The Roadrunners (5-2, 2-1 RMAC) now hold a 27-26 series lead over the Lopers (4-3, 2-1 RMAC). UNK had won in its last trip to Metro but is just 3-10 there since 2000.
In a game featuring nine ties and six lead changes, UNK held a two to five point lead most of the first half. This was one of the lowest scoring games in this series of late as the Lopers held a 27-25 lead at the break.
Metro started the second half strong, grabbing a 37-34 lead on a Quaran Johnson three with 14:50 to play. However, UNK responded with a 15-6 run over the next three minutes to grab its biggest lead of the night at 49-43. This spurt featured seven points from true freshman guard Tim Billingsley (Parker, Colo.).
The UNK lead was short lived as Metro went ahead 57-51 after a Glenn Miller put back layup at the 7:17 mark. The Lopers hung around, never allowing the ‘Runners lead to get bigger than six points.
A bucket by sophomore post Drew Sankey (Lincoln East) made it a two-point deficit, 63-61, with just two to play but Johnson quickly responded with his third and final three of the night to push the lead back to five.
Soon after, UNK had a chance to tie the game as Metro missed two free throws but a three from junior Chris Deans (Hemingford) misfired and the ‘Runners went 2 of 4 at the line to finish the game’s scoring.
Metro won the battle on the glass, 35-27, and also tallied 17 points off of 17 UNK turnovers. The Lopers did shoot a solid 48.9 percent (23 of 47) from the field and saw Metro go just 7 of 19 at the line.
The ‘Runners made up for its struggles at the charity stripe by sinking 7 of 18 threes (38.9 percent).
A 6-7, 241 lbs. sophomore, Morse made 9 of 10 shots from the field to score 22 points. Also pulling down eight rebounds, his strong play inside fouled out Loper freshman Mike Dentlinger (Millard North) in 23 minutes. Evans, a 6-4 junior wing, made 9 of 21 shots to score 21 points. He also had five of Metro’s 12 steals and three assists to boot. Finally, Johnson finished with 14 points on 3 of 6 three point shooting.
For UNK, Deans came off the bench to make 5 of 10 field goals and finish with a team-high 12 points. Billingsley had 11 points, a team-high six rebounds and two assists before fouling out late. Also, junior reserve post Beau Baker returned home to Denver to score eight points in 12 minutes.
UNK plays at Regis Saturday night.