PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. — The Omaha men’s basketball team staged a spirited second-half rally Sunday afternoon but ultimately came up short, falling 73-65 to Northern Arizona at the Findlay Toyota Center. The Mavericks are now 5-6 on the season, while the Lumberjacks improve to 4-2.
Leaders for Omaha
Matt Pile collected his third double-double of the year with 18 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, adding three assists, two steals and two blocks. The junior was 9-of-13 from the floor.
Leaders for Northern Arizona
Cameron Shelton had a game-high 20 points to lead NAU, and Ted McCree put up 17 in reserve. Bernie Andre had a double-double effort on 10 points and 13 rebounds off the bench, and Cameron Satterwhite added 10 more points – part of a 40-point bench effort for the Lumberjacks. Brooks DeBisschop pulled down 10 rebounds as well.
Omaha shot 42.6% (29-of-68) to Northern Arizona’s 47.5% (28-of-59). The Lumberjacks outrebounded Omaha 45-34.
Inside the First Half
A dismal first half saw Omaha shoot 38.5% (10-of-26) to NAU’s 55.9% (19-of-34). After a steal and a score by Ayo Akinwole put Omaha ahead 10-8, NAU exploded to outscore the Mavericks 37-10 over the next 12 minutes. Sixteen points from Shelton and another 10 from McCree spurred the NAU onslaught, and Omaha trailed 45-20 at the break.
Inside the Second Half
Sparked by back-to-back Akinwole threes, Omaha came out on fire for the first 11 points of the second half and cut the deficit to 45-31. Another 6-0 run — this time started by a Thornhill jam and capped with back-to-back buckets from Pile — trimmed it to 47-37 five minutes in. A KJ Robinson lay-in pulled the Mavericks within single digits at 58-50 with 10:42 to play.
A nearly five-minute scoring drought started at 7:21 and hampered the Mavericks in their final stretch. Omaha still managed to make it a four-point game at 69-65 after a Marlon Ruffin steal led to a Thornhill layup with 43 seconds left, but NAU made four of its six closing free throws to stave off a final Omaha comeback.
Pile finished with 12 points and 10 caroms in the final 20 minutes.
Noting Tonight’s Game
-Northern Arizona leads the all-time series with Omaha, 3-0.
-The Mavericks are 7-3 against Big Sky competition in the Division I era.
–JT Gibson remains the only Maverick to hit at least one three in all 11 games this season. KJ Robinson has at least one triple in all eight games he has played.
Omaha returns to action on Wednesday, Dec. 11, visiting nationally-ranked Arizona. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. CT at the McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz.