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The Antelope

The Antelope

Men’s basketball ends season struggling offensively

Sean Evans makes a tough contest on a Fort Hays shot. Photo by Shelby Berglund / Antelope Staff 

The Loper men’s basketball team had their senior night on Saturday against Fort Hays State. UNK played excellent defense but fell to the Tigers, 45-42. 

It was the Lopers fourth loss by one possession this season.

“I feel like our kids competed,” Lofton said. “I thought we executed our defensive gameplan and we were just a play or two away there at the end.”

The Lopers struggled to score the basketball against a physical Fort Hays team. UNK turned to an isolation gameplan in the first half, especially when senior Darrian Nebeker had the ball in his hands. Nebeker went 4-12 from the field in the game.

Going into the half, the Lopers had just 15 points. 

“We struggled offensively in the first half,” Lofton said. “We could not find a basket and that made it hard.” 

The men’s team also struggled to hang onto the ball and had 14 turnovers, while the Tigers had just three giveaways. However, the Lopers still had a chance to win the game in the end. 

After Lofton took a timeout, the Lopers needed a 3-pointer to tie the game and send it to overtime with just seconds left. UNK attempted a double stagger screen for Sean Evans on the perimeter, but the play was well-defended. 

Unable to make the pass, Nebeker tried to make one last senior memory by hoisting up a prayer at the buzzer. The ball was tipped by Fort Hays, and the ball landed well short. 

“We were trying to get Darrian the ball on that one obviously,” Lofton said, “The defender made a good play on it, and that was pretty much it.”

Last Thursday night, the Lopers also had a makeup game at Missouri Western State. The game was previously postponed due to Covid-19 issues within the Griffons’ program. 

The Lopers lost, 83-78. 

Darrian Nebeker shot 13-22 from the field and ended the game with 30 points. Nebeker played all 40 minutes of the game. The Lopers led at the half 38-29 while shooting 46% from beyond the arc. However, the hot shooting didn’t last, and the Lopers shot 26% from beyond the arc in the second half. Additionally, they gave up 44 points in the paint to the Griffons. 

Nebeker has played his last game as a Loper, capping off a successful career.

“When you look at the caliber of person he is, caliber of player he is, scoring 3,000 points in three years, that’s pretty hard to do,” Lofton said. “It’s pretty special.”

With their final record of 3-19 in the MIAA, the Lopers did not qualify for the MIAA Conference Tournament, ending their season. 

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