Mavs’ comeback bid at Ball State falls just short


Mitchell Cutcher

Derrin Hansen’s team is now 1-1 on the season. The Mavericks comeback bid fell just short against Ball State on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Omaha Athletics.

In a game that was a story of two halves, the Mavericks had the better of Ball State in the latter. Omaha scored 48 points, went on a 12-0 run at one point and climbed back from a 23-point deficit. However, the Cardinals early lead was too much to overcome. Ball State led the game 44-15 at one point and went on to win by a 73-69 final.

​The Mavericks had a chance to tie it on their final possession of the game, but Felix Lemetti missed a game-tying layup with less than a second remaining. Omaha had several other chances to take the lead late in the half, but ultimately were unable to do so. The loss moves Omaha to 1-1 on the year.

​The difference between the first and second halves for Omaha was clear — hitting three-point shots. In the first half, Omaha made zero of their nine attempts from behind the arc, but the Mavericks made six of their 13 in the second. Ball State also cooled off as they shot 33.3 percent from behind the three-point line in the second half compared to the 53.3 percent they shot from there early on.

​Omaha once again forced double digit turnovers as they had seven steals and three blocks. A big difference between Omaha and Ball State was the number of free throws each team shot during the game. Omaha only shot 10 compared to Ball State’s 27.

​It was freshman Frankie Fidler who led all scorers for Omaha with 13. However, it was mostly a team effort when it came to scoring. Similar to their first game against Hastings, bench points were once again a difference maker.

The Mavericks’ bench unit chipped in 29 points. That charge was led by Kyle Leudtke, who was second on the team in scoring with 10 points off the bench. Akol Arop also provided valuable minutes showing great hustle with six points, three rebounds and two steals.

Jalen Windham led the Cardinals in scoring with 14 and Payton Sparks was right behind him with 13. Ball State’s bench also contributed 29 points with the majority of those coming from Windham.

Although it’ll go down as a loss for ​Omaha, there is plenty to build off of from this effort going forward for the Mavericks. Fidler has looked like a player who could have success in the Summit League with his ability to guard multiple positions and score on the inside and out.

Alongside Fidler, other newcomers such as Isiah Poor-Bear Chandler and Lemetti have shown why they were coveted by Omaha. Each transfer scored eight crucial points.

The Mavericks (1-1) will continue their road trip as they’ll take on Kansas State next on Nov. 17. Following that trip to Manhattan, Kansas, the Mavericks will travel to Montana on Nov. 20, Texas Tech on Nov. 23 and close out the road stretch against Purdue on Nov. 26.