Kearney, Neb. – Senior forward Trey Lansman recorded his 13th double double of the season to help short-handed Nebraska-Kearney beat Northeastern State, 82-78,Saturday evening in Tahlequah, Okla.
UNK (11-13, 7-8) is in a four-way tie for sixth place in the MIAA standing while the RiverHawks (7-17, 3-12) drop a third straight game.
Due to illness and injury, starters AJ Jackson (Bellevue) and Yashua Trent (Chicago) didn’t play in Thursday’s loss at Central Oklahoma. Today, Jackson returned but senior Lane Rohrich (Pierce) couldn’t go as well as Trent. That left UNK with just two guards in senior Ty Danielson (York) and junior Isaiah McKay (Brooklyn Park, Minn.).
“That was a true team victory. We came into this game with no true point guard; Isaiah had to play the point. It was a next man up type scenario,” said Loper assistant John Ritzdorf. “Guys were playing out of position, guys were playing when their tongues were hanging on the ground because they were so tired.”
Despite a short and unique rotation, UNK led by 14 in the first half and was ahead 32 minutes in all. Shooting 51 percent (27 of 53) from the field and 83 percent (20 of 24) at the line, the Lopers did see a perimeter-based NSU squad hit 12 threes to hang around.
In the second half, UNK cooled off after making 67 percent of its first half shots. The ‘Hawks grabbed a 60-58 lead with 9:12 to play after sophomore reserve guard Trent Cantrell converted a three-point play. However, UNK moved ahead again thanks to a McKay triple and then was up seven with 1:17 left.
NSU didn’t go quietly as Cantrell and junior guard Tanner Mouse hit back-to-back threes to trail by a 77-75 score with 35 seconds to go. Mouse was fouled on his shot but missed the ensuing free throw. UNK went 5 of 6 at the line to keep the ‘Hawks at bay.
“We made enough plays throughout. We knew they would go on some runs since they are a pretty streaky team. They did make 12 threes and that was not part of our game plan,” said Ritzdorf. “We always had a response and a lot of guys stepped up.”
Going all 40 minutes, Lansman (Harlan, Ia.) had 25 points and 12 rebounds (11 defensive). Making seven field goals (one three) and 10 free throws, he also had a team-high seven assists, three blocks and a steal. Lansman now has 1,919 points, sixth most in school history.
Next, a game Danielson went for 18 points on 5 of 9 (4 of 7 threes) shooting while sophomore forward Kyle Juhl (Harlan, Ia.) had 14 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals. He played all 40 minutes in his eighth career start. Finally, McKay had 10 points, five assists and two rebounds over 35 minutes.
Four ‘Hawks also reached double digits, led by senior guard Montre’ Williams (22) and graduate transfer Jamir Andrews (18). The pair combined for five made threes as well as nine rebounds. Off the bench, Cantrell went for 16 points in 20 minutes. UCO and NSU come to Kearney next weekend.
Kearney, Neb. – Senior guard Michaela Barry made two left-handed baskets, the second coming with five seconds left, and then recorded a steal to seal Nebraska-Kearney’s 66-65 win over Northeastern State Saturday afternoon in Tahlequah.
The Lopers (19-4, 11-4) are in sole possession of third place in the MIAA while the RiverHawks (9-13, 5-10) lose a fifth straight game.
In a season of close calls and heart stoppers, UNK found a way to win another one. Senior guard McKenzie Brown (G.I. Northwest) carried Kearney for most of the day, scoring a career-high 34 points, with Barry starring late.
Down 44-34 with three minutes left in the third quarter, the Lopers used a 20-6 run to not only erase the deficit but also grab the lead back. A 2-2-1 full-court press and 2-3 zone aided the comeback which made it 54-50 with six minutes to play.
NSU, however, countered with a 6-0 spurt to regain the lead and then came back from a 59-56 hole. Junior center Joi Bertrand, a 45 percent free throw shooter, was fouled in the post and made two free throws with 36 seconds left to break a 63-all tie.
Held scoreless in the first half, Barry (Battle Creek) made the first of her two off-hand shots nine seconds later, getting fouled in the process. She made the freebie but Bertrand, standing 6-2, made a shot in the lane with 24 seconds left. With 3:53 left, UNK saw starting post Alyssa Frauendorfer (Humphrey) foul out for the second straight game.
UNK called timeout to advance the ball up court. Once again, Barry’s number was called at the end of a game and she again went to her left hand to sink the game winner. NSU also advanced the ball up court but Barry was there to steal it and she then raced down court as time expired.
“I can’t say enough about the determination of this team. Both Michaela and McKenzie work so hard it’s not surprising to see them play well when it matters most,” said Loper assistant Brandon Rohr.
The Lopers got off to a very slow start, committing 11 first half turnovers and tallying just 24 points over the first 20 minutes. Luckily, NSU wasn’t hot either as they were just 8 of 28 from the field. They did shoot 60 percent (16 of 27; 4 of 8 threes) after the break but also committed nine turnovers. Overall, UNK tallied 21 of its points off 17 ‘Hawk miscues.
Having her first 30-point effort as a Loper, Brown was 12 of 23 (6 of 11 threes) from the floor and 4 of 4 at the line. Scoring 13 in the fourth quarter, she also had five defensive rebounds and a steal in 36 minutes. Brown’s previous career-high of 28 points came last month in a win at Ft. Hays State.
Barry tallied 16 after halftime thanks to six free throws and five buckets. Not surprisingly, she also was good in the fourth quarter, scoring eight and having two assists and two steals. Finally for UNK, Crofton freshman Kelsey Sanger had nine rebounds (three offensive), four points, two assists and two steals with Lincoln sophomore reserve guard Grace Barry tallying two points, two assists and two boards in 22 minutes.
Bertrand (13) and fellow starter Bailee Eldred scored 25 for NSU. Bertand also had nine rebounds and three blocks.
Central Oklahoma and NSU come to Kearney next weekend. Prior to those contests, the first edition of the NCAA region rankings will come out Wednesday afternoon. These determine the 64-team NCAA field in March; UNK hasn’t appeared in them since 2008-09 but has a good chance this time around.