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Kearney, Neb. – Senior forwards AJ Jackson and Morgan Soucie had big efforts and Nebraska-Kearney was sharp at the line in the second half to beat Central Oklahoma, 66-49, Thursday night at the Health & Sports Center.

The Lopers (13-8, 7-5) stop a three-game losing streak and beat the Bronchos (7-16, 4-10) for just the fifth time in 18 all-time meetings. This was UCO's seventh straight loss with the rematch set for later this month in Edmond.

Against a deep, athletic and long UCO squad, UNK fell behind 24-15 by the seven minute mark of the first half. The 'Chos made 13 of 27 shots (48.9%) over the first 20 minutes but also went 3 of 7 at the line and committed six turnovers.

Down just 31-26 at the break the Lopers owned the second half to the tune of 40-18. UCO was only 5 of 26 from the field (19.2%) including a 1 of 10 effort from behind the arc. UNK didn't make a basket for a seven minute stretch but went 15 of 16 at the line to keep the lead in double figures. A couple of late dunks by Jackson (Bellevue West), after UNK had broken a full-court press, sealed the win.

"We saw some good things from the usual suspects in AJ and Morgan. You can't take those guys for granted," said Loper head coach Kevin Lofton. "It was nice to see Kyle (Juhl) knock a couple in and to see Jake (Walker) have a couple go there after battling the flu last week."

Plus four on the glass, making 21 of 28 free throws and connecting on 44% (20 of 45) of its field goals, UNK saw Soucie (Osawatomie , Kan.) record his third double double of the year with 18 points and 13 rebounds (10 defensive). He was 6 of 11 from the field and added four assists and two blocks. Next Jackson went for a game-high 21 points thanks to 7 of 10 shooting; he came into the week leading the MIAA in field goal percentage (61.9).

"With a losing streak confidence was a little shaky at the start but as the game wore on we stepped up and that was good to see," Lofton said. "They are as long and as athletic as any team we're going to face. We did a better job in the second half of dealing with the pick-and-roll … we did a better job of containing the dribble and also rotating once we did get beat. We had some key blocks around the basket."

Also for UNK Iowa senior forward Kyle Juhl had eight points, eight rebounds and five assists with Alliance junior forward Austin Luger recording eight points in 17 minutes off the bench. Finally Utah junior guard Jake Walker tallied seven points, five caroms and four assists.

"In the first half our free throw shooting was nonexistent (6 of 12). But in the second half we made a lot of key free throws down the stretch which we always preach is a big key to winning close games," Lofton said. "To be down five at halftime and come out the way we did, on both ends of the floor, it was definitely encouraging."

Twelve different 'Chos played with 6-6 reserve wing Justin Nimmer (16 points, five rebounds, two steals) the most effective. Seven others got into the scoring column as UCO finished 18 of 53 (34%) from the field.

UNK hosts league newcomer Newman (8-15, 2-12) on Saturday afternoon. The Jets lost tonight at Fort Hays State, 79-72.

Iowa City, Iowa - Nebraska hit less than 33 percent of its shots from the field, as No. 20 Iowa pulled away in a 76-60 women's basketball win over the Huskers on Thursday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

While Nebraska struggled to make open shots, Iowa hit 45.2 percent of its attempts from the floor, including 47.4 percent (9-19) from three-point range. The Huskers hit just 8-of-30 threes on the day, and just 22-of-67 field goals. 

Nebraska slipped to 15-8 overall and 5-7 in the Big Ten, while the Hawkeyes improved to 19-4 and 10-2 in the conference.

Husker sophomore Leigha Brown led the Big Red with 20 points off the bench, including 14 in the first half. Senior Hannah Whitish added 14 points and five assists. Kate Cain finished with 12 points, seven rebounds, five blocks and two steals.

Monika Czinano led Iowa with 23 points and eight boards, while senior point guard Kathleen Doyle added 15 points and 15 assists. Fellow senior Amanda Ollinger contributed a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Hawkeyes. Alexis Sevillian added 11 points, including a trio of threes.

In a possession game throughout the first half, Iowa took a 35-32 lead to halftime on a three-pointer by Doyle with 49 seconds left to close the scoring. Both teams struggled to score early before Iowa scored five straight points, but Nebraska answered with back-to-back three-pointers from Brown and Isabelle Bourne to give the Huskers a 6-5 lead. Iowa regained a 13-9 lead, but Brown scored four points in the final 1:06 of the first quarter to send the teams to the second period tied at 13.

Makenzie Meyer opened the second quarter with a three for Iowa, before the Huskers put together an 8-0 run capped by a Cain layup to give the Huskers a 21-16 lead with 7:02 left in the half. Cain and Brown combined to scored Nebraska's final 13 points of the half, but the Hawkeyes still went to the half with the lead. Brown led Nebraska with 14 points off the bench in the first half, while Cain added eight points and four rebounds.

In the half, Nebraska hit just 34.3 percent (12-35) of its shots from the field, including 4-of-13 threes (.308), while going 4-of-7 (.571) at the line. The Huskers won the first-half turnover battle 9-3, while Iowa out-rebounded NU, 22-20. The Hawkeyes shot a solid 48.4 percent (15-31), including 41.7 percent (5-12) from three-point range, but went 0-for-2 at the line. Czinano led Iowa with 14 points, while Alexis Sevillian contributed eight points, and Doyle pitched in five points and eight assists.

Iowa gained control in the third quarter, going 8-for-16 from the field and 2-for-4 from three-point range while hitting all four of its free throws. Doyle led Iowa in the quarter with seven points, while Czinano added six and McKenna Warnock contributed five points. The Hawkeyes outscored the Huskers 22-13 in the period, as the Big Red went just 5-for-15 from the floor, including 2-for-10 from long range.

Nebraska went to the fourth quarter trailing 57-45 and could not get closer than 10 points the rest of the way.

The Huskers return to Big Ten home action this Sunday when they take on No. 18 Indiana. Tip-off between Nebraska and the Hoosiers is set for 2 p.m on Play4Kay day at Pinnacle Bank Arena.


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