EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — Matt Pile had a game-winning, two-handed jam in the waning seconds Saturday afternoon, giving the Omaha men’s basketball team a 65-63 road win over SIUE at First Community Arena. With the win, the Mavericks snapped a three-game losing skid and improved to 2-4 on the season, while the Cougars dropped to 2-3.
Leaders for Omaha
Ayo Akinwole led all scorers with 16 points with a pair of threes and a 4-of-4 effort at the free throw line. He added six rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Pile collected his first double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Leaders for SIUE
Mike Adewunmi led SIUE with 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Courtney Carter finished with 12 points of his own.
Omaha shot 44.9% (22-of-49) to SIUE’s 37.5% (21-of-56) and outrebounded the Cougars 40-30.
Inside the First Half
SIUE was 0-of-8 from the field to start while Omaha surged to a 7-0 edge by the first timeout and eventually stretched it to 10-2.
A three-point play by Pile gave the Mavericks a 30-14 advantage, and a pair of Robinson free throws later spotted them their largest lead of the day at 35-17. SIUE, which shot only 30%, managed a 7-0 run to end the half, cutting it to 35-24 by the break.
The Mavericks shot well in the first half, coming in at a 48% (12-of-25) with the help of eight points from Pile and another six from Akinwole.
Inside the Second Half
SIUE extended it to 16 unanswered points with the start of the second half, eventually tying the game at 36-36 on a Shamar Wright three. Omaha suffered a 1-of-10 spell early, and it remained close the rest of the way.
With 2:13 left and Omaha down three, an Akinwole jumper pulled the Mavericks within one. Marco Smith then came up big with a triple with 45 seconds left, knotting the game at 61-61. After drawing the foul from Adewunmi 18 seconds later, he drilled two at the line to make it 63-61 Omaha.
Adewunmi then hit two foul shots for SIUE to stall the game again at 63-63. But it was Pile who had the difference-maker, as he collected a pass from Smith with 1.4 seconds left for a two-handed dunk to give Omaha the win, 65-63.
Omaha travels to No. 7 Kansas on Friday, Dec. 11, with tipoff set for 6 p.m. at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan. The game will be televised on ESPN2, and Gary Sharp will have the radio call on 1180 Zone 2. Links to live video, audio and stats will be available on OMavs.com.