Men’s basketball falls to Denver, 94 – 78

Photo courtesy Omavs
Daniel Norl (#13) has averaged 13.1 points per game this season.
Kenneth Pancake

Opening their final road trip of the regular season, Omaha dropped a decision to the Denver Pioneers in Colorado, by a score of 94-78. Omaha had previously defeated Denver at Baxter Arena in double overtime.

Leading a high-percentage Maverick team was Daniel Norl, scoring 21 points on nine field goals. The Omaha team shot 51.8 percent from the field and nearly 43 percent from behind the arc.

“We can’t let a team, regardless of who the opponent is, come in and shoot 50 percent from the field,” said Denver Head Coach Rodney Billups. Fortunately, Denver countered with a solid offense of their own, shooting 59.3 percent from the field and an even 50 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. In the previous matchup, Denver had shot 45 percent from the field.

Omaha was absent of the lead for the entire night. Although Omaha tied with Denver at 12-12 and 14-14, Denver proceeded to outscore the Mavericks for the remainder. Omaha cut the lead to seven later on, but fell back to lose the game by 16 points.

Norl led all Maverick scorers with 21 points, tacking on three assists. JT Gibson and Zach Jackson also scored in the double digits, adding 14 and 11 points, respectively. Jackson added three rebounds and a steal, while Gibson gave three assists. Mitch Hahn led Omaha in rebounds with nine boards and also led in steals with two. Norl holds several streaks over the past several games: he has scored 18 straight free throws and has scored in double figures in 11 of his past 12 games.

Denver came into the game with some extra motivation: in their previous matchup this season at Baxter Arena, the game went into double overtime when Norl put up a last second 3-point shot to tie the game, where Omaha eventually won out 86-80. Norl’s 3-pointer was set up by a cross-court heave from the opposite baseline with just 2.4 seconds to go.

Joe Rosga scored 28 points for the Pioneers on 10 field goals and four shots from the charity stripe; he only missed two shots all night long. Jake Krafka and Ade Murkey combined for 13 rebounds, while Jake Holtzmann garnered six assists from the bench. Denver had four players in double digits.

The Mavericks fell to a record of 9-18 overall, and 4-7 in Summit League play. They sit in fifth place in the conference as the teams make a final effort to prepare themselves for the Summit League tournament. Denver, on a two-game win streak, looks to finish strong. They currently hoist a record of 12-14 and 6-6, good enough for third in the conference.

Omaha has two games remaining in the regular season: A home game against Oral Roberts (10-19, 4-8) and a final home game against North Dakota State (13-14, 4-7). The Oral Roberts game will tip off at 7 p.m. on Feb. 22, while the North Dakota State finale will be tipped off at 1 p.m. on Feb. 24. Both games will be broadcasted on 1180 AM Zone 2.