Omaha men’s basketball team uses physicality to best in-state opponent in season debut 

Postgame press conference with Omaha head coach Chris Crutchfield. Courtesy of Omaha Athletics

Omaha, Neb. – Omaha controlled the paint to stave off the Doane Tiger’s outside-scoring attack in an 85-53 victory. The Mavericks used suffocating defense and a relentless attack on the inside to achieve the 32-point margin of victory. Omaha outscored Doane 52-14 in the paint as well as racking up 27 points off turnovers, while Doane was only able to score seven.

Southern Nazarene transfer Nick Davis made his presence known as he led the team in scoring in his first-ever game as a Maverick. Davis’ 14 points on the inside came as a result of physical play that Doane was unable to handle. His game-high two steals and one block allowed his physicality to permeate throughout the entire Mavericks defense.

“I think we want to play more physical this year,” said First Team Preseason All-Summit junior Frankie Fidler. “Being more physical helps with rebounds and playing defense.”

Fidler, Omaha’s leading scorer in the 2022-2023 season, was able to post 11 points in the victory. Junior forward Marquel Sutton was behind Fidler in points per game last season, but he was able to contribute more in the home opener with 13 points.

Doane was able to shoot more than 50% from three in the first half, but defensive adjustments from the Mavericks forced their percentage to drop by 20. Despite their ability to work the inside at will, the Mavericks were not able to get good looks from behind the arc causing Omaha to go six for 23 from the 3-point line.

While the Mavericks were able to shoot nearly 50% from the field, their team defense was what allowed them to pull ahead by such a large margin. Led by Davis on the defensive end, the Mavericks forced Doane to turn the ball over 19 times. Omaha was constantly pressing the Tigers full court, and trapping them when they crossed the half-court line. 

“He’s a really good defender, Nick Davis,” said Fidler.

There was not a single Tiger that was able to reach double-digit points. Nearly half of their second-half points came from the free-throw line, despite only attempting two free throws in the first.

After a 1-0 start, the Mavericks will travel to Fort Worth, Tex. to take on a major conference opponent in TCU. After facing the Horned Frogs on Nov. 9, the team will stay in Texas to take on North Texas on Nov. 11. Summit League competition will not begin until late December.