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UNO Men beat Purdue Fort Wayne on Akinwole game-winner

UNO Men beat Purdue Fort Wayne on Akinwole game-winner

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Ayo Akinwole’s game-winning basket with 3.4 seconds left lifted the Omaha men’s basketball team to a 61-59 road victory over Purdue Fort Wayne Thursday night at Gates Sports Center.

With their second straight win, the Mavericks improve to 14-14 (7-6 Summit League), while the Mastodons drop to 12-17 (5-9) with their third consecutive loss.

Leaders for Omaha
KJ Robinson and JT Gibson finished with 12 points apiece to pace the Mavericks offensively. Wanjang Tut and Darrius Hughes added an identical eight points each.

Matt Pile, who was limited after running into foul trouble in the first half, collected a game-high 11 rebounds with three blocked shots, an assist, a steal and four points.

Akinwole finished with six points and three steals.

Leaders for Purdue Fort Wayne
Jarred Godfrey led all scorers with 18 points, and Matt Holba had a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.

Team Stats
Omaha shot 38.8% (26-of-67) and just 17.6% (3-of-17) from beyond the arc, while Purdue Fort Wayne finished at 38.9% (21-of-54) from the field and 23.3% (7-of-30) from long range. The Mastodons had a 40-36 advantage on the glass.

Omaha limited itself to 10 turnovers, while the Mastodons committed 19 miscues.

Inside the First Half
Omaha led early, and after a 6-0 run, took an 18-11 advantage, which proved to be its largest of the game. The Mavericks remained in the lead until 7:45, when Fort Wayne surged and went ahead 23-22. The Mastodon run stretched to 10-2 to make it 28-24 with 6:43 to the break.

Back-to-back Robinson buckets finally stopped the run and brought Omaha back within a field goal, and an 8-0 spurt eventually put the Mavericks ahead again, 34-32. The game sat tied at 34-34 at the half, with Robinson credited for a team-leading nine points.

Inside the Second Half
Omaha led 59-52 with 2:30 left in the game, but five points from Godfrey and a steal and a layup by Marcus DeBerry tied it at 59-59 with 24.7 seconds left.

Following a Mastodon timeout, Akinwole drove in, pulled up and hit a four-foot jumper with 3.4 seconds left for the game-winning bucket. Fort Wayne attempted one final three, which missed as Omaha sealed the win.

Noting Tonight’s Game
-Omaha has won six straight in the all-time series with Purdue Fort Wayne and seven of the last eight.
-The last eight games against the Mastodons have been decided by six points or less.
-Tonight’s win snapped a four-game road losing streak for Omaha.
-The game was the final regular-season meeting for the two teams as members of the Summit League.
-Omaha and Purdue Fort Wayne combined for 13 lead changes and seven ties.

Up Next
Omaha concludes its road trip on Saturday, Feb. 22, visiting Western Illinois. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. at Western Hall in Macomb, Ill.

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