OMAHA, Neb. — The Omaha men’s basketball team took down Western Illinois in its home finale Wednesday night, 77-63 at Baxter Arena. The Mavericks’ fifth straight win moves them into a tie for first place in the Summit League standings at 17-9 (11-2), while WIU drops to 8-18 (3-10) with its fifth consecutive loss.
Leaders for Omaha
All five starters scored in double figures for the ninth time this season, led by Zach Jackson’s game-high 21-point performance on 9-of-15 shooting with two 3-pointers. The senior grabbed three rebounds, dished out a game-best four assists and had two steals.
Leaders for Western Illinois
Brandon Gilbeck had a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double for WIU with three assists and three blocks. Kobe Webster scored a team-high 17 points, and C.J. Duff and Isaac Johnson had 13 points apiece.
Omaha shot .508 (32-of-63) as a team, bolstered by .579 (11-of-19) 3-point shooting. WIU finished at .433 (26-of-60) and .286 (6-of-21) from deep.
The Mavericks outrebounded the Leathernecks 33-31 and had a 17-0 advantage on fastbreak points. Omaha committed just six turnovers on the night, marking its fifth straight game with single-digit miscues and its 14th such performance this season.
Inside the First Half
A slow first half saw the Mavericks lead much of the way, building to a nine-point lead with an 8-0 run up to 16-7 with 12:26 to go. The Leathernecks managed to take a short lead at 30-29 with 55 seconds remaining after a 9-2 spurt, but a Pile dunk and a Robinson drive helped Omaha regain the lead by the break at 33-30.
Inside the Second Half
Omaha hit all of its first eight attempts from long range in the second half and was 13-of-16 from the field to start. Robinson opened up for 13 second-half points, hitting 5-of-6 from the floor and a perfect 3-of-3 behind the arc. He was flawless to start the second stanza, nailing 5-of-5 shots in the first eight minutes to ignite the Mavericks offensively.
Omaha took its largest advantage of the night at 66-45 on a Gibson triple — the Mavericks’ seventh three-ball of the half — with 9:35 left. WIU pulled no closer than 15 until a free throw with 32 seconds left brought the final tally to 77-63.
Noting Tonight’s Game
-Omaha’s 11 league wins are a Division I program record.
-The Mavericks are now tied for first in the league standings with South Dakota State.
–JT Gibson remains the only Maverick with at least one 3-pointer in all 26 games this season.
–Mitch Hahn extended his double-digit scoring streak to 16 games, the longest of any Maverick this year.
–Zach Jackson has scored at least 20 points in seven of the last eight games.
-Omaha has won 14 of its last 16 games.
-The Mavericks end their home slate on a six-game home winning streak. They went 10-2 at home this season, including 7-1 in Summit League play.
-Omaha leads the all-time series against Western Illinois 12-10 after sweeping the season series. It has six straight wins over WIU in the series.
-The Mavericks have a 6-2 advantage over WIU in Omaha since 2011-12 and have won six straight at home against the Leathernecks.
Omaha begins its final three-game road swing to conclude the regular season, visiting North Dakota State this Saturday, Feb. 23. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. at the Scheels Center in Fargo, N.D.