Omaha Men’s Basketball opens season with loss to Wichita State


Timothy Eaves

Two basketball players on the court
Omaha’s Wanjang Tut. Photo courtesy of Inertia

The Omaha Men’s basketball opened its 2019-2020 with a match-up against Wichita State that ended with the Mav’s losing 68-54 in Charles Koch Arena.

The game opened up with Zach Thornhill making his first career start and the first bucket of the season. He scored a career-high 11 points. Ayo Akinwole was the team leader in points and assists with 16 on 50% shooting and four assists.

Pre-season All Summit League Second team members, JT Gibson scored 11 points and Matt Pile, Wichita native, scored six points with a career high 15 rebounds.

In the first half, The Shockers led early and went up 24-14, but the Mavs responded well by firing off a 7-0 run. A reverse lay-up from Gibson, followed by sophomore Wanjang Tut’s lay-in and a 3-pointer from Awkinwole cut the lead to three points and gave the Mavericks momentum.

That run would be around the closest the Mavericks would get to the Shockers during the first half, as the game went into the halftime interval with Wichita State leading 31-25.

Inside the second half, Shockers kept up the lead and never let it get out of hand against the Mavs. The Shockers only extended their lead as the game went on. The final score ended in a 68-54 win for Wichita State

Neither team shot the ball particularly well, as the Mavs shot 39% from the field in comparison to the Shockers 37%. The difference of the night came from the 3-pointline and turnovers. The Shockers hit most of their big shots from behind the arc, as they shot 35% from distance. Meanwhile, the Mavs didn’t have as much luck, as they only shot 26%. The Mavericks also had some trouble keeping hold of the ball, as they picked up a total of 14 turnovers and only forced seven from the Shockers.

The Mavericks had their home opener on Nov. 7 as they took on a competitive Midlands University team. Omaha picked up their first win of the season there, as they ran out winners in a 72-53 game. The Mavericks will be in action next at home on Nov. 11 as they take on Bethune-Cookman. The team will then hit the road as they get set to play Colorado State on Nov. 13.