Second-half comeback helps Lopers nip Wildcat men

Nebraska-Kearney outscored Wayne State 43-28 in the second half to erase a 10-point halftime deficit as the Lopers downed the Wildcats 71-66 Friday evening in the men’s college basketball season opener for both teams at the UNK Health and Sports Center in Kearney.

The Wildcats got off to a slow start, trailing 12-4 5:10 into the contest, but went on a 16-0 run over the next 6:30 to take a 20-12 lead at the 8:50 mark following a Trevin Joseph basket.     

Leading 20-16, the Wildcats reeled off seven straight points to take their first double-digit lead of the night at 27-16 on a fast-break layup from Brian Goodwin. The Wildcats held the lead for the rest of the first half, taking a 38-28 lead at intermission.

The game would turn into a tale of two halves.

After Wayne State shot over 50 percent in the first half (15-29) and UNK made just 33 percent on 8-of-24, the Lopers turned the tables on the Wildcats with 51.9 percent shooting in the second half (14-27) while Wayne State hit just 25.9 percent on 7-of-27 as UNK outscored the Wildcats 43-28 to rally for the five-point victory.

Wayne State maintained the lead for much of the second half until UNK took the lead for good with just over four minutes left in the contest.

UNK scored six straight points to force the first tie of the second half at 45-45 with 10:05 to play.

Goodwin hit a 3-pointer at the 6:43 mark to give Wayne State a 53-50 lead. Wayne State’s last lead came on a layup from Goodwin with 5:01 to play at 57-55.

Trevin Joseph hit a 3-pointer with 3:59 remaining to force the eighth and final tie of the game at 60-60. UNK then scored the next five points to take the lead for good at 65-60 and Wayne State never got closer than three the rest of the game.

Goodwin scored 17 points to pace Wayne State, going 6 of 9 from the field.  Kendall Jacks and Trevin Joseph also hit double figures with 11 and 10 points respectively. Trey Lansman poured in 29 points with 13 rebounds to lead Nebraska-Kearney. Lane Rohrich added 16 points with Yahsua Trent scoring 12.

Nebraska-Kearney out-rebounded Wayne State 38-32 after the Wildcats won the first half battle 22-12. Lansman led UNK with 13 boards while Jordan Cornelius had eight caroms for Wayne State. UNK held a 30-22 edge on points in the paint while Wayne State’s bench outscored the Lopers 27-9.

The same two teams meet again Sunday afternoon as Nebraska-Kearney travels to Wayne for a 3 p.m. contest at Rice Auditorium.

The Wayne Herald

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