By: Con Marshall
KEARNEY, Neb. -- November 17, 2021 -- Nebraska-Kearney shot 58 percent (29-50) from the field and Chadron State just 36.5 percent (23-63) as the Lopers cruised to a 79-58 victory during a men's non-conference, intrastate basketball game in Kearney on Wednesday night.
Kearney sank a pair of three-pointers to open the game, but Chadron State went ahead 15-12 on a three-pointer by CJ Jennings with just under 12 minutes remaining in the first half. However, that was the Eagles' only lead. They missed their next six shots and also turned the ball over twice, paving the way for Kearney to go on a 10-0 run and lead 22-15 with seven minutes still on the clock.
The Lopers were ahead 42-28 at halftime and the Eagles' chances of getting back in contention dissipated when they failed to score in the first 5 ½ of the second half. By then the Lopers had doubled the score to 56-28 and were on their way to their second victory in three games this season.
Neither team shot well from long range. After making their first two treys, Kearney finished just 4-of-15 from behind the arc and the Eagles were 4-of-19 after having sunk 20 of 38 of their three-point attempts while opening the season at home last weekend.
But the Lopers were on target with their two-point shots Wednesday night, connecting on 25 of 35 for 71.4%. The Eagles were 19 of 44 their two-point attempts for 43.1%, and made only half of their 16 free throws. UNK was 17-23 at the line.
The Lopers out-rebounded the Eagles 37-33. Chadron State had 17 turnovers and Kearney 18, including 13 that were the result of CSC steals.
David Simental and Winston Cook each had 14 points, Sean Evans 12 and Sean Murphy 10 to lead Kearney. Jennings and Mason Heimstra each scored 12 points and Tejuan Hale 10 for the Eagles.
Chadron State Coach Shane Paben said his team "didn't come out and compete," and gave up too many points on turnovers.
"We have some talent, but we also have to play hard," Paben stated.
The Eagles will play at the University of Sioux Falls on Friday night and host Haskell Indian Nations from Lawrence, Kan., on Sunday afternoon at 4:30 following a women's game at 2:30 between the Lady Eagles and Mount Marty College of Yankton, S.D.
It was announced Wednesday that UNK's home game with Colorado Mines scheduled for Saturday has been cancelled because of COVID issues affecting the Orediggers.