On Road Tilt, Men’s Basketball Faces Top Talent

Zach Jackson, along with teammates, coaches and fans, await the result of his three-point shot. Photo courtesy of Skip DeBusk.
Kenneth Pancake

After their Nov. 24 victory against the Montana State Bobcats, Omaha got on the bus and prepared to face off against some of the biggest names in college sports.

So far, the team is 2-0 on the five-game trip, dropping decisions to Iowa State (82-55) and Arizona State (89-71).

Iowa State

The team’s only destination east of Omaha on this road trip was on Nov. 26 against the Iowa State Cyclones in Ames, Iowa. This was Omaha’s eighth all-time matchup against Iowa State, to which they now hold a 6-2 record.

Omaha was outscored by 13 points in the first half and 14 more in the second half. One problem for the Mavericks this season has been slow starts–that disadvantage showed when Iowa State opened the game with an 11-0 lead.

Omaha’s accuracy decreased after the first half – the Mavs shot over 42 percent overall in the first half but shot only above 30 percent overall in the second half. The same was true for shots from beyond the arc. Omaha ended the night with just over 28 percent accuracy from the three-point line and just under 36 percent accuracy overall.

Two Mavs scored in the double digits. JT Gibson led the team with 16 points, while Zach Jackson scored 13 adding one block and one steal. Gibson grabbed four rebounds, but the team leader on the boards was Wanjang Tut with seven. No team member garnered more than two assists.

On the other side of the ball, the Cyclones had five players go into double-digits, including Marial Shayok (18) and Tyrese Haliburton (16). Haliburton made six of his seven shots from the field.

Iowa State had 14 steals against Omaha. The effort was led by Talen Horton-Tucker with five steals. Turnovers (Omaha’s 20 to Iowa State’s 14) and rebounds (Omaha’s 33 to Iowa State’s 46) made the difference.

Arizona State

Omaha had a better showing on its second stop of the west coast trip, facing off against Arizona State. Ultimately, the Mavericks fell by a score of 89-71.

In an odd stat line, Omaha shot 50 percent from the three-point line, but only 45.9 percent from the field overall. The team effort was led by Zach Jackson, Matt Pile and JT Gibson, with 17, 15 and 12 points respectively. Elishja Duplechan earned a team-leading four assists, while Matt Pile led the team with five rebounds.

Omaha ended the first half only down by 10 but fell by nine more in the second half to earn their fifth loss of the season. The Mavs are 5-3 on the season, but 4-1 away from Baxter Arena.

The Mavericks next play Seattle University in Seattle on Dec. 6. Omaha goes on to play Oregon on Dec. 8, which can be seen on the Pac-12 Network. After one more game against Idaho (Dec. 15), they return home to play UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 19.