Norl shines as Omaha falls to Montana State

Photo courtesy OMavs

Kenneth Pancake

In an overtime thriller dominated by missed shots, Omaha men’s basketball dropped their season opener on the road against Montana State, 89-80.

Daniel Norl had his best game, scoring 29 points, along with nine rebounds and a team-leading two steals, shooting 13 for 18. Lamar Wofford-Humphrey, Zach Jackson and Mitch Hahn all scored in double digits, while Hahn earned a double-double with a team-leading 10 rebounds. The Mavericks shot 42.3 percent from the floor, but only scored two 3-point field goals for 20 attempts the whole night.

The Mavs were behind for most of the night and were down by 11 points at one time. Omaha led by a point late in the second half when a foul was called on the away team. Montana State’s Blevins tied the game at 68, and the Mavericks were unable to get a shot off before time expired. MSU opened overtime with a 10-2 start and went on to score six of nine from the floor and make seven free throws to outscore the Mavs 21-12 in overtime.

The Mavericks shot 67 percent from the free-throw line, but a disappointing 10 percent from the arc. They were 0 for 10 in the first half. Hahn, one of the team’s best three-point shooters, was zero for five. KJ Robinson led the team in assists, with 3.

The pace was surprisingly slow, as the Mavericks only scored 68 points in regulation. Omaha had averaged over 80 points a game last season. Known for their fast pace, Omaha was in the top 20 nationwide for possessions per game last season.

Two flagrant fouls were called in the game; one was called on Hahn midway into the second half. Twenty-nine fouls were called on MSU players, while only 18 were called on the Mavericks.

The game was played at Pacific Steel Arena in Great Falls, Montana. Technically a neutral site, MSU’s band and fans filled the stadium with 4,307. No Division I NCAA basketball game has been played in Pacific Steel Arena since the 1950s.

Omaha continues its journey with games against New Mexico Nov. 14, Louisville Nov. 17 and TCU Nov. 20. Fans can visit to learn more about radio and TV coverage.