The Omaha men’s basketball team traveled to Las Vegas for the Mavericks’ final game before the start of Summit League play against UNLV. Once again, the issues that have previously plagued the Mavericks this year proved costly, as foul trouble and turnovers caused problems in the Mavericks’ tenth straight loss, 84-71 to UNLV.
The Mavericks found themselves once again going into halftime with the lead as Felix Lemetti hit a three at the buzzer. However, foul trouble and turnovers caught up to the Mavericks in the second half as Omaha turned the ball over 16 times. UNLV outscored Omaha 49-33 in the second half and held Omaha to a 40% shooting percentage from the field.
Omaha Head coach Derrin Hansen has said multiple times lately that they’re still trying to figure out what the best lineup is for this team. Injuries have continued to pile up for the Mavericks and it’s been a struggle to find the right and consistent rotations because of it.
The UNLV game featured 17 different lineups over the course of the night. Part of that may have been due to the foul trouble the Mavericks faced with Dylan Brougham fouling out and Kyle Leudtke, Darrius Hughes and Devin Evans all finishing with four fouls.
Omaha did an excellent job of stopping UNLV in the first half, despite the Runnin’ Rebels having 10 more shot attempts. Omaha held UNLV to 36% from the floor and 19% from behind the arc in the first half. But the Rebels found their stride and shot 57% from the field and 40% from deep in the second half, which was the difference.
On the Omaha side, Felix Lemetti had his best outing of the season, as the Swede scored a season-high 20 points. Hughes also had another solid outing, as he scored 10 despite having limited minutes due to foul trouble in the second half. Akol Arop saw the most playing time he has had since transferring to Omaha and was a solid contributor for the Mavericks. Arop especially helped fill the gaps caused by foul trouble and injuries.
UNLV’s Bryce Hamilton continued his strong start in this contest, as he put up 26 points to follow up his season-high 33 points against Hartford. Royce Hamm Jr. also put up 16 points and pulled in 12 rebounds. UNLV was also able to take advantage of Omaha’s lack of big men, as the Mavericks were without both Wanjang Tut and Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler. The Runnin’ Rebels scored 30 points in the paint.
Omaha (1-10) will begin Summit League play on Monday, Dec. 20 as they welcome Saint Thomas to Baxter Arena. That will be the Tommies’ inaugural Summit League game. Following that, the Mavericks will host Western Illinois on Dec. 22 and have an eight-day break over the holidays. The Mavericks hope that time will allow them to get healthy before traveling to UMKC on Dec. 30.