Rogers State men’s basketball picked up an important MIAA victory Friday night, defeating Nebraska-Kearney 66-60 at the Health and Sports Center.
The Hillcats snapped a two-game losing skid with the victory, as four Hillcats finished in double figures.
How It Happened: After Nebraska – Kearney took an early lead, the Hillcats tied the game at 5-5 before the Lopers went back in front. The hosts led a majority of the first half until Jett Sternberger hit a three pointer to tie the game at 18-18 with 6:54 remaining.
Joey Saracco then gave the Hillcats the lead with a layup, followed by a free throw in an old fashioned three-point play. The teams would trade the lead two more times in the first half before the Lopers broke a tie at the end of the first half with a layup and free throw to go up 31-28 at the break.
With the Hillcats first possession of the second half, Brewster Peacock hit a three pointer to tie the game at 31. Following a basket from the Lopers, Devin Pullum and Peacock sank free throws to go back in front.
After the lead changed twice more and then was tied twice, Rogers State went in front with a Darraja Parnell layup to begin a short 6-0 run to give the Hillcats there largest lead to that point.
The Lopers cut the deficit to two points, but the Hillcats then responded with a 7-0 run including another three pointer from Peacock to put RSU ahead 52-43.
Nebraska-Kearney kept the Hillcat lead from reaching double figures on multiple occasions in the final 10 minutes of the game, answering Hillcat runs with their own runs.
However, the Hillcats were able to answer points from the Lopers and Nebraska-Kearney could not close the gap to closer than four points as Rogers State was 6-for-6 from the line in the final 90 seconds to seal the victory.
Game Notes: After the worst shooting performance from the free-throw line this season in the last game (.688), Rogers State was nearly perfect from the line, shooting a season best .933 after going 14-for-15. The performance at the line is tied for the fourth-best in school history for a single game.
Rogers State shot 50 percent (24-for-48) from the floor in the game, just the second time on the season of at least 50 percent shooting.
The Hillcats scored 17 points off of 13 Lopers’ turnovers in the game. Nebraska-Kearney had just 11 points off of 12 Hillcat turnovers.
Players of Note: Peacock led all Hillcats in scoring, finishing with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor, including two three pointers. He also had a pair of assists and a rebound.
Sternberger also added a pair of three pointers and finished with 13 points. Sternberger added a season high three steals in the game and also chipped in with a pair of rebounds and assists.
Parnell finished 4-for-6 from the floor in the game and also added a pair of free throws to finish with 10 points. Parnell also had six rebounds and four assists.
Devin Pullum rounded out the double-digit scorers, adding 10 points. Pullum led all players in the game with six assists.
Saracco finished 80 percent from the floor in the game, going 4-for-5, along with a free throw to finish with nine points. Saracco added three rebounds and also had two blocked shots.
Destin Eke led the Hillcats on the glass, finishing with seven rebounds. He also had eight points.