OMAHA, Neb. – Omaha outlasted North Dakota in a
back-and-forth affair on Saturday as the Mavericks posted an 83-75 victory in a
Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters tilt.
Fans at the new Ralston Arena were reminded of what was once a great North Central Conference rivalry as the lead changed 20 times, including 17 in the second half during the first matchup between the two teams at the Division I level.
“I thought both teams played extremely hard, but I thought our fatigue became a factor late and that cost us,” UND head coach Brian Jones said. “Give (Omaha) credit though, they did a great job of creating second shots. We would get the initial stop, but had trouble keeping them off the offensive glass.”
Omaha’s Justin Simmons finished with 20 points to lead the Mavs and it was his 3-pointer with just under four minutes to play that tied the game at 73-73. That trifecta sparked a 13-2 closing run by the Mavs, who have now won five straight in the series.
Junior Jamal Webb added eight points for UND, but his two free throws down the stretch were all the scoring UND could manage.
Alex Welhouse hit a back-breaking trey with 1:16 to play that pushed UNO’s lead to five at 80-75. That would provide the largest lead of the half by either team as the teams were matching baskets at a furious pace.
Welhouse finished with 13 points as four different Mavs finished in double figures. John Karhoff added a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
UND’s largest lead after halftime was at 55-51 following a 3-pointer by Huff. That was the sixth consecutive make for UND from beyond the arc, but the Mavs would let the visitors get two more 3-point attempts off in the closing 15 minutes.
Huff had 14 first-half points and Anderson scored 12 in a three-minute stretch late in the stanza that allowed UND to erase what was once a 25-13 deficit and draw even at 41-41 by halftime.
UND was shooting 50 percent from the field (30-for-60) before missing its final 10 shots. The Mavs were more efficient from the charity stripe, making 18-of-24 attempts and that proved costly for UND, who managed to make just 9-of-19 for the contest.
Karhoff’s 10 rebounds helped UNO hold a slight 44-42 edge in that category. Huff had seven reoubnds, all of which were on the offensive end. Senior Mitch Wilmer paced UND with eight boards and added seven points.
UND will remain on the road and return to Big Sky play next week at Portland State (Thursday) and Eastern Washington (Saturday).
-- UND --