OMAHA, Neb. — The Omaha men’s basketball team hung tough Tuesday night for its third straight win, defeating Loyola (Md.) 70-65 at Baxter Arena to close the Cayman Islands Classic Mainland Tournament at Omaha. With the win, the Mavericks improve to 5-3, while the Greyhounds drop to 3-4.
Leaders for Omaha
JT Gibson passed the 1,000 career points milestone, becoming the 40th 1,000-point scorer in school history. The senior finished with 11 points, three rebounds, two steals and an assist for the night.
Matt Pile registered his second straight double-double with team highs of 14 points and 13 rebounds. He hit 6-of-10 from the floor and added four assists.
Leaders for Loyola
Andrew Kostecka led all scorers with 25 points, and Cam Spencer had 15 points, six rebounds and five assists off the bench.
Omaha shot 47.3% (26-of-55) to Loyola’s 46.2% (24-of-52) and had a 36-26 rebounding advantage. The Mavericks outscored Loyola 34-28 in the paint, 19-12 off turnovers, 9-3 on second-chance attempts and 15-7 on the fast break.
Inside the First Half
Pile came out on a tear to start the game, putting up five points and seven rebounds in the first six minutes. Loyola opened to 1-of-11 shooting from the field, including 0-of-8 from deep, as the Mavericks worked out to a 14-4 advantage.
Omaha led by as many as 11, but a late 10-0 Loyola run punctuated with a Kostecka jumper gave the Greyhounds their only edge of the game at 28-27 with two minutes to go. But the Mavericks regained their footing and went ahead by three at the break, 31-28.
Pile nearly had a double-double by the end of the half, accounting for 10 points and nine rebounds.
Inside the Second Half
Gibson, appropriately, fired in his 1,000th point on a corner three with 14:31 left, which put Omaha ahead 44-38. Three straight Robinson triples later bolstered the lead to 62-50 with just over five minutes to play.
But Loyola chipped away and pulled within three at 68-65 when Kostecka hit two free throws with 38 seconds to go. With eight seconds remaining, Loyola again turned to Kostecka — this time from long range — but his attempt was off the mark. Zach Thornhill hit a pair of foul shots to close it out for Omaha.
Noting Tonight’s Game
-Omaha has now won 10 straight games at home dating back to the 2018-19 season.
-The Mavericks lead the all-time series with Loyola, 1-0.
-Omaha is now 5-3, matching its best month of November in the Division I era. The 2013-14 Mavericks also went 5-3 in November games.
Following a short break for Thanksgiving, Omaha begins a four-game road swing at Saint Mary’s on Sunday, Dec. 1. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. CT at McKeon Pavilion in Moraga, Calif., and Gary Sharp will have the radio call on 1180 Zone 2. Links to live video, audio and stats will be available on OMavs.com.