GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The Omaha men’s basketball team remained undefeated in Summit League play Wednesday night, weathering the storm to defeat North Dakota 66-62 at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. With their fourth straight win, the Mavericks improve to 10-8 (3-0 Summit League), while the Fighting Hawks drop to 8-9 (2-1).
Leaders for Omaha
The senior duo of KJ Robinson and JT Gibson led the way for Omaha, putting up an identical 17 points apiece. Robinson was 4-of-6 from deep off the bench and drained a late triple to put the Mavericks up four in the final minute.
Marlon Ruffin joined them in double figures with 10 points alongside seven rebounds.
Leaders for North Dakota
Marlon Stewart led all scorers with 22 points with four triples. De’Sean Allen-Eikens chipped in 14 points, and Billy Brown had another 12. Filip Rebraca was just shy of a double-double with nine points and 12 rebounds.
Omaha shot 42.6% (26-of-61) from the field to UND’s 34.5% (19-of-55), holding the Fighting Hawks under their league-leading 77.0 points per game. The Mavericks also outrebounded the Fighting Hawks 42-36, had a 30-22 advantage in the paint and an 11-6 edge in second-chance points.
Inside the First Half
A sluggish start saw the Mavericks trail for all but 4:49 in the first half, and three straight threes from Stewart made it 30-24 in favor of UND. But Robinson responded swiftly with his first of three threes in the closing four minutes, sparking a 15-2 offensive flurry that put the Mavericks up 39-32 at the break.
Robinson had 11 points in the opening act, while Gibson had eight. Omaha finished at 50.0% (17-of-34) for the half.
Inside the Second Half
UND suffered a 1-of-17 field goal shooting stretch until the 12:37 mark and was scoreless for 5:30 minutes early in second half. Omaha, which led the entire second half, took its largest lead at 13:43, when an 8-0 run made it 47-37 before two Allen-Eikens free throws stopped the run.
The Fighting Hawks got within one at 59-58 when Stewart hit a pair at the line, but KJ Robinson stepped up on the other end to can a trey with 46 seconds left — in nearly the exact same spot where Mitch Hahn hit a key three in the final minute in last year’s win in Grand Forks.
Noting Tonight’s Game
-Omaha has won 11 straight games in the series against North Dakota dating back to the Division II era.
-The Mavericks are 7-0 against UND in the Division I era.
-Tonight’s win snapped Omaha’s five-game road losing skid.
Omaha continues its three-game road swing with a trip to South Dakota on Saturday, Jan. 11. Tipoff is set for 3:30 p.m. at the Sanford Coyote Sports Center,