Omaha suffers first home loss to South Dakota State

Photo courtesy OMavs

Ray Koch

Mike Daum. The name probably brings a scowl and maybe, just maybe a “screw that guy,” phrase to your mouth.

Yes, he has torched Omaha in his four-year career at South Dakota State (SDSU). On Saturday night when Omaha and SDSU met for a conference battle at Baxter Arena, the Mavericks were feeling confident. Unbeaten at home this year, Omaha was looking for a huge conference win and retribution for the conference championship loss last year, where Daum hit ridiculous shot after ridiculous shot en route to a March Madness birth for the Jackrabbits instead of the Mavericks.

But Mike Daum would not be stopped on Saturday night once again. He dropped 27 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists while SDSU won 101-88. SDSU led 50-35 at halftime, and Omaha had to spend the entire second half trying to scratch and claw back, coming up short. They managed to pull within 12 with just under six minutes to play, but got no further as they lost by 13. Omaha moves to 5-14, 0-2 on the season while SDSU is the exact opposite at 14-5, 2-0.

For Omaha, Zach Jackson scored a career-high 29 points to lead Omaha, while JT Gibson scored 18. Daniel Norl, who has been an absolute star for Omaha, scored 14 but struggled from the field, shooting 2-of-10 from the field. Fan favorite Freshman Matt Pile had a career-high four blocks to lead the Mavericks.

The Mavericks got back KJ Robinson, who had been sidelined for the past two games. He scored three points in 15 minutes for the Mavericks. With Robinson’s minutes limited, the Mavericks had to rely again on freshman guard Ayo Akinwole, who has been excellent in his freshman campaign. He scored 8 points and had 2 assists in 23 minutes of play.

Omaha will be back in action for conference play when they go against Western Illinois on Jan. 11 at Baxter Arena.