Special to The Sun
KEARNEY, Neb. —
Josh Gibbs and Cal Andrews combined for 43 points to spark Central Oklahoma to an 85-75 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association victory over Nebraska-Kearney here Friday night.
Gibbs finished with a game-high 23 points and Andrews added a season-best 20 as the Bronchos won for the fifth time in their last six league road games. UCO improved to 8-11 on the season and 6-5 in the MIAA.
“It’s been a tough week with three road games in six days, but I thought our guys played with great effort tonight,” said head coach Terry Evans, whose team won at Emporia State Sunday before losing at Fort Hays State Wednesday. “We did a good job moving the ball around and we knocked down a lot of big shots.”
The Bronchos collected 23 assists on 31 made field goals and ended up shooting 44.0 percent (11-of-25) from 3-point range while also committing just nine turnovers.
Gibbs was 10-of-19 from the field with a pair of 3-pointers in his 23-point outing in addition to pulling down eight rebounds and handing out four assists. Andrews made 5-of-7 long-range shots in his 20-point performance.
UCO also got 12 points and 10 rebounds from Spencer Smith along with 11 points, five assists and four rebounds from Christian Huffman.
Gibbs had 14 points in helping stake the Bronchos to a 40-32 halftime lead and back-to-back fast-break dunks by Huffman helped push that to a 12-point advantage at 52-40 with 15:44 left to play.
UCO’s lead peaked at 14 (65-51) on a Seth Heckart trey at the 9:17 mark, with the Lopers coming back to make it a five-point game at 72-67 with 3:01 remaining. But the Bronchos responded, getting a fast-break layup from Andrews and two foul shots from Jamell Cormier to push the lead back to nine (76-67) at 1:51 and seal the verdict.
Gibbs put UCO in front to stay with 7:56 left in the opening half on a short jumper that made it 22-21 and Andrews had a pair of 3-pointers — adding a free throw after the second for a rare four-point play — as the Bronchos quickly pushed the lead to double digits at 36-25 before setting for the eight-point halftime cushion.
UCO returns home to host league leader Central Missouri at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Cold streak continues for UCO WOMEN
A late-game dry spell curtailed Central Oklahoma’s hopes of ending a lengthy losing streak here Friday night as the Bronchos fell to Nebraska-Kearney 72-60.
UCO trailed just 56-55 after Jill Bryan’s layup with 6:34 left to play, but the Bronchos missed their next seven shots and the Lopers scored 11 unanswered points to put the game away.
It was the ninth straight loss for UCO, which fell to 8-11 overall and 1-10 in its first season in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.
Bryan led the Bronchos with 15 points, hitting 6-of-10 shots with a pair of free throws while adding seven rebounds. Whitney Dunn had 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field.
UCO shot just 36.7 percent (22-of-60) from the field and made only 3-of-17 (17.6 percent) of its 3-point attempts. UNK also held a big 48-33 rebounding advantage.
The Bronchos led 32-31 at halftime and went up 34-31 eight seconds into the second half on two Britney Morgan free throws. The Lopers came back with an 8-1 run to take a 39-35 lead and went on to open up a 12-point cushion at 54-42.
UCO rallied to within 56-55 at the 6:34 mark as Bryan ended a 13-2 spurt with five straight points, but the Bronchos went cold after that and UNK took advantage.
Bryan had six points in the first two minutes of the game to help UCO grab a quick 8-5 lead and the first half was close most of the way, with the Bronchos taking their one-point halftime lead on Chelsi Dennis’ jumper with 33 seconds left.
UCO returns home next Thursday to continue MIAA play against Central Missouri.