Kearney, Neb. – Emporia State took advantage of 21 turnovers and went on a late 7-0 run to slip past Nebraska-Kearney, 77-69, Thursday night in Kansas. The Hornets (5-4, 1-0) improve to 3-4 in games decided by 10 points or less while the Lopers fall to 5-6 (2-1). UNK also drops to 1-5 on the road and remains winless in White Auditorium (0-4) since joining the MIAA. In a game where UNK shot an even 50 percent (25 of 50) from the field and got a career-high 19 points from sophomore reserve forward Kyle Juhl (Harlan, Ia.), the Lopersstill trailed most of the night. Some early hot shooting put Kearney up 28-20 but the Hornets closed the half on a 17-7 run to grab the lead back.
Scoring 21 points off those 21 turnovers and taking 15 more shots than the Lopers, Emporia led for most of the second half but never by more than five points until the very end.
A Juhl three tied the game at 63 with five minutes to go and then he hit two free throws a minute later to give UNK its first lead since late in the opening half. The Loper lead grew to four after a driving layup by senior guard Yashua Trent (Chicago) but then E-State made its move.
Reserve forward Garin Vandiver, son of ESU head coach Shaun Vandiver, hit a jumper at the 2:03 mark and then starting guard Grant Shell hit his only bucket of the game after a Loper miss. Shell’s thee came with 1:35 to go and was followed by a UNK turnover, one of three in the final 1:15.
That miscue led to a jumper by starting guard Brian Morton (game-high 20 points) and Kearney didn’t get closer than three points the rest of the way.
“It was a very physical game. There was a lot of stuff going on when you got into the paint and it wasn’t for the faint of heart,” said Loper head coach Kevin Lofton. “I thought we had some costly mistakes down the stretch but I’ll give it to our guys. Emporia came out very aggressive and had us on our heels but we managed to hang in there.”
UNK held Emporia’s one double figure scorer, All-MIAA guard Brandon Hall, in check. Averaging 18 points coming in, he tallied eight on 3 of 15 shooting. He did supply six assists and seven boards over 38 minutes.
Morton reached his point total by making 8 of 13 shots with fellow starter Stephaun Limuel having a double double (18 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks). Emporia got 27 points off its bench, including 13 from Vandiver and 10 from 6-8 forward Hassan Thomas.
“We continued to hang around in the second half and then with that run it looked like we might pull it out. But they had some guys step up and make some big plays. They made a couple of big jump shots and then we got careless with the ball on a couple of possessions,” said Lofton.
Juhl was one of five Lopers to reach double figures. He was coming off a career-high 18 point performance last Saturday vs. Missouri Southern. Tonight, he was 6 of 7 (5 of 6 threes) from the field and had two steals in 26 minutes.
Next, Trent went all 40 minutes and had his first career double double (15 points and 10 assists) with Iowa senior Trey Lansman (13 points and 10 rebounds) having his third straight double double. UNK heads to Washburn Saturday night. The Ichabods (6-3) beat Fort Hays State on Wednesday, 69-58.
Kearney, Neb. – The Emporia State Hornets shot 51 percent from the field, hit 12 three pointers and blocked 12 shots in an 85-64 win over Nebraska-Kearney Thursday night in Kansas. Coming off a 29-5 season in which it was the Central Region Runner Up, Emporia improves to 5-2 while the Lopers (8-1) fall for the first time this season.
UNK came in a bit short handed as leading scorer Alyssa Frauendorfer (Humphrey) was out with injury. Averaging 15 points and a team-high 31 minutes a night, she is questionable for Saturday’s game at Washburn.
While the Hornets lost star guard Addie Lackey to a season-ending injury in October, and have battled some other bumps and bruises, they were still too much for the Lopers. Facing a bigger team, UNK threw a zone at E-State right out of the gates, a defense that helped UNK rally past Newman and Pittsburg State earlier this season. However, this time around, the opposition hit six threes in the first 10 minutes to grab a 24-15 lead. Emporia came in averaging six triples a game and shooting 37 percent from long range.
UNK did hang around as senior guard Michaela Barry (Battle Creek) scored nine of her team-high 15 points in the opening quarter. A layup from sophomore reserve guardGrace Barry (Lincoln East) made it a nine-point deficit, 28-19, at the 8:40 mark of the second quarter. But E-State quickly got the lead back to double digits and didn’t allow the Loper to make any sort of run after the break.
Still a deep team, 11 Hornets took to the court with each scoring at least three points. Six different players hit a trey, led by starting guard Marissa Preston (5 of 8). She had a team-high 17 points and helped Emporia go 12 of 26 from behind the arc.
When the threes weren’t falling, six-foot junior post Tyra Jones was wreaking havoc inside. Spending her freshman season at Division I Duquesne (Pa.), the Detroit native had 14 points, nine boards (three offensive), five blocks, two assists and two steals in 25 minutes.
No other Hornet reached double figures but reserve guard Jessica Wayne did get close to a double double (nine points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks). Overall, Emporia went 32 of 63 from the floor, had 15 second chance points and tallied 18 points off just 12 Loper turnovers.
Due to the blocks, UNK shot a season-low 35.0 percent (21 of 60) from the field. Out rebounded by eight, the Lopers did go 19 of 26 at the line and saw 10 different players reach the scoring column.
Barry ended 6 of 14 from the field (1 of 1 threes) while also grabbing a career-high nine rebounds, all at the defensive end. Off the bench, Grace Barry netted 10 on 5 of 8 shooting with Illinois freshman guard Kyleigh Vaught having six of her 10 points in the fourth quarter. Finally, Missouri freshman point guard Adreon Bell had six points and two assists over 21 minutes.
Kearney heads to Washburn on Saturday night. The Ichabods (7-1) beat the 29th-ranked Fort Hays State Tigers, 62-59, on Wednesday. Both the UNK games on Saturday can be heard on 93.1 KRVN FM and krvn.com.