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UNK Men’s basketball wins second straight game

Lopers down Chadron State, 79-58
Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 12:52 AM CST
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - The Nebraska-Kearney men’s basketball team shot 58 percent from the field and got big efforts from forward Winston Cook and guard Parker Badding to fly past Chadron State, 79-58, Wednesday night at the Health & Sports Center.

This was the Lopers (2-1) home opener while the Eagles fall to (0-3). UNK is now 117-64 all-time against their long time rival.

UNK led nearly the entire way and by as many as 33 points. Kearney finished 29 of 50 from the field, 17 of 23 at the line and started the second half on a 14-0 run. That made it 56-28 and that was all she wrote.

“We’re just trying to play a little bit better each time out. We had three scrimmages and I thought we progressively got better throughout but we still have a long way to go, especially defensively,” said UNK head coach Kevin Lofton. “When we beat Minnesota-Crookston (last Saturday) our defense was good, we moved the ball, worked together and had a lot of really good basketball plays. We had even more in this one.”

A true junior, Cook (Wahoo) had his best game as a Loper. Over 25 minutes he supplied 14 points, eight rebounds, two steals and drew five fouls. He went 5 of 8 from the field, one of five Lopers to sink at least four field goals on the night. Finally, his point total is a new career-high and tied for the team-lead tonight. Starting point guard David Simental (Pueblo West, Colo.) hit five shots and four freebies as well as having four dimes.

“Defensively we were really solid for most of the game and I was pleased with the way we shared the basketball. We had a couple of nice backdoor layups, post players made cuts and guys made the extra pass to get it to them,” said Lofton. “Really pleased with Winston and the spark he gave us off the bench.”

A redshirt junior, Badding (Carroll, Ia.) came in with just over five minutes left in the half and UNK up 25-17. He was a big part of a closing 17-11 run as he scored eight points in less than two minutes. He sunk a three, converted a three-point play and turned a steal into a layup.

“It’s been a long time coming for Parker. He’s been playing well .. it started in the spring. He’s been working hard, had a great fall and just waiting for an opportunity,” said Lofton. “He took advantage of it.”

Also for the Lopers, New Zealand freshman forward Sean Murphy got close to a double double (10 points and eight boards) with Colorado freshman Sean Evans at 12 points and three rebounds. Finally, Utah senior forward Darrian Nebeker had eight points, eight rebounds and three assists.

Alliance native Mason Hiemstra and CJ Jennings scored 12 apiece to lead the Eagles.

UNK’s Saturday game vs. Colorado Mines has been canceled (COVID protocols) and will not be made up. Thus the Lopers start a five-game road swing at South Dakota Mines next Tuesday (Nov. 23).

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