Doane Upends No. 15 Nebraska-Kearney
The Tigers (3-1) rallied late to defeat NCAA Division II No. 15 University of Nebraska-Kearney (0-1) 71-68 in Kearney on Wednesday evening.
Doane fell behind 25-16 with 9:25 left in the first half before going on a 9-0 run over the next 3:24 to bring the game to a 25-25 tie with 6:01 left. The Tigers ran off three more points to complete a 12-0 run that gave Doane a three point lead with 5:06 left in the first half.
Doane ended the final five minutes of play by out-scoring the UNK 11-6 to take an eight point lead (39-31) into halftime.
The two teams battled back and forth for much of the second half. In the first 12 minutes, UNK pulled within four points twice only to have Doane take the lead back up to 10.
With the Tigers leading by nine points with 6:40 remaining, UNK went on an 8-0 run to pull within one point with 4:09 left in the game.
Over the next 1:33 the Tigers converted four free throws to counter one UNK basket. UNK eventually tied the game at 67-67 with 1:23 left on a Dusty Jura lay-up. Jura was fouled on the play and converted the free throw to give the Lopers a one point lead.
Doane came back and Brent Cole drew a foul and made both free throws to give the Tigers the lead back, 69-68 with 55 seconds remaining.
After two missed jumpers by the Lopers, Dane Cruz was sent to the charity stripe to try and add to the lead. Cruz missed both attempts but UNK went down to their end of the court and missed another jumper. Cole got the rebound and converted both free throws to give the Tigers a 71-68 lead with 19 second left.
UNK called a timeout to set up a play that led to James Lane attempting a three-point basket. His shot was off-line and the Tigers went to the free throw line one more time. However, Cole was unable to convert either attempt, leaving the Tigers with a three point lead and UNK with the ball.
The Lopers last attempt was off and Doane won for the first time in Kearney since a 93-85 victory on January 9, 1982.
The loss also snapped a 24-game win streak UNK held over NAIA opponents at home. Their last home loss to an NAIA school was in 1996 against Hastings.
The win also marked the first time Doane had defeated UNK in back-to-back seasons since they pulled the trifecta with home wins in 1988-89 to 1990-91.
Brent Cole led all scorers with 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the floor. Dane Cruz added 15 points and Tyler Cyboron came off the bench to add nine. Cole also led the Tigers with six rebounds.
UNK was led by Dusty Jura's double-double, 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Doane will now turn their attention to conference play as they open up with Concordia at home on Saturday, November 18. Tip-off is set for 4:00 pm. Concordia ended the Tigers' season last year with a win in the conference tournament.