Mavs Drop 79-72 Overtime Loss at Western Illinois

The Omaha men’s basketball team saw a 12-point second-half lead erased in its Summit League opener on Saturday night, falling 79-72 in overtime to Western Illinois at Western Hall. The Mavericks are now 10-6 (0-1 Summit League), while the Leathernecks improve to 7-9 (1-0 Summit League).

Senior center John Karhoff had a strong night, scoring 25 points while pulling down eight rebounds with three assists, a block and a steal. It marked Karhoff’s eighth career performance with 20 or more points and his third such effort of the season.

Sophomore guard Marcus Tyus added 15 points, and sophomore guard Devin Patterson posted 10 points, three boards, four assists and a season-high six steals.

Western Illinois was paced by a double-double from Tate Stensgaard with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Garret Covington had a team-leading 17 points, while Adam Link had 13 and Jabari Sandifer had 11.

As a team, Omaha shot 39 percent (26-of-67) from the floor, 22 percent (5-of-23) from long range and 83 percent (15-of-18) from the line. Western finished at 48 percent (27-of-56) from the field, as well as 27 percent (3-of-11) from beyond the arc and 69 percent (22-of-32) at the stripe. The Mavericks forced 21 Leatherneck turnovers for the night.

Western strung together an early 9-0 run that spurred a 14-7 lead to start the game. Omaha tied it at 16-all on a 3-point play by Karhoff at 6:10 before a Simmons jumper gave Omaha an 18-17 advantage with 2:37 to go. Despite shooting just 20 percent (6-of-30) from the floor and 0-of-11 from long range, the Mavericks took a 20-19 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Mavericks built up a 12-point advantage by 9:58 in the second half, as freshman guard Jalen Bradley came off the bench to hit a layup and a 3-pointer to make it 44-32. The double-digit margin was squandered, however, as a Covington three helped WIU shear it to 44-39. Western cut it to 59-57 on a Link layup with 1:29 left, then capitalized on a Maverick turnover at 0:29 before Roberts-Burnett’s jumper knotted the score at 61-61 with 0:11 remaining in regulation to send it to overtime.

Sandifer accounted for the Leathernecks’ first six points in overtime, spotting WIU a 67-61 lead. A dunk from Tyus brought Omaha back within two, but Western hit 12 of its 16 free throw attempts in the period, going on to take a 79-72 win to open conference play.

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