Kearney, Neb. – The 10th-ranked Southern Nazarene Crimson Storm came out strong and then held off Nebraska-Kearney in the second half to win 88-69 Friday night in Bethany, Okla.
The game was a part of the GAC/MIAA Central Regional Challenge. UNK faces another GAC (Great American Conference) opponent tomorrow afternoon in the Oklahoma Baptist Bison. OBU fell to Washburn in the early game, 99-96.
SNU went 27-3 last year in winning the GAC regular season and tournament titles. Reaching the NCAA Tournament, they return most of its roster from that talented squad. That includes reigning GAC Player of the Year Jhonathan Dunn who went for 24 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals tonight. The 6-4 junior wing made 8 of 14 shots (3 of 8 threes) and 5 of 7 free throws. Next, 6-11, 250 pound center Noah Starkey tallied 20 points, 11 rebounds (five offensive), three assists and two blocks.
Going 12 of 27 from downtown and having a plus 14 rebounding margin, SNU got out to a 27-15 lead midway through the first half. Ahead by 21 points six minutes later, UNK closed on an 18-9 run that featured threes by three different true freshmen; Parker Badding (Carroll, Ia.), Kanon Koster (Kearney H.S.) and Henry Penner (Aurora).
The Crimson Strom moved ahead by 16 points, 63-47, four minutes into the second half but the young Lopers came back once more. A 10-1 run ended after a three by senior forward Carter Burns (Ankney, Ia.). He ended the night with 16 points on 6 of 8 shooting (3 of 5 threes).
UNK was still down seven, 69-62, with 7:37 left before SNU erupted and went on a 17-3 run to ice things. The Lopers missed three free throws and four field goals during this closing stretch while Dunn had a dunk and a triple.
Besides Burns, Koster led Kearney with 17 points on 7 of 17 shooting (2 of 4 threes). He played 32 minutes and also added five defensive rebounds. Next, fellow startersAJ Jackson (Bellevue West) and Sam Morris (Lincoln SE) had 10 points apiece and combined for 10 rebounds. Finally, Badding and Penner combined for 15 points on four made treys.
Kearney, Neb. – The Minnesota-Crookston Golden Eagles had four starters in double digits, including two posting double doubles, to hold off Nebraska-Kearney, 71-59,Friday night in Wayne.
This was the season opener for both teams and the first-ever meeting between UMC and UNK in women’s basketball. The Golden Eagles are a member of the NSIC(Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference).
Last season the Lopers had a series of second half and four quarter comebacks to post a 21-7 record. UNK almost did that again as they opened up the fourth quarter on a 13-4 run. A layup by freshman Shiloh McCool (Pleasant Hill, Ia.) cut the Crookston lead to six, 55-49, with 3:29 to play.
About a minute later it was a 59-53 deficit after a layup by sophomore Kelsey Sanger (Crofton). However, UMC scored the next five points and then sunk 7 of 8 free throws in the final 33 seconds to secure the W.
Both teams shot 36 percent from the field and grabbed 43 rebounds (10 offensive). UMC’s advantage came at the line, 19 of 28, and three point line, 8 of 26. UNK missed all 11 of its threes and sunk 11 of 18 freebies.
Fifth-year senior post Isieoma Odor led the Golden Eagles with 16 points, 10 rebounds (three offensive) and three blocks with sophomore guard Abby Guidinger at a team-best 19 points. She was 5 of 5 from the line and sunk two triples while also grabbing 11 boards (nine defensive).
McCool also recorded a double double, going for 17 points and 11 caroms (eight defensive). She was 7 of 14 from the field and 3 of 4 from the lilne. Playing a team-best 36 minutes, McCool also had two of UNK’s five blocks. Next, Elkhorn freshman post Brooke Carlson was one reason Kearney scored 44 of its points in the paint. In 25 minutes off the bench she had 14 points on 7 of 10 shooting. She added six boards (three offensive) and two blocks as well. Finally, Sanger had six points, six boards and three assists.
UNK battles Wayne State Saturday night. The Wildcats handed Northwest Missouri State a 75-58 loss in the late game tonight.