If Mitch Hahn had any more clutch in him, he’d be a ’72 Corvette Stingray.
Why do I say that? Because he has hit game winner after game winner for the Mavericks this season. His legend began in Grand Forks on Jan. 10, and it continued for the remainder of league play.
On the morning before UNO’s opening game in the Summit League Tournament, it could be that even more are on their way; however, while you wait, here is a ranking of his best shots within the final two minutes of regulation this season.
4) Fargo, North Dakota at North Dakota State, February 23
Technically, this shot was not a game-winner or a buzzer beater; however, it still counts as a clutch shot.
With the minutes ticking down against the Bison of North Dakota State, Omaha was down on the road. With a regular season championship in Omaha’s sights, the Mavericks knew they needed to win this and their additional two games in league play to lock up the one seed (ultimately, this effort failed when UNO lost to Oral Roberts in their next game). UNO had one problem: they were trailing.
With just under six minutes remaining in the game, Omaha took a one-point lead from KJ Robinson’s three-pointer to make the score 46-45. But North Dakota State’s Vinny Shahid immediately responded by draining a three-ball of his own which swung the momentum (and the lead) back into the Bison’s favor.
Zach Jackson was the Maverick that responded with a three-ball of his own to push the score to 49-48 in Omaha’s favor. With 1:44 remaining in a very tight game, it was Mitch Hahn who drained the next shot (also from beyond the arc) to expand the lead to four points. UNO went home with a win.
3) Vermillion, South Dakota at South Dakota, February 7
Unlike number four, this shot (and every shot hereafter) made the Omaha win possible.
UNO played the South Dakota Coyotes at the Pentagon at the beginning of February. Technically, this was a neutral site game; however, realistically, the crowd was full of South Dakota fans. Despite that, Omaha led the game by as many as 18 points in the second half. That’s when things got exciting.
South Dakota managed to erase their deficit and take the lead within the final minute. Down three, the Mavericks needed a long-range bomb to get a chance at overtime. With just six seconds remaining, Hahn took the only shot possible. Since the Pentagon is the home of an NBA developmental league team, the college three-point line and the professional three-point line (which is farther from the rim) are both etched onto the court. Hahn shot from NBA range, and he canned the tying stroke to bring the game to overtime. The Mavs would go on to win it.
2) Grand Forks, North Dakota at North Dakota, February 3
The North Dakota Fighting Hawks had led for the entire game until three and a half minutes remained. A Jackson jumper gave Omaha an 85-84 lead – but it wouldn’t last long. The score came to 90-89 in North Dakota’s favor with moments left to play. KJ Robinson dished out the pass to an open Mitch Hahn, and Hahn hit the three-pointer to take a two-point lead. Omaha went on to win that game as well.
1) Baxter Arena vs. South Dakota State, February 14
The game had been hyped all week as Omaha’s biggest home game of the regular season. A top-ranked South Dakota State was coming into Baxter Arena to play a second-ranked Omaha, and this game had the potential to decide who would win the regular season championship. Having lost to the Jackrabbits by ten points earlier in the season, the Mavericks knew they had work to do against the perennial Summit League leaders.
Naturally, the game came down to the final play. South Dakota State’s Mike Daum (multiple-time conference player of the year) drained two free throws with 5.7 seconds remaining on the clock. This gave the Jackrabbits a one-point lead, 84-83. Omaha took two timeouts and prepared a final play.
The ball was inbounded to Mitch Hahn (who else?) from Omaha’s own baseline. Simply put, Hahn took it down the court and drained a buzzer-beating baseline fadeaway to win the game in front of Baxter’s largest basketball crowd ever. Of course, the moment is much better if you just watch it yourself.