UNO Basketball: How much can the Mavericks achieve?


Caleb Johnson

Several players on a basketball court
Omaha’s No. 13 Wanjang Tut and No. 40 Matt Pile wait for a rebound. Photo courtesy of Skip DeBusk.

Coach Derrin Hansen and the University of Nebraska at Omaha basketball team suffered a heartbreaking loss in the Summit League Championship game last year, losing to North Dakota State 63-73 after being 2-0 in regular season play against the Bison.

Hansen is now in his 14th year as head coach for the Mavericks. Since UNO has been eligible for Division I post-season play, coach Hansen has been 66-58.

In the past four years, Hansen has been able to make it to the Summit League Conference Championship twice but is 0-2 in such title games.

But it is a new year for the UNO Mavericks, and they have plenty of new faces, as well. UNO is currently 2-2 in their nonconference season, with their first win of the year coming against Midland University. UNO won that game 72-53.

Matt Pile led the way for UNO with 22 points on an efficient 10 of 13 shooting. He also leads the team in rebounds with nine this year.

The Mavericks second win of the season was against Bethune-Cookman, where UNO won 90-61. JT Gibson was the star of the night with 26 points on 10-13 shooting and 3-5 from the three-point line.

UNO dominated the paint against Bethune-Cookman, outrebounding them 45-28.

UNO also faced off against a mid-major powerhouse of Wichita State. The Mavericks lost to the Shockers 54-68. The Mavericks kept it close in the first half, 25-31, but the Shockers’ Dexter Dennis torched UNO with five three-pointers, and that was the difference.

UNO was 5-19 from the three-point line against the Shockers, shooting 26%. Meanwhile, Wichita State was slighty hotter, as they shot 11-31.

Turnovers also caused the downfall for UNO against the Shockers. The team gave up the ball 14 times, which was half of Wichita State’s seven turnovers.

The second loss of the season for the UNO Mavericks was handed by Colorado State last Tuesday night. UNO lost 65-80.

UNO, with a halftime score of 35-33, was only down two points. The Mavericks got a big help from the bench against the Rams, as they received 27 points off the bench.

Marlon Ruffin, who came off the bench, had a game-high 19 points and game-high 8 rebounds for the Mavericks.

UNO lost the game in the paint, allowing 34 points under the rim, while only able to get 18 themselves.

UNO faces another great mid-major in the Dayton Fliers on Tuesday in Dayton, Ohio, at 6 p.m. To catch the action, tune in to 1180 the Zone 2.