Wildcats blast Lopers
WAYNE — The 165th meeting between Wayne State and the University of Nebraska at Kearney was a blowout.
The Wildcat men’s basketball team went up by 16 in the first half and coasted to an 87-58 win here at Rice Auditorium Tuesday night to move to 5-1 on the young season. UNK dropped to 3-3.
“When their (WSC) bigs play this well, they’re a handful,” UNK coach Kevin Lofton said. “They played well here tonight — we did not.”
The Lopers have a hold on the overall series between the two schools, 90-75, but this night definitely belonged to the Wildcats.
Al’Tavius Jackson provided a spark off the bench for Wayne State with his defensive pressure and some timely shooting after Wayne State sputtered at the beginning of the contest.
“I was a little disappointed with the way we started,” Wayne State coach Jeff Kaminski said. “Tay (Jackson) gave us a lift; he did a great job off the bench. But we can’t start that way and expect to win every night.”
After trailing 18-14 with 12:16 left in the opening 20 minutes, Vance Janssen hit a three-pointer with 12:05 left in the half to bring the Wildcats back to within one. Janssen finished with a game-high 17 points and felt good about the victory.
“This was a fun game,” Janssen said. “It was an in-state rivalry and we wanted to put pressure on them early. We did that and kind of let them back in, but we closed the deal in the end — it felt very good.”
A jumper by Tony Bonner about 30 seconds later gave Wayne State its first lead and the Wildcats never trailed again.
Bonner hit another jumper inside to make it 21-18 for the ’Cats and then he hit his third straight for Wayne State to make it 23-20 after a dunk by UNK’s Weston Baker Magrath.
“We had some spurts where we played as good as we can play,” Kaminski said. “Then we had spurts where we didn’t defend and we didn’t move the ball offensively.”
One of the good spurts occurred after the Magrath dunk.
The Wildcats went on an 18-0 run, capped off by a couple of free throws from Kendall Jacks after being fouled on a defensive rebound. By the end of the half, Wayne State went into the locker room with a 45-29 advantage.
A bad spurt occurred to open the second 20 minutes when the Lopers crawled back to within a dozen with 15:56 left in the game and to within 10 some 40 seconds later after a Magrath layup.
But Janssen hit a jump shot in the paint for the Wildcats and then Nick Ferrarini scored on a layup to build the Wayne State lead back to 14 with 13:15 left. A Ferrarini three with 8:40 left made the lead 20, 65-45.
Four minutes later, Jacks hit a jumper to put WSC up 80-49 and the Wildcats coasted to the final horn.
“We had some very good and very bad moments tonight,” Kaminski said. “Thankfully, we had more good than bad. We just need to get more consistent — we’re on the right track.”
UNK 29 29 — 58
Wayne State 45 42 — 87
UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-KEARNEY (3-3): Chase Winchester 1 0-0 2; AJ Jackson 6 2-2 15; Weston Baker Magrath 3 0-1 6; Kyle Juhl 1 0-0 3; Kanon Koster 5 6-8 16; Parker Badding 2 0-0 5; Morgan Soucie 0 2-4 2; Austin Luger 1 0-0 2; Henry Penner 2 0-0 5; Carter Burns 1 0-0 2.
WAYNE STATE COLLEGE (5-1): Kendall Jacks 5 3-5 13; Trevin Joseph 2 0-0 4; Nick Ferarrini 5 0-0 12; Vance Janssen 7 2-2 17; Jordan Janssen 4 7-8 15; Al’Tavius Jackson 3 3-3 9; Ben Dentlinger 1 2-2 4; Luke TerHark 1 0-0 3; Tony Bonner 5 0-0 10.