MACOMB, Ill. — The Omaha men’s basketball team rattled off its third straight win Saturday afternoon, topping Western Illinois 93-86 at Western Hall. With the victory, the Mavericks improve to 15-14 (8-6 Summit League), while the Leathernecks drop to 5-19 (2-12) with their ninth consecutive loss.
Leaders for Omaha
Marlon Ruffin’s season-high 30 points off the bench paced Omaha, as he exploded for 11-of-15 shooting, including 4-of-5 from deep, and was a perfect 4-of-4 at the line. The sophomore added seven rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block in the first 30-point performance for a Maverick this season.
JT Gibson was 4-of-6 beyond the arc, finishing with 19 points. KJ Robinson added 18 more with a team-leading five assists, and Wanjang Tut chipped in another 10 points in 13 minutes of action.
Kyle Luedtke matched Ruffin on the glass, collecting a season-high seven boards.
Leaders for Western Illinois
Kobe Webster finished with a game-high 40 points on 15-of-24 while hitting five 3-pointers to lead the Leathernecks. Anthony Jones added 13 points and seven rebounds, and Zion Young had 11 more points. Kyle Arrington grabbed a game-best 10 boards.
Omaha shot 50.8% (33-of-65) with nine 3-pointers, while WIU finished at 49.2% (30-of-61) with 12 threes. The Mavericks outrebounded the Leathernecks 35-34 and outscored them 40-30 in the paint.
Omaha also committed a season-low three turnovers, its lowest total since Feb. 28, 2019 at Oral Roberts. It outscored WIU 17-0 off miscues.
Inside the First Half
Omaha started the afternoon 7-of-9 from the floor, helped by Gibson opening 4-of-4 from the field for 10 points in the first nine minutes. Tut and Matt Pile found themselves in early foul trouble with two apiece in the first three minutes, but the Mavericks managed to build to their largest lead of 12 when a driving layup by Ruffin made it 35-23.
Omaha then went quiet and was held to just four points in the final 4:48 of the half, but still led 41-39 at the break. Ruffin and Gibson were both 5-of-7 in the opening 20 minutes, putting up 13 and 12 points, respectively, while Webster had 17 for WIU.
Inside the Second Half
The Leathernecks outscored Omaha 9-2 to start the second half as the Mavericks fell behind 48-43. Omaha tied it at 49-all on a Ruffin three from up top, then regained the lead for good at 55-53 on a Tut jumper with 13 minutes to play. Back-to-back Gibson threes pushed the lead to 66-59.
Omaha was up 74-72 with under six to play when Ruffin came up big with a putback, a layup and a triple to singlehandedly extend the advantage to 81-72. It started a 14-5 burst that pushed the lead to double digits again, 88-77, with under a minute to play.
Noting Today’s Game
-Omaha has won 10 of the last 12 meetings with Western Illinois, including eight straight.
-The Mavericks have four straight wins when games are set in Macomb.
-Omaha’s 93 points marked its highest scoring total of the season.
Omaha plays its home finale on Wednesday, Feb. 26, welcoming North Dakota to Baxter Arena at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on YurView Cox Channel 13, ESPN+ and Midco, and Gary Sharp and Kyler Erickson will have the radio call on 1180 Zone 2. Links to live video, audio and stats will be available on OMavs.com.