University of Nebraska at Omaha students were spoiled with a lot of free perks Thursday night. Students received free Godfathers pizza, T-shirts and even gift cards, but they all received a bonus privilege that was not on the schedule: free basketball.
Forty minutes were not enough for UNO and Oral Roberts to dictate the winner of the men’s basketball game Thursday, so the two faced off in overtime. After going on a 14-3 run in overtime, the Mavs pulled away against the last place Golden Eagles and won the game 83-76.
After dropping the first game to their foe, UNO bounced back from a two-game losing streak and improved to 14-13 on the year, landing them tied for fourth place in the Summit League.
The Mavs trailed by two points at halftime, but bounced back and forced the game into overtime. In the five extra minutes of play, the Mavs outscored ORU 16-9 and took this one home to even the series on the year. Head coach Derrin Hansen noted in his post-game press conference the intensity of the whole game.
“It was back and fourth, back and fourth,” Coach Hansen said. “A lot of big plays. A lot of chess.”
Omaha natives Tra-Deon Hollins and Tre’Shawn Thurman shined on the offensive end for the Mavs. Hollins played a team high 41 minutes, led the team in points with 24 and was a rebound shy of a double-double. Thurman scored 19 points and hit 50 percent of his shots, and also controlled the glass with 10 boards. The junior forward modestly noted in his post-game press conference how the whole team aided in the win.
“We just played a good all-around game as a team,” Thurman said. “We had a lot of guys score for us and everything went well for us.”
Senior guard Marcus Tyus recorded 17 points and also made half of his shots. Sophomore guard Zach Jackson logged in 34 minutes and scored 13 points in the process. UNO’s bench was a little quiet on the night, but sophomore Mitch Hahn notched seven points and eight rebounds coming off the bench.
The win puts UNO tied with Fort Wayne for fourth place with a conference record of 7-7. With just two games remaining in the regular season, the Mavs have hopes of finishing around the top of the conference at second or third, just in time for the Summit League Tournament. Hollins mentioned that the team’s mentality is a win or go home mindset.
“Every game has to be like that. A lot of teams are going to be fight-ing for spots or are going to want to change the seeding,” Thurman said. “Even though the Summit League Tournament is March 4th, it’s already started for us.”
The Mavs next game will be on the road against third place Denver Wednesday. The team will wrap-up the regular season at home during senior night in the Baxter Arena against first place North Dakota State Saturday. These games pose a great opportunity for the team to climb the rankings to earn a higher seed for the conference tournament on March 4-7.
Finishing the season at home against the top team in the conference should account for a great game and a good finish for the team. Though it will be the seniors’ last night playing in Omaha, expect them to step it up a notch for the hometown fans. Hollins mentioned after their win against ORU that he’s happy to be apart of the UNO community.
“We gave a great team effort and the crowd did a wonderful job,” Hollins said. “I’m just proud to be a Maverick.”