KEARNEY, Neb. — The University of Central Oklahoma men's basketball team defeated Nebraska Kearney 77-70 on Thursday night, getting their first win in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.
"I'm really proud of the guys tonight." UCO head coach Tom Hankins said. "They had good ball movement and shot really well. And obviously it's good to get that first conference win. We put ourselves in a tough spot, but we got a win tonight and I think that's going to help our team moving forward."
The Bronchos move to 8-6, 1-4 on their season.
Ashford Golden led the Bronchos with 19 points and nine rebounds. He went 8-for-15 from the field and 3-for-5 from 3-point range.
Adarius Avery added 15 points and nine rebounds. He led the team in assists, with six. Marquis Johnson had added 12 points.
UCO shot 51.7 percent from the field and 70 percent from the free-throw line. The Bronchos had 26 points from forced UNK turnovers. UCO defense forced 18 turnovers for the Lopers.
The Bronchos won the tip and moved the ball to then get a jumper from Avery to start out the game. With 15 minutes to go, UCO knocked down a big three from Golden and then their defense forced a UNK turnover and the Bronchos took it back down the court for another big three from Bell to make it 12-6, UCO.
They continued this run by dishing it to Avery on the low baseline, who then took it in for a layup and-1. Avery knocked down the free-throw and UCO had their biggest lead of the game, 15-6.
The Lopers answered though, knocking down threes on their end of the court. Both teams shot 50 percent from the 3-point line in the first half.
The second half went a lot like the first. The Bronchos came out this half, scoring the first bucket with a jumper from Alex Ogunseye. It was back and forth the whole game, but UCO kept the lead the entire time.
The Bronchos went on a 9-0 run with about nine minutes to go which forced a UNK time out to re-evaluate their defense.
With three minutes left, Cooper Clark knocked down a big three for UCO to put the Bronchos up 74-65. UNK wouldn't go away though. Kearney drove in the lane for a layup then caused a UCO turnover and then answered by knocking down a three to chip the UCO lead to four.
But the Bronchos put the game away soon after. The game was really over for UNK when UCO dished it to Avery at the top of the paint for a jumper to extend the UCO lead to six, 76-70, with 1:30 to play. The Lopers would then start fouling the Bronchos with just seconds left in the game. Central only made one free-throw down the stretch, but played well enough on defense to get the win.
The Bronchos are back in action on Saturday, Jan. 12 at 3:30 p.m. against Fort Hays State in Kansas. They will then have two home games next week. They will take on Pittsburg State on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 7:30 p.m. and Missouri Southern on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 3:30 p.m.