SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The Omaha men’s basketball team saw its championship hopes slip away Tuesday night, falling 73-63 to North Dakota State in the Summit League final at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.
NDSU, which improves to 18-15 (9-7 Summit League), advances to the NCAA Tournament with the league’s automatic bid.
Leaders for Omaha
Matt Pile collected his team-leading ninth double-double of the year on 12 points and a game-best 14 rebounds with 6-of-12 shooting.
Mitch Hahn scored a team-high 16 points with seven rebounds, and Zach Jackson added 15 points with three 3-pointers. KJ Robinson finished with 11 points, five rebounds and a team-leading three assists.
Leaders for North Dakota State
Vinnie Shahid led all scorers with 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Tyson Ward had 15 points and a team-high seven boards, and Cameron Hunter hit 3-of-3 from long range en route to 12 points off the bench.
Omaha shot .421 (24-of-57) from the field, .444 (8-of-18) from three and .636 (7-of-11) at the line. NDSU finished at .472 (25-of-53) from the floor, .417 (10-of-24) from distance and .867 (13-of-15) at the stripe. The two teams matched each other on the glass, 33-33, and Omaha had a 5-3 advantage in blocked shots.
Inside the First Half
NDSU stifled Omaha late in the first half, as the Mavericks went without a field goal for the final 6:42. The Bison, who hit 7-of-14 from deep to start, used a 12-2 run to end the half, building a 41-27 advantage by the break.
Inside the Second Half
Omaha rallied out of the gate in the second stanza, as a 12-2 run cut the Bison lead to 43-39 by the first media timeout. NDSU retaliated with eight straight points, but the Mavericks surged again behind seven straight points from Hahn to spark a 12-0 run. A putback from Pile locked it at 51-51 with 8:37 left.
Omaha pulled no closer than six in the final stretch, however, as the Mavericks were held without a field goal for more than six minutes after Pile’s equalizer.
Shahid scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half, hitting 6-of-8 with two threes and 6-of-7 at the line to lead the Bison.
Noting Tonight’s Game
-Omaha, which achieved its highest seed since joining the league, concludes tournament play with a record of 21-11 (13-3 Summit League).
–Zach Jackson and Mitch Hahn, both first-team All-Summit selections in their senior campaigns, were both named to the Summit League Championship All-Tournament Team, joining Tournament MVP Vinnie Shahid and Tyson Ward of North Dakota State and Purdue Fort Wayne’s John Konchar.
-Omaha’s 21 wins and 13 league wins both mark Division I program records.
-Jackson moved up to fourth in program history for career scoring (1,570 points).
-Tonight was Omaha’s second Summit League Championship Final appearance in three seasons.