Co-Summit League leader Western Illinois defeated the UNO men 89-74 Saturday afternoon at Ralston Arena.
Omaha took an 11-2 lead highlighted by five points from Alex Welhouse. The Leathernecks came back to tie it at 11-11 and again at 13-13, but the Mavericks used five free throws and a Matt Hagerbaumer basket to go up 20-16.
The Leathernecks took their first lead of the game at 25-22 on a three-pointer from Don McAvoy, then extended it to 29-24. Alex Phillips kept UNO in the hunt with a jumper, then later knocked down a three to cut it to 29-27. WIU hit one more trey in the half, but CJ Carter came back with a shot in the closing seconds to pull the Mavs to within three at 32-29 at halftime.
Western (14-3, 6-0 Summit League) stormed out to a 22-point lead in the second half, but the Mavericks slowly chipped away with buckets from Justin Simmons and Phillips and a three from Jacques Coleman.
With four minutes to go, UNO (5-15, 2-6 Summit League) started a 12-0 run spurred by three Simmons dunks that cut the deficit to 77-70 with 1:46 remaining. A dunk by Terell Parks halted the rally.
Simmons led the Mavs with 18 points while Phillips added 13 points and six rebounds. Carter chipped in 12 points, four assists and two steals and John Karhoff had 10 points, seven rebounds and a pair of assists.
Western Illinois was paced by a double-double from Parks, who finished with 19 points and 11 boards. McAvoy (15 points), Adam Link (12) and Remy Roberts-Burnett (11) also ended the day in double figures.