Kearney, Neb. – Reserves Isaac Clark and Tyas Martin combined to score 40 points and the Washburn Ichabods held off Nebraska-Kearney in the second half, 78-71, Saturday night in Topeka.
With the win, the ‘Bods (7-3, 2-0) stop an eight-game skid the Lopers (5-7, 2-2). Last year, UNK beat Washburn three times thanks to almost 50 percent (36 of 74) three point shooting. Tonight the Lopers shot 38 percent from the field, snapping a four-game streak of at least 50 percent, and were 5 of 17 from behind the arc.
The ‘Bods led for the final 32 minutes as they held Kearney to 28 percent (8 of 29) shooting in the first half. A 2016 first-team All-MIAA performer and a 6-2 senior guard, Clark came in averaging 9.2 points per game. He went for 15 in the first half to help the ‘Bods build a 34-25 halftime lead.
“I thought at times we played pretty good defense but they had some guys step up and make plays. Isaiah Clark really got it going in the first half and was the reason they had the lead,” said Loper head coach Kevin Lofton. “He fueled them tonight and made some tough shots. It’s hard to overcome 25 points off the bench.”
UNK shot close to 50 percent in the second half but senior forward Trey Lansman (Harlan, Ia.) had to sit a few minutes due to foul trouble. Freshman reserve post Weston Baker Magrath (Marshall, Minn.) helped fill the void as the Lopers slowly chipped away at a double digit deficit.
An 8-1 Kearney run was highlighted by a Magrath three-point play and the Washburn lead was down to three, 56-53, with 7:46 to play. Martin, a 6-4 junior guard, followed with two free throws and then the ‘Bods scored six of the next seven points to lead by double figures again. UNK didn’t get closer than seven points the rest of the evening.
“We made it interesting but didn’t have enough to finish it. They do what good teams do by responding and making a few plays. We didn’t recover from that,” said Lofton.
Clark reached his 25 points by going 9 of 13 from the floor (1 of 2 threes) and 6 of 7 at the line. Over 26 minutes, he also had five defensive rebounds and a steal. Martin, averaging 11 on the season, scored 15 thanks to 6 of 8 shooting. In the paint, preseason All-American post Brady Skeens went for 14 rebounds (12 defensive), nine points, three blocks, two assists and a steal. Like Lansman, he was called for four fouls.
“Skeens and (junior guard) Javion Blake are their two guys. We felt like we had to do a job on them and I think we did that,” said Lofton. “In both games this week we’ve taken out their leading scorer but its their other guys that’ve stepped up and hurt us.”
A bigger team than UNK, Washburn had a 38-18 advantage in points in the paint and also tallied 16 points off of 12 Loper turnovers. The ‘Bods made just 13 of 22 free throws in the second half with Kearney making 76 percent (22 of 29) of its freebies.
Lansman (14 points and 13 rebounds) recorded his fourth straight double double with senior guard Yashua Trent (Chicago) hitting a late three to score a team-high 16. He also had eight rebounds (three offensive) and three assists. Finally, senior guard Lane Rohrich (Pierce) had 14 of his 15 points after the break with Baker Magrath tallying four rebounds (all defensive), three points and a block in 13 minutes. UNK is now off until a December 19th home game vs. Hastings College.
Kearney, Neb. – Two starters scored in double figures and the Washburn Ichabods held Nebraska-Kearney to 26 percent field goal shooting to post a 57-39 win Saturday evening in Topeka.
WU improves to 8-1 (2-0), including 5-0 at home, while UNK (8-2, 2-2) drops a second straight game.
Coming off a Thursday night in which it shot 35 percent at Emporia State, the Lopers again remained cold. They sank just two of their first 15 shots, going 1 of 7 from behind the arc, to fall behind 15-7. Washburn then scored the first eight points of the second quarter. The ‘Bods went on to shoot a solid 52 percent (12 of 23) in the first half.
“It makes it a lot more difficult if you get down early on the road. We started to press a little bit but once we got settled down in the half court and then took them out of transition I thought we were pretty good defensively,” said Loper assistant coach Brandon Rohr. “Enough shots just didn’t go in for us today and anytime you turn the ball over 17 times it’s going to be hard to score points.”
Winning the battle on the glass 34-31, UNK trailed by 11 at the break and then was just down four, 39-35, late in the third quarter. A 10-2 spurt featured threes from Grand Island senior McKenzie Brown and Crofton freshman Kelsey Sanger.
However, Washburn got the lead back to nine by the end of the third and then held the Lopers to three fourth quarter points. On the night, they tallied 20 points off 17 turnovers;UNK had nine points off 16 Washburn miscues.
“They know how to take your heart out. When we got close they made big shots. They made a three at the end of the first half after we got it down to eight,” said Rohr. “You feel like if you’re down five with five to go you have a chance but we never could get to that point. Credit Washburn; they play a lot of games in the 50’s and 60’s.”
Junior forward Taylor Blue came in averaging seven points per game but she made 7 of 8 shots (3 of 5 threes) to score game-high 18 in just 19 minutes. Sophomore guard Reagan Phelan (10) made three field goals and three free throws to reach her point total with five others reaching the scoring column. Finally, 6-2 Belgian senior post Axelle Bernard had seven rebounds, six points, two assists and a block.
For UNK, Brown fired up 20 shots and made three triples to score a team-best 14. She also had five rebounds (two offensive) and two steals in 37 minutes. Next, Battle Creek senior guard Michaela Barry had seven points, seven boards (six defensive) and two assists with Lincoln sophomore reserve post Kennedy Sander providing seven rebounds (two offensive) and six points. UNK hosts Manhattan Christian College of Kansas next Saturday at 2 p.m.