OMAHA, Neb. — After a clutch JT Gibson three sent the game to a bonus period, the Omaha men’s basketball team outlasted Montana 87-82 in overtime Saturday afternoon at Baxter Arena. With their 12th straight home win, the Mavericks improve to 7-8 to close out non-conference play, while the Grizzlies drop to 4-7.
Leaders for Omaha
The Mavericks’ senior duo of Gibson and KJ Robinson stepped up to lead the way in the scoring column. Robinson, playing in his 100th career game, finished with a season-high 24 points on 8-of-15 shooting with three 3-pointers. Gibson had 22 points, including the game-tying three to send it to overtime.
Matt Pile put up his sixth double-double of the season with 13 points and a career-high 16 rebounds alongside a season-high four blocks.
Zach Thornhill narrowly missed a double-double of his own, posting 16 points and nine rebounds while hitting a perfect 8-of-8 at the stripe.
Leaders for Montana
Sayeed Pridgett was a force for the Grizzlies, finishing with a game-high 32 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. Josh Vazquez (14), Yagizhan Selcuk (14) and Kyle Owens (12) also scored in double figures.
Even with a dismal first-half start, Omaha outshot Montana 43.1% (25-of-58) to 40.8% (29-of-71). The Mavericks also outrebounded the Grizzlies 51-34.
Montana limited itself to just seven turnovers for the day, while Omaha committed a season-high 20 miscues, leading to 19 points.
Inside the First Half
Neither team shot well to start, as Montana was 0-of-8 from the floor and Omaha 1-of-7 at the first media timeout. Turnovers plagued the Mavericks early, as they committed seven in the first five and a half minutes of play.
After a Thornhill three put Omaha ahead 22-16, Montana quickly erased the lead when Vazquez canned back-to-back triples to knot it with 4:26 left. The score locked again three more times before the break, but a final 5-0 spurt capped with a Robinson corner three at the buzzer put the Mavericks up 37-32.
Omaha shot 35.7% (10-of-28) in the opening stanza with 10 points from Robinson, another nine from Gibson and seven points, 10 boards and four blocks from Pile.
Inside the Second Half
The Mavericks fired at an improved 52.0% (13-of-25) for the half, led by 13 points from Gibson, who was 5-of-7, and 11 from Robinson, who was 4-of-7.
Montana opened the second half on an 8-0 run to regain the lead, but a Marlon Ruffin lay-in finally staunched it and brought Omaha with one at 40-39. Omaha trailed for nearly four more minutes until seven straight points from Gibson locked it at 48-48.
A 6-0 run courtesy of Pile, Gibson and Robinson built a 59-54 advantage, but Montana later used a 9-1 surge of its own to go ahead 66-61 with two minutes left. Omaha found itself trailing 68-62 with 48 seconds remaining.
But the Mavericks still had plenty of fight, as seven straight points from Robinson on two driving layups and a triple brought them within one at 70-69 with nine seconds to go. After two free throws from Owens pushed the Montana lead back out to 72-69, Gibson stepped up, and his deep pullup three on the assist from Robinson forced the extra period. Omaha was 4-of-4 to close the second half.
After trading buckets to start, Montana managed to create a 79-77 advantage, but Omaha outscored the Grizzlies 8-1 from there.
A pair of Pile free throws put the Mavericks ahead by one, and Omaha never relinquished the lead as four straight Thornhill free throws strengthened the margin to 85-80. The Grizzlies managed to cut it a three-point game after a Pridgett layup, but two more foul shots from Robinson put it away at 87-82.
Noting Today’s Game
-Today marked the first time this season that two Mavericks have had 20-point scoring efforts in the same game.
-Today’s game featured 11 ties and 12 lead changes.
-Omaha has won four straight games in overtime dating back to the 2017-18 season.
-The Mavericks’ 12-game home win streak is the longest of the Derrin Hansen era.
Following a break for the holidays, Omaha opens Summit League play on Sunday, Dec. 29 with South Dakota State at 4:30 p.m. at Baxter Arena.