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Kearney, Neb. – Three players scored in double digits to help Nebraska-Kearney hold off Washburn, 62-52, Saturday afternoon at the Health & Sports Center.
The Lopers improve to 2-0 and have now won 28 of its last 34 games, dating back to the start of last season.
UNK led Washburn (0-1) for nearly the entire way but saw a 19-point third quarter lead whittled down to seven on three separate occasions in the fourth The deep Lopers had a response each time thanks to buckets by guards Haley Simental (Pueblo West, Colo.) and Trinity Law (Brandon, S.D.).
“Washburn’s strategy was to limit our possessions; we took 50 shots and that’s a decently slow pace for a college game. They’ve always been a really solid defensive team … they are not a team you’re going to score on easily,” UNK head coach Carrie Eighmey said. “We knew we would have to work to get good shots.”
Getting scoring from nine different players, UNK was up 35-23 at the half and then by 17 late in the third. The ‘Bods, who got a team-high 12 points from sophomore reserve Macy Doebele, started the final period strong. A Doebele rebounded a missed Loper shot and then scored at the other end, making it 51-44 with 6:12 to play.
Simental, finishing with five points and five assists, responded with her only three of the game soon after. Three minutes later WU got jumper in the lane to get it down to seven again, 57-50, with Law putting down the Law. She made back-to-back buckets, including her second triple on the day, that finished the game’s scoring.
“When we were up 19 in the third with six to go we thought we were in control. I felt like we probably could’ve put it away there if we had three or four good possessions,” Eighmey said. “Unfortunately, we kind of let them back in it and it turned into a game in the fourth.”
UNK was plus five on the glass, got 29 bench points and sent WU to the line only twice. Elkhorn junior post Brooke Carlson was busy early and finished with a team-best 13 points with Iowa junior wing Maegan Holt at 12 points on 5 of 8 shooting. Law tallied a career-best 13 points in 23 minutes, sinking 5 of 10 shots while also having two steals and two boards.
“Trinity’s playing well for us and has great burst.. She’s not afraid of those big moments and defensively she gave us some really good energy. She had a couple of deflections and steals that were big,” Eighmey said.
Doebele had 10 of her 12 points in the second half. WU also got seven points, six rebounds and three steals from senior guard Hunter Bentley. UNK hosts rival Fort Hays State (0-0) on Dec. 5. The Tigers had games vs. WU and Emporia State this weekend postponed.
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Kearney, Neb. – Six-nine junior post Johnny Clausing scored a career-high 25 points and pulled down seven rebounds to help Washburn defeat Nebraska-Kearney, 73-62, Saturday evening at the Health & Sports Center. The Ichabods improve to 2-0 while the Lopers, still down three starters, fall to 0-2. Kearney should be at full strength for its next game, a Dec. 5 home tilt against rival Fort Hays State (0-2).
Coming off a last second win at Hays, the ‘Bods went inside early and often to Clausing (220 lbs.) and reserve Jace Williams (6-5, 235 lbs.). Clausing reached his career-night by making 10 of 14 shots and sinking five free throws with Williams providing four points and five boards. Overall Washburn outscored UNK 50-22 in the paint and was plus five on the glass.
“You have a team picked third in the league with three really good perimeter players and one really strong guy inside. They got out and got after us in the first half with even more intensity defensively than we faced Thursday,” UNK head coach Kevin Lofton said. “They took things that we’ve been working on all preseason long and made us look like we hadn’t done anything. That’s what good defensive teams do when they are putting pressure on you.”
Like in Thursday’s loss to Emporia State the Lopers fell behind early but came out of the halftime locker room strong and won the second half. UNK whittled down a 19-point deficit to a 44-35 score with just over 13 minutes to play. The seven-minute spurt featured seven straight points by New Zealand wing Matt Brien and threes from Utah junior Darrian Nebeker and Texas senior guard RJ Pair.
“Halftime we regrouped and simplified some things. It got a little bit better but obviously we have a lot work to do based on what we’ve seen a top three team do,” Lofton said.
However, WU responded with a 13-6 stretch that saw six different players score. UNK didn’t get closer than 11 the rest of the way as it ended the night shooting 37% (20 of 53) from the field and 58% (14 of 24) at the line. The ‘Bods did miss nine free throws but took advantage of 19 Loper turnovers and almost made half its shots (29 of 62).
“They hit 14 threes Thursday at Hays and I didn’t want to start doubling (the post) and getting us in a rotation where they could get those kind of good looks,” Lofton said. “We took our medicine and hopefully we’ll grow from it.”
Besides the inside work, guards Tyler Geiman (13) and Drew Maschoff (16) scored in double digits for WU with Geiman also at eight dimes and two steals.
For UNK, Nebeker (17 & eight) and Bellevue sophomore southpaw (15 & seven) both got close to double doubles. The combined for nine made shots with each sinking five freebies. Finally, Wahoo sophomore Winston Cook came off the bench to tally nine points and four boards in 23 minutes.