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The Antelope

Lopers suffer loss in final minutes to Wayne State

Sean Murphy had six points in UNK’s loss to Wayne State. Photo by Kylie Schwab


After a back-and-forth battle, the Lopers took a 1-point lead versus Wayne State with over six minutes remaining. The closing minutes did not go in their favor, however, as Wayne finished the game on a 13-4 run to win 77-67. 

Now 2-3 on the season, each of UNK’s losses has come by 10 points or less.

“We just have to find a way,” said UNK coach Kevin Lofton. “Every loss we’ve had has been around that six-point mark and these guys it was by 10. We’ve been right there, and when you’re playing with sophomores, some of those turnovers come with sophomores in pressure positions that they’re not used to. You have to make a play and they’re just not there yet, but I think we can get them there.”

Turnovers and foul trouble had a major influence in the loss, with 17 turnovers and 21 total fouls by UNK. This resulted in 25 Wayne State free throw attempts and 21 points off turnovers. 

“They got to the foul line a lot more than we did and we turned it over a little bit too much,” Lofton said. “I think even down the stretch that was your basketball game.”

Darrian Nebeker led the Lopers in scoring with 18 points. 

While the team suffered the loss to Wayne on Saturday, they did get a win on Friday against Haskell Indian Nations, 94-87.

After going down 23-12 early, the Lopers stormed back with a 14-2 run to take a 26-25 lead. The two teams traded baskets until UNK took over and held its lead until the end. 

The Lopers were missing two key players, Ryder Kirsch and Sean Evans. 

“Two of our top three scorers were out, so obviously it’s going to be a little tighter than you want,” Lofton said. “When you’re going with a lineup that we hadn’t used all year, with your two best players out, it’s probably going to look a little ugly for a while.”

Others stepped up, with six players scoring in double figures. Tom Connelly led the way with 23 points. 

“I give our guys credit for standing up when we were a little shorthanded and guys that didn’t play a lot before this game finding a way to get out there, contribute and help us,” Lofton said.

UNK will be back in action Tuesday at Chadron State. The Lopers will be back at home on Dec. 1 versus Rogers State.

Darrian Nebeker attempts to shoot the ball over two Wayne State defenders.
Photo by Kylie Schwab
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