The men’s basketball teams played two road matches against Nebraska-Kearney and Fort Hays State. They won against Nebraska-Kearney (83-75) but lost to Fort Hays (61-71).
“Well I thought our game against Nebraska-Kearney we did a really good job of finishing the game,” said head coach Kim Anderson. “… I thought our guys did a great job of executing at the end. We got some big shots from Grant Lozoya (and) Donovan Franklin. We did a good job of forcing them into some turnovers. I think they had about 16 turnovers and we got 19 points off of that so that was critical for us. The Fort Hays games, we started off really well and then I think in the second half with five minutes to go I think the game was tied and I think we kind of lost our composure a little bit and they got a couple of buckets. I think we got a little bit out of character. We took some shots that probably were not the best ones and they were able to pull away at the end. It was a tie game with five minutes to go but I thought hopefully we learned from it and we can carry that over this week when we play Missouri Southern.”
Several players stood out to Anderson at these games.
“Well I think the usual guys (stood out),” Anderson said. “I think Grant Lozoya and Donovan Franklin were really good in the Nebraska-Kearney game. Christian Edmondson I think continues to just get better and better playing the post… He kind of became our starting center here about six or eight games ago when Trenton Clayton got hurt. He is really doing a great job of taking that over and (he does) a pretty good job defensively and he has been able to score around the basket. I think those guys probably stand out. Demetrius Levarity, I thought had a pretty good game against Kearney. (He) had 11 points and six rebounds. Obviously, we need to get those numbers again on Friday when we play Missouri Southern.”
According to Anderson, the team has grown over the course of the season.
“I think we have grown,” Anderson said. “I think the one thing that has been hard on us is we have had quite a few significant injuries. Our starting center got hurt… before the season started, he had a bad back. That was Ethan Steinbronn. He ended up having surgery. Then Trenton Clayton got hurt who because our starting center and he has missed the last six or eight games. Donovan Franklin missed three games a few weeks ago. So, we have had some injuries that we have had to overcome but I think our guys have continued to play hard and I think they have matured. But obviously we have been a little bit under size and that has hurt us in some games and definitely hurt us Saturday against Hays…”.
Anderson believes there were memorable moments during the season.
“I thought the way we played in the first 16 or 18 games was really good and then we kind of ran into a tough schedule,” Anderson said. “I remember Grant Lozoya making a half-court shot against Central Oklahoma. That was one if the highlights of the season. I think some of the games where we come back at the end and won. This has been a team that has been very competitive and been fun to coach… Wish we would have won more games, but we certainly improved our standing in the league from last year. We were eighth last year (and) we are sixth this year so hopefully we can continue to build on that.”
These past two games marked the official end of the regular season for basketball. The team will advance to the 2019 MIAA Post Season Tournament Friday, March 8. in a game against Missouri Southern in Kansas City, Missouri.