UNO Athletics The Omaha men's basketball team capped the regular season Saturday afternoon, defeating Denver 86-76 at Magness Arena. The Mavericks' win improves them to 19-10 (13-3 Summit League) and sets the program's Division I wins record, while the Pioneers' season comes to an end at 8-22 (3-13).
Omaha now sits a half-game behind league leader South Dakota State, which plays Western Illinois this afternoon in its finale. An SDSU loss would give the Mavericks a share of the regular-season title.
Leaders for Omaha
JT Gibson tied his career high with 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting, hitting 5-of-10 from deep. He added four rebounds, a game-high five assists and a steal.
Matt Pile followed with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting, five boards, an assist and a steal. Mitch Hahn was 7-of-12 from the field for 18 points with a team-high seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block.
Zach Jackson rounded out Omaha's double-figure scorers with 14 points alongside six rebounds and three assists. KJ Robinson added seven points and matched Gibson with five more assists.
Leaders for Denver
Denver got a double-double on David Nzekwesi's 15 points and 10 rebounds. Ronnie Harrell Jr. chipped in 13 points and five boards, and Ade Murkey had 11 points with four rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block.
Omaha shot .500 (33-of-66) to Denver's .433 (26-of-60) and hit nine 3-pointers. The Mavericks held a slight edge on the boards, 36-35, and committed seven turnovers while forcing 11 Pioneer miscues.
Inside the First Half
Both teams shot well from the opening tip, with Omaha hitting at a .531 (17-of-32) clip and Denver at .500 (13-of-26). Jackson led the way with 10 points.
The half saw nine lead changes before an 11-0 run put the Mavericks ahead 31-23, and another 6-0 burst late stretched the lead to 42-35 by the break.
Inside the Second Half
Omaha outscored DU 16-5 to open the second half, helped by nine points in the first four minutes from Pile.
After Omaha took its largest lead of 18 on a Gibson layup at 14:43, DU rallied with a 15-2 run to come within five, but a Maverick run of 10-1 extended the lead to double figures once more.
The Mavericks again worked to a 17-point advantage on Gibson's fifth triple and pair of free throws by Pile to make it 75-58 with 6:35 left. DU managed to cut it to 10 after the final media timeout, but the Pioneers would get no closer.
Noting Today's Game
-Omaha's previous Division I wins record was 18 wins, set by the 2015-16 and 2016-17 teams that finished third in the Summit League standings.
-The Mavericks' 13 league wins are also a Division I program record.
-JT Gibson has hit five 3-pointers three times this season.
-Omaha has outrebounded 11 of its last 14 opponents.
-The Mavericks have single-digit turnovers in eight straight games since Feb. 3.
-Omaha has shot .500 in seven of its last 12 games. They are a perfect 13-0 this season when shooting at least .500.
Omaha awaits final seeding for next weekend's Summit League Championship, March 9-12, at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, S.D.