The Omaha men’s basketball team put together an outstanding effort to earn its first conference win of the year on Saturday, defeating South Dakota State, 80-71, at Frost Arena. With the win, the Mavericks improve to 11-7 (1-2 Summit League), while the Jackrabbits drop to 10-9 (2-2 Summit League).
Omaha’s victory marked the first time in three years that SDSU surrendered a conference loss at home, as the Jacks had held a 21-game streak since Jan. 29, 2011.
Four Mavericks finished with double-figure scoring, led by sophomore guard Marcus Tyus. Thirteen of his 16 points came in the first half, and he added six rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Junior guard CJ Carter notched 15 points with two 3-pointers and a 7-for-7 effort at the free throw line, as well as five rebounds, two steals and an assist. Senior guard Justin Simmons chipped in another 12 points, shooting 6-of-9, and senior center John Karhoff rounded it out with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting.
Senior forward Matt Hagerbaumer led the way on the glass, pulling down seven rebounds with seven points and two blocks. Senior forward Mike Rostampour added nine points and five boards for the afternoon.
Omaha shot a season-best .556 (30-54) from the field while holding SDSU to a .400 (24-60) clip. The Jackrabbits shot just .269 (7-26) in the first half. In addition, the Mavericks outrebounded the Jacks, 34-33.
The Mavericks played a strong opening 20 minutes, shooting 54 percent while holding South Dakota State to 27 percent. With an early 9-0 run and their first seven points from Tyus, they surged to a 13-6 lead by the first media timeout. The first six minutes of play saw the Mavs outrebound SDSU 10-3, while the Jacks made just one of their first 10 shots from the floor. Though South Dakota State twice got within three later in the half, UNO battled through early foul trouble for Karhoff and Rostampour and leaned on Tyus for 13 points and six rebounds, leading 36-29 at the break.
In the second stanza, SDSU pulled within four at 48-44 with 13:03 to go. But the Mavericks never faltered, taking their first double-digit lead at 55-44 on a Hagerbaumer dunk with 11:53 left. UNO then worked out to its largest lead of the game with a 13-point margin, 72-59, with less than four minutes remaining. Carter and sophomore guard Devin Patterson combined to go 8-for-8 at the line to finish out the game, and Omaha went on to take the 80-71 triumph.
"Marcus Tyus got us off to a good start tonight, and Justin Simmons also played a solid first half," head coach Derrin Hansen said. "Simon Krych was also critical for us off the bench as our front court was in foul trouble from the outset. We overcame a hostile environment at Frost Arena tonight, as this was their first home conference loss in three years.
"I'm really proud of our team's effort tonight. Our toughness and attention to detail paid off. It's the best we've played as a unit during our five-game road swing, and we're looking forward to building on this momentum Thursday night at home against Denver."