Omaha Basketball heats up at Cayman Island Classic


Caleb Johnson

An Omaha basketball player dribbling down the court
Omaha’s Ayo Akinwole dribbles up the court against Southern. Photo by Stephanie Veloso/the Gateway

As UNO hosted the Mainland Tournament for the Cayman Island Classic on Nov. 25 and 26, the weather was a far cry from the sun and warm temperatures of the tropical island.

Outside the arena, only sleet and snow could be found. Really, the only thing hot about the tournament was the Maverick’s shooting.

Overall in the Cayman Islands classic, Omaha lost on the road to Colorado State and Dayton. The Mavericks won out the rest of the way as they beat Washington State 85-77, Southern 78-51 and Loyola Maryland 65-70.

The Washington State win was notable for being the first Pac-12 win in UNO Men’s basketball history.

“I’m very proud of our team to win one on the back end of a trip, which is always difficult,” said head coach Derrin Hansen. “Hopefully this one we can build off of as we continue.”

This win against Washington State wasn’t just big for UNO, but for the Summit League as a whole. This is the first time a Summit league team has defeated a Pac-12 school since 2011-12, when South Dakota State defeated Washington.

This is now the third Power-6 opponent UNO has defeated. The two previous were Marquette and Iowa. UNO is dreaming they could have added a fourth Power Six opponent to its win sheet, as UNL was also in the Cayman Island Challenge.

Nebraska has looked to be on the lower end of all Power-6 schools this season. First year coach Fred Hoiberg has had a shaky start to say the least with UNL being 4-3.

The Cornhuskers have not beaten many quality teams either. UNL lost to UC Riverside, Southern Utah in double overtime and George Mason, who beat UNL by 19 points.

UNO and Nebraska had two similar opponents in this past week. Both the Mavericks and the Huskers played Washington State and the Southern Jaguars. Both teams went 2-0 against these teams. UNL beat the Cougars 82-71 and the Jaguars 93-86 in overtime.

UNO also had a close game against Washington State but handled Southern 78-51 in regulation.

While it is fun to poke fun at the Huskers now, they’ll surely turn their basketball program around just like they have with their football team.

UNO has a tough opponent next game as they travel to play against 7-1 Saint Mary’s. Saint Mary’s is red-hot at the moment, as they are coming off a win against Top 15 ranked Utah State.

The Mavericks will be back at home next on Dec. 15 as they take on UTRGV. That game can be streamed online at or listened to at