Kearney, Neb. – Freshman Kanon Koster scored a team-high 26 points and Nebraska-Kearney took advantage of 23 turnovers and 10 offensive rebounds to upset Lincoln, 75-67, Thursday night at the Health & Sports Center. The Lopers have won two in a row and three of four to improve to 9-14 (4-10). Amazingly, UNK has now been involved in 17 games decided by 10 points or less. On the other side of the court, the Blue Tigers fall to 16-7 (9-5) and to 6-3 on the road. Behind 20 points from senior forward Terrance Smith, LU led most of the first half and by a 32-27 score the break. UNK hung around thanks to five o-boards, leading to eight points, and 10 Blue Tiger turnovers that turned into five more points. Lincoln coughed up the ball six more times to start the second half, helping UNK go on a 13-7 run. The Blue Tigers briefly regained the lead at 41-40 but then a Koster layup, followed by a three from Alliance sophomore Austin Luger, put the Lopers up for good. “I think our offense worked together tonight. Kanon wasn’t doing a bunch of isolation to get his points. I thought it was out of the flow … we were getting ball reversals and had some really good assists there,” said Loper head coach Kevin Lofton. “Kanon had one late to AJ. That’s the kind of play that makes you think the guys might be jelling a little bit.
A three-point play by Bellevue junior AJ Jackson made it 64-52 with 4:15 to play but the Blue Tigers had one last run in them. A steal and dunk by junior guard Jonell Burton cut it to a four-point deficit, 71-67, with 40 seconds remaining. UNK handled the press and went 4 of 6 at the line to seal the deal. Both teams made 26 field goals and seven threes. UNK got off 16 more shot attempts thanks to those 23 turnovers with Lincoln, normally a 77 percent free throw shooting team, going 8 of 14 at the line. Finally, Kearney ended up with 17 second chance points and 18 points off turnovers. Individually, Koster went 9 of 14 (2 of 4 threes) from the field and 6 of 7 at the line to reach his point total. This is his fourth game of at least 25 points this season. Next, Iowa junior Kyle Juhl (11) and Texas junior Chase Winchester (nine) also sunk two threes apiece to combine for 20 points with Minnesota sophomore forward Weston Baker Magrath supplying eight points and six caroms. He had most of his production in the first half to keep UNK in it. For Lincoln, Smith ended up with 30 points on 11 of 17 (3 of 5 threes) shooting. Going 5 of 8 at the line, he also had five rebounds, two dimes, a block and steal over 34 minutes. Burton (14) and reserve Amariontez Ivory (10) were the other Blue Tigers in double figures. Ivory came in averaging 14 points per game but didn’t start for the first time this winter. He had 33 points in a win over UNK last February. UNK hosts Lindenwood on Saturday afternoon. The Lions (12-14, 5-9) upset Fort Hays State tonight, 73-67.
Kearney, Neb. – Forward Maegan Holt scored a school freshman record of 31 points and freshman forward Shiloh McCool recorded her fourth double double of the year to help Nebraska-Kearney hold off Lincoln, 72-59, Thursday night at the Health & Sports Center. UNK (14-9, 7-7) is now 11-3 at home and remains in a seventh place tie in the MIAA standings while the Blue Tigers drop to 10-13 (2-12). The Lopers led for the last 34 minutes and by as many as 19 points before LU made a move late in the fourth quarter. However, McCool (Pleasant Hill, Ia.) took a pass down low and then kicked it out to Holt (Council Bluffs, Ia.) who promptly knocked down her third and final three of the game. That made it 55-44 with 3:28 and LU didn’t get the deficit under 10 points the rest of the way. Averaging 12 made free throws per game coming in, UNK was 15 of 24 at the line in the fourth quarter alone to put the icing on the cake. The overall 23 of 39 effort is one of the Lopers busiest nights at the line this year. Seven different Lopers made at least one freebie with LU going 13 of 17 on its end of the court. “We did a good job of taking away the things they do well. Team defense wise, we did a good job of helping out on a couple of their better players that we knew they would try and establish early,” said Loper head coach Carrie Eighmey. “We’re going to have to continue to guard well moving forward.” Holt entered tonight as Kearney’s third leading scorer (8.4). She recorded the 45th 30-point game in school history by going an efficient 10 of 13 from the field (3 of 4 threes) and 8 of 13 at the line.
Holt had 20 points in the second half and fell a rebound short of her first collegiate double double. The nine rebounds (four offensive) are a season-high. While there is no official UNK freshman record for points in a game, the previous 44 efforts of at least 30 points were all done by players with at least one year under their belt. Next, McCool had 11 points and 11 rebounds (five offensive) with sophomore guard Adreon Bell (Independence, Mo.) adding 12 points and three assists. Defensively, UNK forced LU senior star Zhanesha Dickerson to take 26 shots to reach her team-high 22 points. She also had nine rebounds, three blocks and a steal in 39 minutes. “They do a good job of dictating pace and we had several empty possessions in a row late in the third quarter and early in the fourth. We turned the ball over a couple of times and number 32 (Dickerson) can really stroke it,” said Eighmey. “Even though she had 22 points I thought we did a really good job on her.” Also for Lincoln, senior post Bre Coleman had a double double (17 points and 12 rebounds) with junior guard Kaloni Pryear at 15 points. UNK hosts 25th-ranked Lindenwood on Saturday. The Lions (16-5, 10-4) lost to No. 4 Fort Hays State tonight, 77-52.