An exciting win over Pittsburg State on Saturday, 65-63, has to have this University of Nebraska Kearney team feeling good about the backstretch of the season. UNK has a record of 8-14 on the year, 3-10 in conference play, putting them last in the conference. The Conference Tournament in early March takes 10 of the 14 teams and for UNK, it may look bleak but the teams that sit 9th and 10th in the conference has a conference record of 5-8, so UNK would really need to start winning in these last six games and have a few losses from those teams as well.
For UNK, the opponent tonight is a tough one as Lincoln University is 16-6 on the season and 9-4 in the MIAA Conference. Lincoln most recently lost to Northwest Missouri State on Saturday, 75-57, but anyone who beats the Bearcats is going to have to play a near-perfect game against them. On the season, the Blue Tigers are scoring 77 points per game while allowing 72. This group is pretty efficient shooting 48% from the field and 41% from deep as well.
The straw that stirs this Blue Tiger offense is Third Team All-MIAA member Terrance Smith. Smith is having a fantastic senior campaign averaging 17 points per game along with seven rebounds as well. He will be a lot to handle for the Lopers but UNK has some defenders that will make life tough on him. Expect to see the likes of AJ Jackson, Kyle Juhl, and Sam Morris to defend Smith.
For UNK, the offense and defense has improved a ton. That win over Pittsburg State was huge as it builds confidence for this young team. In the most recent games, UNK has gotten more offense out of junior AJ Jackson which is encouraging because he hasn’t produced a lot of points for UNK. Jackson has done a lot of good things this season for the Lopers including rebounding and defending the opposing team’s best player. But with his offense coming around that is huge. He scored 17 against Pittsburg State and seven rebounds as well.
The Lopers and the Blue Tigers will tip-off tonight at 7:30 P.M. and pregame will start at 7:15 P.M. on 93.1 The River.