The Omaha men’s basketball team fell to Montana Saturday by a 68-47 final and lost their first game of the Big Sky/Summit League challenge. Turnovers and missed shots proved to be costly for the Mavericks, as they had 18 turnovers and shot just 33.3 percent from the field.
After a slow start on both sides, Montana took control with an 18-2 run and held an early 19-5 lead. The Mavericks struggled during that stretch and made just two of their 17 shots. The run was ended when Nick Ferrarini hit a three-point shot for his first points of the season.
However, Omaha made the most of their final three possessions and found a rhythm to end the half. Kyle Leudtke continued his hot start from behind the arc this season and sank a three-pointer with 1:15 left in the half. The Mavericks were just six for 26 shooting in the first half, but half of those baskets came in the final two minutes.
Akol Arop had the highlight play of the night for the Mavericks with a put-back dunk after a Wanjang Tut miss five minutes into the second half. Arop continues to be a difference-maker this season for Omaha. His dunk brought the Mavericks to life and started to build some momentum.
Omaha looked to be on the verge of making a comeback bid and cut the Montana lead to 12 — but the Grizzlies caught fire from deep and ended it before it could begin. The Grizzlies controlled play from there.
Omaha had a pair of seniors make their season debuts, as Tut and Ferrarini both appeared in the game off the bench. Tut was unable to score, but he finished with two rebounds and a block. He was also a focal point of the offense while he was in the game. Ferrarini had a solid night shooting the ball. He went two for four from behind the arc and contributed 10 points in the contest, which was tied for the team high.
Felix Lemetti had another solid outing for the Mavericks with 10 points and five rebounds, both of which were season highs from the Swede. Leudtke played a season-high 30 minutes, scored nine points and grabbed a team-high six rebounds off the bench. Dylan Brougham also made his first start of the season following his four-block performance against Kansas State.
For the Grizzlies, Josh Bannan recorded a double-double and led Montana in points (24) and rebounds (12). Brandon Whitney also scored 13 points and played a team-high 37 minutes. The two shot a combined 14 for 23 from the field.
Omaha (1-3) will look to recover after three consecutive losses. They’ll play at Texas Tech on Nov. 23 before facing No. 6 Purdue on Friday, Nov. 26.
The Mavericks will then return home and play their first game of the year at Baxter Arena on Nov. 30 against SIUE.