OMAHA, Neb. — The Omaha men’s basketball team remained a perfect 4-0 at home Thursday night, defeating Montana State 84-71 at Baxter Arena.
Leaders for Omaha
Junior Zach Jackson registered his fifth 20-point scoring performance and third straight double-double with a game-high 25 points, shooting 9-of-12 from the field with three 3-pointers. He also pulled down 10 rebounds and grabbed four steals, the latter of which tied a career high.
Sophomore JT Gibson added 18 points, three rebounds and four assists, and senior Lamar Wofford-Humphrey pitched in a season-high 15 points with four boards and a helper. Freshman Matt Pilerounded out the double-figure scoring performances with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting alongside five caroms, a block and a steal.
Senior Daniel Norl also had seven points, four rebounds and a game-high and career-best seven assists, and freshman Ayo Akinwole, who made his first career start, added six points, a season-best five rebounds and three assists.
Leaders for Montana State
Keljin Blevins had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Harald Frey led the Bobcats with 20 points with the help of four treys. Joe Mzuezolo Jr. (16) and Konner Frey (10) also scored in double figures.
Omaha shot lights out at .585 (31-of-53) while holding MSU to .366 (26-of-71) for the night. The Bobcats had a slight 40-37 advantage on the glass, but Omaha held a 46-30 edge in the paint.
Inside the First Half
Montana State opened the game 0-for-8 from the field but responded with a 7-0 run to take a 10-9 lead. The score stalled three times up to 18-18, after which Omaha built a 9-0 run of its own to go up 27-18 with just over five minutes to the break.
Jackson led the first-half charge with a 6-of-7 showing from the floor with three triples, accounting for 15 points, six rebounds and two steals. The Mavericks, who shot .667 (18-of-27) in the first period, closed the half on a 23-10 run, capped with a Jackson trey at the buzzer that put them up 41-28.
Inside the Second Half
The Mavericks took their largest lead with 8:01 to play, when a Gibson jumper made it 71-49. It was Omaha’s last bucket before a seven-minute stretch without a field goal, which finally ended with a layup from senior Daniel Meyer with 51 seconds remaining. Gibson finished with 14 points in the second stanza on 5-of-9 shooting, while Jackson was 3-for-4 for 10 more points.
With the win, Omaha improved to 4-11 on the season, while Montana State dropped to 7-6.
Noting Tonight’s Game
-Omaha has won three of its last four games.
-Tonight’s win avenged an 89-80 overtime loss to the Bobcats that opened the season Nov. 10.
-Jackson’s 17th point of the night — a layup four minutes into the second half– put him at 700 career points in his 78th game as a Maverick.
-Jackson has led Omaha in scoring in 10 games this season.
-Omaha has now shot .500 or better as a team seven times this year.
Omaha opens Summit League play on Saturday, Dec. 30, visiting Oral Roberts. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. in Tulsa, Okla.