DENVER — The Omaha men’s basketball team moved one step closer to clinching a spot in the Summit League Tournament Friday night, defeating Denver 80-76 at Hamilton Gymnasium behind Ayo Akinwole’s career-high 32-point performance.
The Mavericks and Pioneers entered the weekend with identical 1-11 Summit League records. A sweep of the series locks Omaha into a No. 8 seed for the league tournament. In the case of a weekend split, the tiebreaker would come down to the team with the higher NET ranking, which would officially be released after the conclusion of the final regular-season games.
Leaders for Omaha
Akinwole put the Mavericks on his back, pouring in his career-best 32 points on 10-of-16 shooting with six 3-pointers. The senior was a perfect 6-of-6 at the line and grabbed eight rebounds.
La’Mel Robinson also exploded for 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting and added three rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Matt Pile joined them in double figures with 12 points on a 6-of-8 night, narrowly missing a double-double with nine rebounds, a pair of assists and two blocks.
Leaders for Denver
Jase Townsend led the Pioneers with 18 points and five assists, while Sam Hines Jr. added 15 points and seven rebounds. Koby Lam rounded it out with 13 points on four triples.
Omaha shot 50.0% (29-of-58) to Denver’s 42.3% (30-of-71) and outrebounded DU 38-32. Akinwole accounted for six of the Mavericks’ eight threes. The Pioneers hit 10 triples for the night.
Omaha also finished at an 82.4% (14-of-17) clip at the stripe, while Denver was just 46.2% (6-of-13).
Inside the First Half
The Mavericks opened the game to a 16-4 edge, and a Jadin Booth trey gave them a 12-point advantage at 13:54. Omaha was 7-of-14 from deep as a team in the first 20 minutes.
Akinwole was the spark from the start, as he had 11 points in the first five minutes. The senior’s 21 first-half points came on 7-of-9 shooting, including 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. Robinson added another 16 points and two steals, hitting 6-of-9.
Omaha, which led by as many as 13 in the half, took a 51-44 lead into the locker room at the midway point.
Inside the Second Half
Denver battled back in the second half, as a 17-0 Pioneer run spotted them a nine-point lead at 64-55.
But Omaha countered with a 10-0 run of its own from Pile, Akinwole and Marco Smith to regain the lead and go up 69-66.
Hines Jr. hit back-to-back buckets to put DU ahead 72-71, but another Akinwole triple pushed it in Omaha’s favor again at 74-72.
DU managed to pull within two late after a Hines Jr. tip-in with 11 seconds to go, but it was Akinwole who stepped up to drill a pair of free throws that sealed the win at 80-76.
Noting Tonight’s Game
–Ayo Akinwole extended his double-figure scoring streak to seven games.
-Akinwole is a perfect 17-of-17 at the free throw line since Feb. 13.
-Tonight’s win improves Omaha to 4-19 (2-11 Summit League), while Denver drops to 2-18 (1-12).
Omaha and Denver conclude the regular season on Saturday, Feb. 27, with tipoff set for 5 p.m. CT at Hamilton Gymnasium.
DENVER, Colo. – The Omaha women’s basketball team fell 94-82 at Denver on Friday afternoon at Hamilton Gymnasium in Denver, Colo.
The loss drops the Mavericks to 4-12 (3-8 Summit League) on the season while the Pioneers move to 7-14 (5-8).
Claire Killian scored 15 points and shot 4-of-9 from three-point range while Sophie Johnston tallied 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Sarah Schmitt also scored 10 points to go with seven boards.
Leaders for Denver
Meghan Boyd had a game-high 31 points with five treys and a perfect 12-of-12 shooting clip from the free throw line. Tsimba Malonga scored 22 points and pulled in six rebounds while shooting 5-of-10 from three-point range.
Omaha shot 52.4% (33-of-63) to Denver’s 46.7% (28-of-60). The Mavericks assisted on 19 of 33 field goals and shot 9-of-22 from three-point range and 7-of-11 at the charity stripe. The Pioneers knocked down 15 treys while shooting 46.9 percent from beyond the arc and 23-of-24 from the free throw line.
Inside the First Quarter
Filer gave the Mavericks a 10-9 lead on a pair of free throws before Denver went off on a 10-3 run to grab a 19-13 advantage. Sarah Schmitt’s layup and a three by Johnston tied it up at 24 before the Pioneers got a trey by Malonga with a second left on the clock.
Inside the Second Quarter
A three-pointer by Johnston and layups from Pilakouta, Filer and Johnston brought Omaha back from a 27-29 deficit to ahead 38-37 with 4:05 left. Three straight layups by Pilakouta led the Mavericks to a 46-44 lead with 1:47 remaining until a Denver trey with six seconds left sent the Pioneers into the half with a 47-46 advantage.
Inside the Third Quarter
An old-fashioned three-point play from Filer tied the game at 62 before Denver responded with five consecutive points to snag a 67-62 advantage. Trailing by six, Johnston scored a layup with three seconds remaining to bring the Mavericks within 71-67 after three quarters.
Inside the Fourth Quarter
Leading 76-71 with 8:59 left, Denver went on a 9-0 run over the next four minutes to stretch the lead to 85-71 with 5:15 remaining. A trey from Killian and layups by Schmitt and Pilakouta brought the Mavericks within 88-80 with 1:59 left in the game. The Pioneers went a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line in the final 1:21 to clinch the 94-82 victory.
Omaha plays its regular-season finale at Denver tomorrow. Tipoff between the Mavericks and Pioneers is set for 2 p.m.