DENVER — The Omaha men’s basketball team swept its weekend series with an 80-76 win at Denver Saturday night at Hamilton Gymnasium, locking in the No. 8 seed for next week’s Summit League Tournament.
Leaders for Omaha
A balanced scoring attack saw all nine Mavericks contribute and five finish in double figures. Ayo Akinwole led the way with 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting, three rebounds and a team-best six assists.
Nick Ferrarini hit three 3-pointers en route to 13 points, and Matt Pile, La’Mel Robinson and Kyle Luedtke each added 12 points. Luedtke’s total was a career high, and Robinson also pulled down a team-leading seven rebounds.
Leaders for Denver
Jase Townsend paced Denver with a game-high 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting, and Robert Jones had a double-double on 13 points and 10 rebounds with five blocks.
Omaha shot 39.7% (23-of-58) to Denver’s 43.9% (25-of-57). The Mavericks hit six triples, all from the bench between Ferrarini and Luedtke.
Free throw shooting came up big for Omaha, which was 82.4% (28-of-34) from the stripe. Omaha and Denver each had 37 rebounds for the night.
Inside the First Half
The Mavericks didn’t score for the first three and a half minutes of the game, and Denver led by as many as seven before Omaha made its push. A 6-0 run punctuated with a Robinson layup tied it at 15-all.
Late in the half, Luedtke canned a pair of threes to put Omaha ahead 23-21. Denver was held scoreless for the last 2:13, and another short run — this time 5-0 — culminated with Ferrarini three at the buzzer to give the Mavericks a 30-24 advantage at the break.
Omaha shared the scoring duties, as five players had five or more points. Pile, despite playing just eight minutes with foul trouble, had seven points in the half.
Inside the Second Half
Akinwole paced the Mavericks with 11 points in the second half, finishing 3-of-5 from the field and a perfect 5-of-5 at the stripe.
Back-to-back buckets from Pile pushed the Omaha lead to 40-31 by four minutes in, but Denver responded with a 7-0 run. Ferrarini then hit a pair of threes to make it 50-42 before the under-12 media timeout.
DU managed to tie it at 54-54, then took the lead again at 59-58 on a Townsend three with seven minutes to play. The score stalled three more times up to 65-65, and Omaha finally regained the lead for good 67-66 after five straight points from Akinwole.
With 1:48 left, Luedtke nailed a triple from the left wing to spot the Mavericks a 72-70 lead. Free throw shooting was crucial in the second stanza, as Omaha was 25-of-29 from the line, including 6-of-8 in the final 33 seconds to finish it off.
Noting Tonight’s Game
–Ayo Akinwole has scored in double figures in eight consecutive games, and Pile has a double-figure effort in four straight.
-All nine Mavericks scored in the second half, contributing at least three points apiece.
-Tonight’s sweep of Denver marks the first time Omaha has won back-to-back games this season.
-The Mavericks improved to 5-19 (3-11 Summit League), while the Pioneers end the season at 2-19 (1-13).
Omaha awaits the release of the finalized bracket for the Summit League Tournament, set for March 6-9 at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D. As the No. 8 seed, the Mavericks will face the tournament’s top-seeded team in the quarterfinals on Saturday, March 6 at 5:45 p.m.
DENVER, Colo. – The Omaha women’s basketball team overcame a 10-point deficit with 7:37 left to grab an 80-75 road victory at Denver in the regular season finale on Saturday afternoon in Denver, Colo.
Omaha concludes the regular season with a 5-12 (4-8 Summit League) record while the Pioneers drop to 7-15 (5-9).
Leaders for Omaha
Elena Pilakouta led the Mavericks with a career-high 24 points while shooting 10-of-12 from the floor. Mariah Murdie had 18 points and four rebounds off the bench for Omaha while Josie Filer added 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Sophie Johnston shot four-of-six from the field to score 10 points with five rebounds and a pair of assists.
Leaders For Denver
Meghan Boyd paced the Pioneers with a game-high 24 points. Claire Gritt totaled 20 points, five rebounds and two assists and Tsimba Malonga had 13 points. Rounding out the Pioneers in double-figures, Uju Ezeuda posted 10 points with three rebounds.
Omaha shot 54.1% (33-of-61) to Denver’s 42.6% (23-of-54). The Mavericks outrebounded the Pioneers 35-30 while posting a dominant 52-16 advantage in points in the paint over Denver. The game featured six lead changes, two ties and the Pioneers held the lead for a total of 34:30.
Inside the First Quarter
Johnston buried a trey to give the Mavericks a 7-6 lead in the first two minutes before the Pioneers went off on a 14-2 run to grab a 20-9 lead with 4:18 left. Murdie and Pilakouta combined to score eight consecutive points for Omaha while Claire Killian’s jumper made it 23-20 with 1:18 left.
Inside the Second Quarter
A pair of Murdie buckets and a three-pointer from Lauren Frost brought Omaha within 32-30 before Denver expanded its lead to 42-34 with 2:31 remaining in the first half. Murdie scored a pair of buckets in the final two minutes to make it a 44-38 game at the half.
Inside the Third Quarter
Five straight points led Denver to an 11-point lead midway through the third quarter. Omaha got two points back, but the Pioneers and Mavericks exchanged points over the final half of the third to go into the final quarter with a 61-52 Denver lead.
Inside the Fourth Quarter
Trailing 67-57, Pilakouta and Filer scored layups while Killian connected on a trey to bring Omaha within three with 5:55 left. Filer converted on the old-fashioned three-point play to tie the game at 69 with 4:33 left and Johnston’s layup with 2:02 remaining gave the Mavericks a 73-71 lead.
With the Mavericks ahead 73-72, Pilakouta hit two free throws and scored on a layup 40 seconds later to grow the Omaha lead to 77-72 with 27 seconds left. The Pioneers got three points back on free throws with 14 seconds left while Juliana Chagas made two free throws with six seconds left to clinch the comeback victory.