said Loper head coach Kevin Lofton.
A deep three from junior Isaiah McKay (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) cut the UCM lead to one, 80-79, at the 3:05 mark of overtime. After a buck in the paint by 6-8, 255 pound junior Jakob Lowrance, UNK had its two turnovers. The Mules closed things out by going 6 of 6 at the line over the final 23 seconds.
“All across the board guys stepped up. Trey played well and Ty, despite being sick, came out and gave us everything he had. We just came up a bit short but I think we got better today,” said Lofton.
Going the distance for a second straight game, Lansman (Harlan, Ia.) was 10 of 19 (3 of 7 threes) from the field and 11 of 13 at the line. Having 15 defensive rebounds, he also had four steals, two blocks and an assist.
Next for UNK, York senior guard Ty Danielson had 14 points and before fouling out in regulation with Pierce senior guard Lane Rohrich at 13 points on 6 of 8 shooting. He fouled out late in overtime. Finally, Bellevue sophomore forward AJ Jackson had nine rebounds (four offensive), four points, two blocks and two assists.
Reaves was just 3 of 15 from the field but hit a couple of big shots late in regulation to keep his team in the lead. He finished with 16 points while Lowrance (21 points & 11 rebounds) had a double double. UCM got 19 points off its bench, led by Clarence Smith with nine.
UNK out shot UCM 52 to 37 percent and also had a plus eight rebounding margin. However, the Lopers made 13 fewer free throws and committed 12 more turnovers.
“Trey played 85 minutes in two games this weekend and all three of those free throws were dead middle. None were in doubt,” said Lofton. “One of these upcoming games we have to steal.”
Next week, the Lopers have just one game, a Saturday afternoon affair at rival Fort Hays State. The Tigers (10-5, 3-3) fell at Southwest Baptist today, 75-68.
Kearney, Neb. – The 11th-ranked Central Missouri Jennies hit nine three pointers and played stellar defense to defeat Nebraska-Kearney, 81-46, Saturday afternoon in Warrensburg.
The preseason favorites in the MIAA, UCM improves to 11-1 (5-0) while UNK falls to 11-3 (3-3 MIAA).
The Lopers made at least 50 percent of its field goals in its last three games but connected on just 26 percent (17 of 65) of its shots today. UCM came in leading the MIAA in scoring defense (53.5 points per game) and ranked fourth in field goal percentage defense (35.5).
Both teams got off to cold starts as they combined for 21 points on 9 of 35 shooting (26 percent) in the first quarter. That included a 1 of 10 effort from behind the arc. For UNK, senior guard Michaela Barry (Battle Creek) was whistled for two offensive fouls.
While the Lopers remained cold in the second quarter, the Jennies slowly warmed up to lead 29-17 at the break. UCM then got it going in the second half, tallying 52 points thanks to five threes.
Eleven different Jennies scored with starters Paige Redmond (19) and Kelsey Williams (11) leading the way. Redmond went 3 of 5 from behind the arc with three reserves combining for five made triples. As a team, UCM shot 49 percent (32 of 66) from the floor, had a plus 10 rebounding margin and never trailed.
Twelve Lopers managed to score with Barry having a team-high 13 points. The only Loper to reach double figures, she finished with three fouls and four made field goals (one three). Next, Grand Island senior McKenzie Brown got close to a second straight double double (nine points and a team-high eight rebounds) with Kansas sophomore reserve guard Terran Hoyt having five points in 11 minutes.
UNK heads to Fort Hays State next Saturday afternoon. The Tigers (12-3, 3-3) edged Southwest Baptist today, 62-61.