UNK MBB: King Scores 32 But Lopers Out Shot by Newman

University of Nebraska Kearney Lopers logo.

Kearney, Neb. – The Newman University Jets sunk 14 three pointers and had five score in double figures to win a shootout with Nebraska Kearney, 90-85, Saturday evening at the Health & Sports Center.

From Wichita, NU (7-15, 4-15) sweeps the season series from the Lopers for a second straight year.

The teams combined for 175 points thanks to a 65 of 129 effort (.503 pct.) from the field that included 24 of 59 shooting (.407 pct.) from behind the arc. The Jets were plus five on the glass with UNK making five more free throws and having three fewer turnovers.

"You can't give up 90 every night. You've got to find a way to get some stops and find a way to win your matchup every night," UNK interim head coach Antoine Young. "Against UCO on Thursday, I thought we took a step forward with our defensive intensity. Tonight, it seemed both teams were saying 'you take a shot, okay I'll take a shot' because no one was guarding anybody."

Newman led for nearly 34 minutes and by as many as nine points thanks to 10 first half threes and the play of veteran guard Stevie Strong in the second half. He had 17 points (6 of 7 field goals) and three assists after the break. His three-point play with 24 seconds left pushed the Jets lead to 88-83.

NU's 14 threes on 31 attempts came from five different players, often in the corner against the Loper zone. Guard Jacob Joe (5 of 9) and Strong (3 of 3) had the hottest hands.

"You can't give up threes to guys who shoot threes. When that happens, they usually hit them," said Young. "You have to find a way to stay in front of Strong. I know he's tough and can get downhill but other teams in our league that are no more athletic than we are seem to keep him in front."   

Junior lefty guard Taden King (Rexburg, Idaho) tallied a game-high 32 points to keep UNK in it. He finished 11 of 16 (6 of 9 threes) from the field and 4 of 4 at the line. Sitting the last seven minutes of the first half due to foul trouble, King also provided five boards and four assists. Finally, he had 16 points in the game's first four minutes.

"He's a good shooter and he's constantly in the gym. He's been struggling so it was good to see him finally get it going since he's works so hard," said Young.

Down 51-44 at the break, the Lopers started the half on a 22-11 run to retake the lead. Threes from King, super senior Winston Cook (Wahoo) and junior guard Miguel Robles (East L.A.) made it 66-62 at the 12:08 mark. However, NU scored the next five points and never trailed again.

Strong ended up with a team-high 25 points, seven assists, two steals and two boards with Joe (15) and reserve Latik Murphy (14) combing for 29 points. Next, reserve post Thomas Zevgaras almost had a double double (11 points, eight rebounds) while starting wing Sam Somerhalder did (11 points, 11 rebounds).

Besides King's heroics, freshman guard D'Aundre Samuels (Denver) made 7 of 8 shots and had an all-around stat line; 16 points, eight assists, five rebounds and three steals. Finally, Robles had 10 off the bench with junior forward Sean Murphy (New Zealand) at 11 points and five rebounds.

UNK heads to Central Missouri and Lincoln next weekend.