HOUSTON — The Omaha men’s basketball team struck for its third straight win to close non-conference play Friday night, downing Rice 83-66 at Tudor Fieldhouse. With the win, the Mavericks improve to 6-7, while the Owls drop to 5-8.
Leaders for Omaha
All five Maverick starters scored in double figures, led by a double-double from Mitch Hahn, who had 18 points and a season-high-tying 11 rebounds with 7-of-15 shooting. Zach Jackson hit 8-of-12 from the field en route to 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists, and JT Gibson was 6-of-10 for 13 points, three boards and three helpers.
KJ Robinson added 12 points, three rebounds and four assists, and Matt Pile rounded it out with 11 points and seven caroms.
Leaders for Rice
Four Owls finished in double figures, paced by 17 points from Chris Mullins. Ako Adams had another 13 points, and Jack Williams and Robert Martin added 12 points and seven rebounds apiece.
Omaha shot .524 (33-of-63) as a team and held Rice to a .351 (20-of-57) effort. The Mavericks had a 42-33 rebounding advantage and limited themselves to eight turnovers, marking their fifth straight game with fewer than 10 miscues.
Inside the First Half
Omaha took an early lead, but Rice managed to go up by one before an Ayo Akinwole free throw tied the game at 14-all. Back-to-back Jackson buckets started a quick 4-of-4 stretch that put the Mavericks ahead 22-17 with 4:51 to go. Rice went without a field goal for the last 3:14, and Akinwole hit the final shot of the half for the second straight game to spot Omaha the lead, 32-24, at the intermission.
Omaha shot .441 (15-of-34) to Rice’s .308 (8-of-26) in the opening 20 minutes, and Jackson was the first to reach double figures with 10 points.
Inside the Second Half
The Mavericks heated up to .621 (18-of-29) shooting in a 51-point second half, with 11 points each from Hahn and Gibson and another 10 from Robinson. A run that started at the end of the first half extended to 12-0 with the help of back-to-back baskets from Hahn and Robinson, which made it 36-24.
After Rice pulled within two, 45-43, with 13:50 to go, a 14-2 Omaha stretch pushed it to 59-45. While Rice went on an eight-minute, 1-of-10 slump from the field, the Mavericks built to their largest lead of the night, 69-51, with just over five minutes to play.
Noting Tonight’s Game
-Tonight marked Omaha’s fourth shooting performance of 50 percent or better.
-Omaha has had five double-figure scorers four times this season.
-The Mavericks’ 51-point second half matches their season-best 51-point half at Idaho (Dec. 15).
-JT Gibson remains the only Maverick to hit a 3-pointer in every game this season.
-The all-time series between Omaha and Rice is now tied at 1-1.
Summit League play starts with the first of three straight home games for the Mavericks, who welcome Denver on Friday, Dec. 28. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Baxter Arena.