GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The Omaha men’s basketball team erased a 14-point first-half deficit and punctuated it with a clutch three from Mitch Hahn with eight seconds left Thursday night, earning a 92-91 win over North Dakota at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. The Mavericks are now 9-8 (3-1 Summit League) on the season, while the Fighting Hawks drop to 7-10 (1-3).
Leaders for Omaha
Matt Pile had a career-high 20 points with 10 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the year and his second in as many games, hitting 8-of-14 from the field. Hahn’s second double-double of the season came on 17 points, a season-high-tying 11 boards and two assists, and his only 3-pointer of the night was the go-ahead triple in the closing seconds.
Zach Jackson added 15 points, six rebounds and two assists, and JT Gibson chipped in 13 points, two boards, two assists and a steal.
Leaders for North Dakota
Conner Avants scored a game-high 24 points with six rebounds, and Aanen Moody hit six 3-pointers en route to 18 points. Cortez Seales (16) and Kienan Walter (14) also finished in double figures.
North Dakota shot .500 (32-of-64) for the night, ahead of Omaha’s .470 (31-of-66). The Mavericks, however, outshot UND from distance and at the line and outrebounded the Hawks 42-31, including 15-9 on the offensive glass. Nineteen Omaha points came on second looks.
Inside the First Half
A slow start plagued the Mavericks in the first half, and UND came out firing at .563 (18-of-32). The Hawks built to a 10-point advantage five minutes in, and the lead swelled to their largest of 14 by 12:01 at 26-12. The lead hovered in double digits up to 1:55, when a Brett Barney three sparked a 7-0 Maverick run late to cut it to four. A pair of foul shots from Ayo Akinwole closed out the half, as Omaha trimmed the UND advantage to 50-46.
Inside the Second Half
Pile came out strong to start the second half with eight straight points, followed by a Gibson layup to make it a one-point game at 57-56. The Hawks pushed their lead to eight seven times over the half before Omaha kicked into gear. A 7-0 Maverick run from 6:12 to 4:54 again brought it to a one-point game at 82-81.
The Mavericks, who trailed for the first 36 minutes, finally took their first lead with 3:36 left on a Jackson jumper in the paint that made it 85-84. Omaha and North Dakota then traded the next six buckets, the last of which saw Hahn step up and can the game-winning trey on the dish from KJ Robinson to put Omaha up 92-90. After a missed UND three, Avants drew the foul from Akinwole, making his first free throw but missing his second for a 92-91 final tally.
Noting Tonight’s Game
-Omaha has won eight straight in the series against North Dakota and is 4-0 in the Division I era.
-Omaha teams in the Derrin Hansen era have overcome a double-digit deficit 28 times, including 16 in the Division I era. Tonight’s effort ties for the 10th-largest comeback of any Hansen team.
-The Mavericks have worked past a double-digit deficit twice this year — the first on Nov. 20 at Bethune-Cookman.
-Mitch Hahn has scored in double figures in seven straight games.
-JT Gibson remains the only Maverick to hit a 3-pointer in every game this season.
-Omaha has won six of its last seven games since Dec. 15.
Following a weekend off, Omaha returns to action on Thursday, Jan. 17 at Western Illinois. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. in Macomb, Ill.