Mavericks beat Jackrabbits with defensive stop on final play

Matt Pile of the UNO Mavericks celebrates after a game-saving block against South Dakota State on 12/29.
By  | 

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- The Omaha Men's basketball team went into Sunday undefeated at Baxter Arena, and they remained unbeaten after a 81-78 win over South Dakota State.

The Mavericks trailed 42-36 at the break, but they clamped down on defense in the second half, holding the Jackrabbits to 36 points.

The game came down to the final plays.

Omaha led by one when KJ Robinson drove in and scored on a layup, putting them up by three.

South Dakota State would score again and after a miss on a one-and-one free-throw scenario for Robinson, it came down to the final play.

The Jackrabbits had the ball down one with 6.7 seconds on the clock.

A layup attempt by Douglas Wilson was blocked by Omaha's Matt Pile.

"I saw him driving. I knew he was going to go up with his left on that left side. So, I tried to get there. [I] barely got a fingertip on it, but that was enough to make a play so it felt great," Pile said.

A pair of Marlin Ruffin free throws gave the Mavs the lead at 81-78, and a last-ditch effort by South Dakota State was unsuccessful.

UNO will host Oral Roberts next Saturday.

Omaha is 8-8 and 1-0 in the Summit League this season.