OMAHA, Neb. — The Omaha men’s basketball team led nearly the entire way Monday night, soundly defeating Bethune-Cookman 90-61 in front of 2,112 fans at Baxter Arena. With their second straight win, the Mavericks improve to 2-1 on the season, while the Wildcats drop to 1-2.
Leaders for Omaha
JT Gibson’s career-best scoring effort came with 26 points on 10-of-13 shooting alongside six rebounds, four assists and two steals. He led a contingent of five Maverick scorers in double figures.
Zach Thornhill hit 8-of-12 from the floor for a career-high 19 points and added two rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block. Matt Pile, who hit 6-of-8, finished with 15 points, seven boards, two assists, one steal and four blocks.
Wanjang Tut matched Pile on the glass with seven rebounds and added 13 points, and Darrius Hughes was a perfect 3-of-3 from the floor for a season-high 11 points. He added five rebounds, an assist and a steal.
Leaders for Bethune-Cookman
Joe French’s 19 points paced the Wildcats, and Cletrell Pope added 12 points with a game-high eight rebounds.
Omaha shot 59% (35-of-59) as a team while limiting BCU to 34% (21-of-61). The Mavericks outrebounded the Wildcats 45-28 and had a 6-2 advantage in blocked shots.
Omaha also outscored BCU 38-18 in the paint.
Inside the First Half
Omaha raced to a 17-10 lead on 7-of-10 shooting to start, getting 10 points out of the gate from Gibson in the first eight minutes. BCU went cold from the floor while Omaha strung together a 23-5 run over 9:50 to go up 43-18 by the under-four media timeout.
The Wildcats failed to hit a shot for a stretch of 7:50 until a pair of Isaiah Bailey free throws with 2:04 left started a 9-1 run, but a Gibson triple just before the buzzer gave Omaha a 20-point lead at the break.
For the half, the Mavericks shot lights out at 68% (19-of-28), bolstered by 19 points on a 7-of-8 showing from Gibson.
Inside the Second Half
BCU pulled no closer than 14 in the second half, and Omaha assumed its largest lead of 30 on two Hughes foul shots with 4:31 remaining, which capped a 16-2 run.
Noting Tonight’s Game
-Omaha now leads the all-time series with Bethune-Cookman 2-1, having won the last two meetings.
-Tonight’s first half shooting performance was the best of any half since a 70% effort vs. Oral Roberts on Feb. 25, 2016. It was the best first-half performance since shooting 68% vs. Washburn on Jan. 24, 2009.
-Omaha extended its home win streak to eight games.
-The Mavericks have shot 50% or better as a team in back-to-back games. They have 15 straight wins when shooting better than 50% in the last two seasons.
Omaha hits the road for a visit to Colorado State on Wednesday, Nov. 13. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. CT at Moby Arena in Fort Collins, Colo., and Gary Sharp will have the radio call on 1180 Zone 2. The game will be broadcast live on Mountain West Network, and links to live video, audio and stats will be available on OMavs.com.