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The Antelope

Lopers hold out for win against Hardrockers

UNK basketball player driving to the hoop


The Nebraska-Kearney men’s basketball team came away with a 63-62 victory over South Dakota Mines despite giving up 11 of the final 13 points scored.

“I thought our guys came out and gave a good effort,” said Kevin Lofton, UNK head coach. “That was the best 35 minutes we’ve played all year. The last five we could’ve done a better job but if you go up and down the line, we had a lot of guys contribute.”

After going into halftime with a 33-25 deficit, the Hardrockers tied things up at 38. However, UNK would score the next six points and never trail

Leading 61-46 with 3:44 left to play, the Lopers appeared to enter cruise control and Mines cranked up the heat. Mines made six of its last eight shots while the Lopers missed four free throws and committed three turnovers in the final minutes to bring the ‘Rockers within striking distance. A free throw by junior guard RJ Pair with 32 seconds left gave UNK the final point they needed. Troy Brady hit a three-pointer at the buzzer that helped pull the Hardrockers to within one.

Points off turnovers and off the bench were the big difference-makers for the Lopers. UNK had 25 points off 16 turnovers compared to Mines’ seven points off of 11 turnovers, and the Lopers had 26 bench points compared to the Hardrockets 12.

“I feel like we played one of our best games all year besides the final few minutes. We all played really tough and were competitive on both ends,” said redshirt-junior guard/forward Sam Morris. “Coach preaches certain keys each game including defense, rebounding, limiting our turnovers, and just being a more competitive team, each night and I feel we did that on Friday.”

Morris with four points was one of ten different Lopers to score Friday evening. Redshirt-senior forward Morgan Soucie led the team with 17 points, followed by Pair with 10 points, and senior forward Kyle Juhl with eight points.

The Lopers went 25-54 from the field, 3-15 from behind the arc, and 10-17 on free throws. 

Leading the team in rebounds was junior forward Austin Luger with eight, followed by Soucie and Juhl with five each.

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