Lincoln Withstands Late Rally, Wins Third-Straight Game Over Nebraska Kearney

By Dan Carr, Assistant AD for Media Relations Lincoln (MO)


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Lincoln men’s basketball team withstood a second half rally by Nebraska Kearney to win its third-straight game, 78-65, on Saturday afternoon (Dec. 31).

Sai Witt and Kevin Kone each tallied double-doubles, and Artese Stapleton provided 17 points, seven rebounds and two assists as Lincoln improved to 7-2 overall and 3-2 in the MIAA. Witt led the Blue Tigers with 19 points and pulled down 11 rebounds while dishing two assists and notching a pair of steals. Kone, meanwhile, had a team-high 17 rebounds to go with 13 points, two assists and a steal.

Lincoln had a 44-29 lead at halftime and took a 20-point advantage early in the second half, but Nebraska Kearney (2-10, 0-6 MIAA) made seven shots from three-point range to get back in the contest. After Kone converted an old-fashioned three-point play to make the score 63-49, UNK hit a trey, got a quick rebound and made a layup to pull within nine with 6:27 remaining in the game. Later in the half, with just under 4:30 on the clok, another three-pointer helped the Lopers pull to within 67-59.

A pair of free throws by DJ Richardson, who ended the day with eight points, a steal and a block, put Lincoln back on top by 10. Stapleton then scored four unanswered points, and the LU lead never dipped under 11 the rest of the way. The Blue Tigers shot .413 from the field and finished with a 49-30 advantage on the glass, with LU scoring 16 points on second chance opportunities.

Emmette Page provided six points, five boards, an assist and a steal to the Lincoln cause, and Franck Yetna and Jamar Madge, Jr. each tallied five points and two rebounds, with Yetna also blocking a shot. Sam Rautins closed out Lincoln with three points.

The Blue Tigers will open the 2023 portion of its season on Monday (Jan. 2) by hosting Fort Hays State at 3:00 p.m. CST.

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A lifelong sports fan and follower of HBCUs, Willie Alexander Hines is an expert on any sport with tremendous recall of history and newsmakers.