Kearney, Neb. – The Nebraska-Kearney men’s basketball finally returns home this weekend as it entertains defending national champion Northwest Missouri State and Missouri Western State. The Lopers (6-10, 2-5) haven’t played in the Health & Sports Center since a December 19 win over Hastings College. UNK will have eight of its final 12 games at Buckle Court. The second-ranked Bearcats (15-1, 7-1) visit Thursday night with the Griffons (3-12, 1-7) stopping by Saturday afternoon. Check the Loper schedule page for tip times and media links. Amazingly, this is NW’s first trip to Kearney for basketball in 1,469 days. Back on January 9, 2014, “Wrecking Ball” was on the Top 40, “Lone Survivor” was in theaters and the Seattle Seahawks were about to win its first Super Bowl.
More currently, Northwest has won 50 of its last 52 games with the only losses in that stretch coming at Missouri Southern State. The Loper-Bearcat contest will feature two of Division II’s top two players in senior forward Trey Lansman (Harlan, Ia.) and senior guard Justin Pitts (5-10, 150 lbs.). Pitts is the reigning D2 National Player of the Year with Lansman a 2018 preseason All-American. Currently, the pair rank 1-2 in the MIAA in both scoring and minutes per game. Each leads his team in variety of categories with Lansman (22.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game) one of only two MIAA players to be at a double double on the season. In four wins against the Lopers, Pitts is at 24.8 points, 5.3 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 2.0 steals a night. Despite averaging 36 minutes in those four wins, Pitts has committed just three turnovers. UNK will also aim for some revenge against Missouri Western State. The Griffons handed the Lopers an 80-63 loss last January in St. Joseph. Senior guard Yashua Trent (Chicago) didn’t play in that contest; he currently is in the MIAA top 10 in assists and steals per game and free throws attempted. Kearney heads back out on the road next week when it travels to Lindenwood (Thursday) and Lincoln (Saturday). Those are the only meetings with the Lions and Blue Tigers this year.
Kearney, Neb. – The Nebraska-Kearney women’s basketball team hopes to remain unbeaten at home when it hosts Northwest Missouri State and Missouri Western State this weekend. The Lopers (12-3, 4-3), currently tied for sixth place in the MIAA, are 7-0 in the Health & Sports Center for the first time since 2007-08. UNK plays eight of its last 12 regular season games on the Buckle Court. Northwest (1-15, 0-8) stops by Thursday night and Mo West (10-7, 3-5) on Saturday afternoon. Check the Loper schedule page for tip times and media links. Coming off a 78-64 road win at Fort Hays State last Saturday, the Lopers have now won four of its last five games. A solid 3-3 in true road contests, UNK swept perennial MIAA power Pittsburg State, 97-95 (OT), and Missouri Southern State, 72-67 (OT), at home way back in late November and early December.
The Bearcats come in having not visited Kearney in 1,469 days. Back on January 9, 2014, “Wrecking Ball” was on the Top 40, “Lone Survivor” was in theaters and the Seattle Seahawks were about to win its first Super Bowl. More currently, Northwest has lost 13 in a row since a mid-November win over Peru State. UNK fell two years ago in Maryville, 62-32, but avenged that performance last year, 69-64. Senior guard Michaela Barry (Battle Creek) had 21 points in that victory and is 14 shy of 1,200 for her career. Senior McKenzie Brown (G.I. Northwest), the only Loper to have played against NW at home, has vaulted up to 20th on UNK’s all-time scoring list (1,139). She also needs nine more threes to past Taryn Ninemire (2002-04) for second place on that all-time list. Currently, Brown has 215 made triples. Brown had nine points and four boards in UNK’s 82-76 win over then-No.5 Missouri Western back in January 2016. The Griffons avenged that loss in the MIAA Tournament quarters, 64-53, and also beat the Lopers last year in St. Joe, 55-51. MWSU last came to Kearney in January 2015. This Griffs team has lost back-to-back overtime contests at home to nationally-ranked Central Missouri and Southwest Baptist. They have a rare three-game week as they played SBU Monday and are at Ft. Hays on Thursday. Kearney heads back out on the road next week when it travels to Lindenwood (Thursday) and Lincoln (Saturday). Those are the only meetings with the Lions and Blue Tigers this year. Thursday’s games can be heard on 93.1 KRVN FM and krvn.com.