By Andrew Nelson
Last week the Omaha men’s basketball team traveled to Columbia, Missouri for their third and final game against a power-five conference opponent.
The Mavs came up short the previous two tries on the road losing by five to Colorado, and by three to Minnesota. Unfortunately that trend continued last Wednesday night as UNO fell in single-digits once again to the Southeastern Conference’s Missouri Tigers (5-3), 85-78.
The game was close towards the beginning of the first half, even tied at 16 apiece at one point, before the Tigers strung together a 12-0 run leaving the Mavs scoreless for more than five minutes.
Seniors Jake White and Kyler Erickson nailed a pair of free throws each to bring the deficit to just seven entering the half. The Tigers outshot the Mavs nearly the entire game, but nothing like the first half where they hit 50 percent of their shots compared to 33.3 percent of the shots put up by Omaha.
The Mavericks’ offense looked more alive in the second half led by Jake White who scored 14 of his 18 points and nabbed six more rebounds to finish with a double-double (18 points, 10 rebounds), his second of the season.
Omaha out rebounded Missouri 22-13 in the second half, but it was the turnover bug that diminished UNO’s chances. The Tigers converted 10 Maverick turnovers into 16 points for them as they kept a slim margin ahead for the remainder of the game.
An Omaha run of 7-0 brought the Mavs within five with about eight minutes to go in the game, before Kevin Puryear ended the run and increased the Tigers’ lead with a bucket of his own. Junior Tra-Deon Hollins started his own run scoring six to the Tigers’s two that after a White bucket made it a six-
point game with just over a min-ute to go. The Tigers fended off the Mavericks late rally and held a minimum seven-point lead for the remainder of the game.
Fellow senior Devin Patterson scored 17 points and had a pair of steals to go along with White’s
double-double performance. Hollins recorded 13 points and three steals in the loss. Omaha dropped to 4-5 on the year and will be back in action Wednesday, Dec. 16 against Simpson College, a D-3 school from Iowa at Baxter Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.