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Loper confidence grows despite slow start

UNK men's basketball players work on dribbling drills, Nov. 1, 2017 (KHGI)

The Loper men began the 2017-18 season by putting one in the win column against Wayne State.

The same success did not follow over the next two weeks as Kevin Lofton's squad dropped five of six games.

"We haven't really had any easy games, so every game we go into we know it's going to be tough," said senior Trey Lansman.

Even in the midst of a slump, the Lopers kept their heads up and stayed mentally tough. Now a positive mindset is paying off as UNK enters Thursday's contest with Emporia State on a three game winning streak, two of those wins coming in down to the wire fashion.

"I just feel like we're confident in each other that we can pull those games out no matter how close they are or how good the other team is. We can pull those games out when we need to," says Lansman, who won the MIAA Player of the Week honor earlier this week.

It took overtime to beat Pittsburg State and two days later, Yashua Trent's 3–pointer with 0.6 seconds left gave the Lopers an 82–79 win over Missouri Southern.

The close calls serving as a much needed boost in an ultra–competitive MIAA.

"For one," said Lofton, "it's the start of the conference season and so to start 2–0 is a huge confidence boost. That's our 3rd win a row. Anytime you can string a few together it's going to help the players be more confident in what they're doing on both ends of the floor, and also for chemistry reasons, so it's huge for our program."

UNK's (2–0 MIAA, 5-5 Overall) start in league play puts the Lopers in a three way tie for first place with Fort Hays State and Northwest Missouri.

Thursday's tip at Emporia, Kans. is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT.

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