|Kearney, Neb. – Senior forward Trey Lansman had his 12th career double and two other starters scored in double figures to help Nebraska-Kearney rally past Wayne State, 71-66, Friday night at the Health & Sports Center. The 163rd meeting between the Lopers and Wildcats was the season opener for both. They’ll play again in less than 48 hours in Wayne.
Kearney, with 12 players on the roster this year, came in a bit short handed as starting guard Isaiah McKay (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) and reserve forward AJ Jackson (Bellevue West) were held out with minor ailments; both should return within a week. Sophomore guard Sam Morris (Lincoln Southeast) is taking a medical redshirt as well. All nine available players took to the court tonight.
The ‘Cats built a 38-28 halftime edge thanks to 52 percent (15 of 29) field goal shooting and a 22-12 edge on the glass. UNK, behind Lansman (Harlan, Ia.), scored 12 of the game’s first 16 points but it was all Wayne over the final 15 minutes of the half.
“It was bad basketball the first half. I don’t know how else to explain it. Trey got off to a fast start and some things started to happen for us like Yashua (Trent) getting to the basket. But when they started coming back, we didn’t handle it very well. And that’s when we started playing isolation basketball,” said UNK head coach Kevin Lofton.
As expected, the Lopers came out strong to start the second half, getting a couple of quick stops and scoring the first six points. However, Wayne kept UNK at bay thanks to 13 second half points from senior guard Brian Goodwin.
“The second half was a little better but nowhere where we want it to be. Defensively, thankfully, I think we picked the energy up and got some stops early that cut into the lead. That gave us the belief that we can actually come back and do it,” said Lofton.
After Goodwin’s second three in a two-minute span made it 53-30 Wayne, senior guard Lane Rohrich (Pierce) responded with his lone triple of the night to tie it at 53 with 6:07 remaining. Goodwin and Lansman each went on four-point binges before UNK finally grabbed the lead back. Lansman tallied his third bucket in a row, and converted a foul shot, to make it 60-57 at the 4:10 mark.
Wayne reserve guard Trevin Joseph (10 points) nailed a three about 70 seconds later for the eighth and final tie of the night. With the shot clock winding down, reserve forward Kyle Juhl (Harlan, Ia.) hit a three from the left wing to give UNK the lead for good. The big shot came with just 2:45 left.
Kearney salted things away by going 7 of 10 at the line down the stretch. The ‘Cats also remained cold as the temperature outside, shooting 26 percent (7 of 27) in the second half. UNK held a 26-10 lead on the glass as well.
Sitting out just two minutes, Lansman went for 29 points and 13 rebounds. Making 11 of 20 shots (1 of 4 threes), all 13 of his boards came at the defensive end. The preseason All-American also blocked three shots and had two steals.
Rohrich tallied 12 of his 16 points in the second half as he made 7 of 8 freebies and 4 of 8 field goals. Next, senior guard Yashua Trent (Chicago) went 8 of 11 from the line to score 12 while also having a team-high four assists. Off the bench, Juhl had nine points and five defensive boards in 30 minutes with Alliance freshman post Austin Luger grabbing three rebounds in 12 minutes.
Goodwin (17) led Wayne in scoring by making 6 of 9 (2 of 4 threes) shots. Off the bench, post Tony Bonner had eight points in just 15 minutes. UNK held top scorer Kendall Jacks to 11 points on 4 of 16 shooting (0 of 8 in the second half).