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The Antelope

The Antelope

Fouls snub Lopers’ chances

UNK Men’s Basketball Bench

Kearney outscored by average of 4 points in 5 conference losses

Austin Jacobsen

The Lopers never held a lead on Thursday night, falling 77-70 to the Bronchos of Central Oklahoma. 

Being back at home for the first time since Dec. 29, UNK and their star freshman were looking to get back into the win column with an energized crowd.

“It’s always fun to be able to play in front of friends and family,” said Kanon Koster, the 6-foot-4-inch freshman from Kearney. “Not having to travel and sleeping in your own bed is good, too.” 

What looked like a favorable matchup in the MIAA for both squads turned into a hotly contested battle after just a few minutes of play. UCO controlled the ball and the clock, taking their first lead of the game with 17:45 in the first half and never loosening their grip.

The Bronchos largest lead in the first half came with 14:35 left after a quick layup and foul from former Loyola Rambler Adarius Avery. After the 6’5” senior sunk his and-one free throw, UCO led 15-6. Avery finished the game with 15 points.

UNK kept the score close nearing halftime, trimming the deficit to 36-35 after back-to-back layups by senior AJ Jackson with 1:35 left to play in the first. The Lopers couldn’t keep the momentum rolling, as Marquis Jackson hit an open jumper followed by a contested three pointer. Kyle Juhl closed out the first half with a bucket to make the halftime score 41-37.

Coming out of the break, both teams traded baskets until the 10-minute mark where Koster hit a three pointer to cut the Broncho lead to three. Trouble arose as Koster received his fourth foul of the game on an offensive charge call, sending him to the bench.

“I made a few silly mistakes on my first few fouls,” said Koster. “Once I got into foul trouble they were looking to draw another one on me if they could.”

UCO proceeded to go on a 9-0 run, with Ashford Golden knocking down a jumper and attacking the rim for another bucket. The junior guard finished with 19 points. The Bronchos streak was ended by a Juhl jumper, making the score 68-60 with eight minutes left to play.

Austin Luger, the 6’8” sophomore from Alliance, stepped up in a big way with back-to-back buckets to cut the deficit to six. Luger was an integral part of the offense all night finishing with 14 points and seven rebounds, his highest offensive output since Dec. 9.

The Bronchos controlled the clock and handled their possessions well from then on, only allowing five points in the final five minutes of game action. 

UCO (8-6, 1-4) will travel back to Edmond with their first conference win under their belts. UNK (5-9, 0-5) has now lost all five conference matchups by a combined total of 20 points. 

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