Omaha’s season came to end Saturday in the second round of the Summit League Tournament. The Mavericks posted an 8-22 regular season record heading into tournament weekend.
A season that featured few wins and much to improve upon led Omaha to an accolade not seen in four years: Omaha landed its first conference tournament win since 2019, when the Mavs almost reached March Madness.
Omaha entered the Summit League Tournament as the 10-seed and faced 7-seeded Kansas City (11-21) in the evening game Friday. UMKC was shorthanded heading into the matchup, with leading contributors Allen David Mubeka and Shemarri Allen lost to injury. The Roos only played eight players throughout the game.
Omaha took advantage of the mismatch and rode the momentum in the first half. Tied 10-10 midway through the first half, Omaha went on a 15-1 scoring run to take a controlling lead. The Mavs led UMKC 45-22 at halftime.
The Roos cut back into Omaha’s lead in the second half, but it wasn’t enough, as the Mavs pulled out a 73-61 win. Sophomore forward Frankie Fidler led the way for UNO with 21 points and fellow sophomore Marquel Sutton gathered 6 defensive rebounds along with 15 points.
The following night, UNO faced South Dakota State, who finished second overall in the Summit League regular season standings with a 13-5 conference record. Omaha remained competitive throughout the first half and only trailed 39-40 at halftime. Omaha’s season would come to an end from a 63-55 defeat from the Jackrabbits.
Fiddler struggled early but finished with a double-double on 11 points and 12 rebounds. Sophomore guard Jaeden Marshall led Omaha in scoring with a career-high 19 points. Tony Osburn was another player who made an impact for Omaha off the bench. He finished with 8 points and made two three-pointers.
Head coach Chris Crutchfield’s first season concluded with a 9-23 record, bettering the previous season’s mark of 5-25. Much of the season’s production can be attributed to a young roster. Lone senior Kyle Luedtke made up the bulk of experience for Omaha this season, but the roster will feature more experienced upperclassmen going forward.
Heading into the offseason, Crutchfield says the main emphasis for improvement will be developing the existing talent on the team. Aided by an able recruiting class of local talent, UNO looks to resurge itself into Summit League contention for the following season.