TULSA, Okla. — A hustle play sent the Omaha men’s basketball team to overtime with Oral Roberts Wednesday night, but the effort came up short as the Mavericks fell 81-78 at the Mabee Center.
Leaders for Omaha
Matt Pile collected his second straight double-double and his 10th of the season with team highs of 16 points and 10 rebounds. The junior shot 8-of-10 and added three assists and three blocks.
KJ Robinson and Marlon Ruffin followed with 14 points apiece. Robinson added a career-high-tying eight assists, and Ruffin hit four 3-pointers and brought down a season-high-tying eight rebounds with three helpers.
JT Gibson added 12 points and four rebounds, and Wanjang Tut rounded it out with 11 points, eight boards, three blocks and two assists. Zach Thornhill also grabbed a career-high nine rebounds and had six points.
Leaders for Oral Roberts
Kevin Obanor had a double-double of his own with 24 points and 15 rebounds, and Deondre Burns contributed another 18 points. Emmanuel Nzekwesi finished with 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
Omaha outshot Oral Roberts 42.1% (32-of-76) to 41.1% (30-of-73) and outrebounded the Golden Eagles 45-36. ORU finished 83.3% (15-of-18) at the line to Omaha’s 77.8% (7-of-9).
Inside the First Half
An early 8-0 run put Omaha ahead 12-5 less than six minutes into the game, but ORU got back within striking range and pulled in front 17-16 with nine minutes to go. The half included eight lead changes and 10 ties, and the game sat locked at 35-35 at the break.
Pile, who came out with six minutes remaining after picking up a pair of fouls, was 6-of-6 from the field for 12 points and five rebounds to start.
Inside the Second Half
A 12-0 run gave ORU its largest lead of night at 54-43, but a Gibson three staunched it and ignited an 11-0 Maverick run to lock the game at 54-all.
Another Gibson triple with 4:36 to go spotted Omaha a 64-59 advantage before the Golden Eagles went on a 5-0 spurt to tie it again at 64-64 with less than three minutes left.
The Mavericks went then up by five again after an Akinwole jumper and another Ruffin trey, but Sam Kearns hit a contested three out of the timeout to cut it to 69-67. Burns evened the game at 69-69 with 28 seconds left.
After a Maverick turnover in the waning seconds of regulation, Akinwole raced to the other end and snatched the ball from Nzekwesi, sending the game to an extra period.
The Mavericks never led in overtime, though they knotted it a final time at 71-all.
With Omaha threatening at 79-78, Burns went to the line for a pair of free throws and extended the ORU lead to 81-78. Omaha’s final 3-point attempt missed with eight seconds to go, and the Mavericks were unable to get another shot off before time expired.
Noting Tonight’s Game
-Omaha is now 12-14 (5-6 Summit League) on the season, while Oral Roberts improves to 13-12 (6-6). ORU is 10-1 at home.
-KJ Robinson has scored in double figures in nine straight games, tying his season-long streak.
-Matt Pile has scored in double figures in eight consecutive contests.
Omaha returns to action on Sunday, Feb. 16, welcoming Denver to Baxter Arena at 4:30 p.m.