The men’s basketball team defeated Nebraska-Kearney in the first round of the 2020 MIAA Postseason Tournament in Kansas City on Wednesday, March 4 (79-76) but was defeated by Rogers State on Thursday, March 5 (69-71).
“Well…, in both games I thought we played pretty well,” Head coach Kim Anderson said. “It was great for our team…to be able to win the first game against Nebraska-Kearney. They were a team that was the seventh seed and we were the 10th seed. We were only the second team in the history of the tournament to be a 10th seed and win the first game. So, I was really proud of our guys, the way we competed and the way the guys played. Obviously, the next game against Rogers State, they were ranked 15th in the country and it went down to the last few seconds. They made a couple of free throws, I think, with two seconds left or something and we missed a shot at the buzzer to tie it or win it. So, I was really pleased with the way our guys played and we just continued to improve all the way to the end of the season.”
A few players stood out to Anderson during the tournament.
“I think you could really go down the list in the two games and everybody had their moments,” Anderson said. “I think A.J. Walker had a couple of pretty good games being our point guard. Jah-Kobe Womack played well. (He) didn’t shoot the ball great (during) the second game but was really good on defense. Marcel Cherry I thought played really well the second game. I think he had 15 points. Our two big guys I thought did a good job of working on the inside and… Rogers State had some bigger guys and our guys did a good job on that. Xavier Womack played well. He’s been playing a lot better over the last probably three weeks of the season. He gave us some good effort not only defensively but also offensively and especially on the offensive boards.”
The team has grown a lot over the course of the season, primarily in the last few weeks, according to Anderson.
“Well, I think we grew a lot,” Anderson said. “I think we grew a lot the last two or three weeks which is obviously encouraging but then also disappointing because then the season ends. But I really thought we did a good job of getting better towards the end. I thought our guys really executed a lot better and I think just maybe the chemistry got a lot better toward the end. We’re obviously disappointed I guess that we didn’t win more games, but I think that we’ve set a solid foundation. We have some young guys coming back and hopefully we’ve set a good foundation for the future and we’ll be able to go out and recruit some guys to help replace these four seniors.”
Two games during the season stick out in Anderson’s memory.
“…Well, two games (stand out to me),” Anderson said. “The game against Central Missouri that we won here at home at the end where we clinched a spot in the MIAA tournament and then the game against Nebraska-Kearney, the first game we played up there (in the tournament). I think our guys really played at a high level and those were probably two of the more memorable games for us for the year.”