Justin Simmons scored 25 points, C.J. Carter netted 21 and John Karhoff added 14 points, but Omaha men's basketball fell 96-81 to Oakland on Saturday at the Ralston Arena. The loss ended the Mavs' three-game win streak and dropped their record to 8-17 (5-7 Summit League), while the Golden Grizzlies improve to 11-13 (6-4 Summit League).
After battling back and forth for most of the game, Oakland's dominance in getting to the line proved to make the difference. Omaha made all seven of their free throws, but the Grizzlies were 28-of-38 and drew 23 fouls compared to UNO's 12.
Despite being near the top of The Summit League all season, UNO women's basketball has struggled to find conference success on the road. Prior to Saturday the Mavs had gone 1-4 in league road games, last winning 61-44 at Kansas City over a month ago.
But a 67-63 win at Oakland has pushed UNO back into fourth in The Summit League standings with six games to go. The Mavs get four of those at home, only having to play two more away from the Sapp Fieldhouse.
Women's basketball left the Sapp Fieldhouse Saturday afternoon, heads hung low, disappointed in their performance after a 74-64 loss to conference leader South Dakota State. The loss marked just the third time all year an opponent had come into Omaha and won on the Mavericks' home court.
Before Saturday, UNO had a 10-2 mark at home and was in the midst of a five-game home winning streak. But a 22-7 run over the final 9:16 of the first half turned a three-point Jackrabbit lead into a 15-point lead by halftime. UNO came within nine points twice in the second half but never really recovered from SDSU's big run.
Women's basketball finished the non-conference slate in unusual fashion, smashing Indiana Dabney 83-39 on the road Saturday in a game that was called with two minutes remaining. Leading by 44 the referees called the game due to Dabney's short bench.
UNO men's basketball is last in The Summit League in team defense, allowing 83 points per game. That stat reared its ugly head again in an 84-79 loss Saturday night at Cal State Bakersfield.
A year after Omaha dropped two games to the Roadrunners in 13 days, the Mavs again came up short against Bakersfield. The Roadrunners shot more than 15 points higher than their season average while improving their record to 7-13.
UNO dropped to 5-16 (2-6 Summit League) and allowed Bakersfield to make 53.8 percent of their shots. The Mavs shot an equally impressive 50.8 percent, but came up just short at the end of the game.
Junior guard Justin Simmons has filled a role the Mavs have so desperately needed in 2012/13. The graduation of former leading scorer Mitch Albers left the team without a reliable scorer.
But Simmons has picked up the slack, averaging 14.6 points on the season and 20.5 in his last eight games. Some of that scoring success can be attributed to improving his 3-point shot, something Simmons has been focusing on lately.
Simmons changed his shot back to the form he developed his last year in junior college.
Carolyn Blair-Mobley had one year of eligibility left and a decision to make.
The 5-foot-10-inch forward, originally from St. Paul, Minn., had already played for Cloud County (Kan.) Community College for one season and then at Oklahoma State for two seasons. Her senior season, Blair-Mobley took a break from basketball to earn her degree. But she wasn't quite ready to walk away from basketball.