The Lincoln men's basketball team strengthened its credentials for a postseason berth Thursday night with a 64-61 win against Nebraska-Kearney at Jason Gym.
The Blue Tigers never trailed after the game's opening five minutes. Jonell Burton made the free throw to cap a three-point play, giving Lincoln a 5-4 lead.
Marcel Burton hit a jump shot and Jonell Burton made a pair of free throws to stretch the Lincoln lead to 28-19, but Nebraska-Kearney closed the half on a 6-0 run with a pair of 3-pointers, cutting the Blue Tigers' lead to three at intermission.
The Lopers made two free throws to start the second half, making it a one-point game, but the Blue Tigers pushed the lead back to eight points at 40-32 shortly before the first media timeout of the half.
Jordan Notch hit a 3 to give Lincoln its largest lead of the game at 52-41 with about 10 minutes to play.
Nebraska-Kearney closed the gap to three points with about a minute to play. Marcel Burton hit 1-of-2 free throws and Alafia Oluwasogo added a layup in the closing seconds to secure the Lincoln win.
Jonell Burton had a team-high 17 points and Notch chipped in 14 points for Lincoln (9-14, 6-8 MIAA), which is alone in eighth place in the MIAA standings. The top 10 teams qualify for the MIAA Tournament.
L'Kielynn Taylor added game-highs 10 rebounds and five assists for the Blue Tigers.
AJ Jackson scored a game-high 19 points for Nebraska-Kearney (14-9, 8-6 MIAA), which is in sixth place in the conference.
The Lincoln women's basketball team dropped its 12th straight game, losing 60-52 to No. 25 Nebraska-Kearney to start the MIAA doubleheader.
The Blue Tigers held the lead for a majority of the first quarter, but Madison Dreckman hit a 3 late in the quarter to give Nebraska-Kearney a 12-10 after the first 10 minutes.
A rough second quarter proved to be a difference Thursday for Lincoln, which was outscored 17-9 to trail 29-19 at halftime.
The Lopers led by as many as 17 points in the third quarter, but the Blue Tigers closed the third quarter on a 13-3 run to trail 45-38 going into the fourth quarter.
Natasha Elliott knocked down a 3 with about a minute left to pull Lincoln within four points at 56-52. But the Blue Tigers missed their last four shots, allowing the Lopers to escape with the win.
Kaloni Pryear scored a game-high 21 points for Lincoln (3-20, 0-14 MIAA), while Vivian Chigbu had a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Haley Simental had a team-high 16 points for Nebraska-Kearney (23-2, 12-2 MIAA).
Lincoln will host Fort Hays State on Senior Day for its final home doubleheader Saturday. The women's game starts at 1 p.m., followed by the men's game at 3 p.m.