MORAGA, Calif. — The Omaha men’s basketball team battled but came up short Sunday night at Saint Mary’s, falling 75-66 at McKeon Pavilion. The Mavericks are now 5-4 on the season, while the Gaels improve to 8-1 with their seventh straight win.
Leaders for Omaha
JT Gibson led the Mavericks with 16 points on four 3-pointers. Zach Thornhill hit 5-of-6 from the field for 13 points, and KJ Robinson tallied his fifth straight double-figure effort with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting.
Leaders for Saint Mary’s
Malik Fitts had a double-double with 12 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks.
Tanner Krebs led all scorers with 19 points via five triples, and Jordan Ford was close behind with another 18 points. Kristers Zoriks (11) and Aaron Menzies (10) also scored in double figures.
Omaha shot 44.3% (27-of-61) to Saint Mary’s 50.8% (30-of-59). The Gaels had a 35-29 rebounding advantage and outscored Omaha 36-24 in the paint.
The Mavericks committed a season-low eight turnovers.
Inside the First Half
Omaha was hot out of the gate, hitting 4-of-4 from the field to start. Gibson canned three from long range in the first five minutes, which helped the Mavericks to a 13-7 lead. But Saint Mary’s rallied with a 17-2 stretch that pushed it in the Gaels’ favor, 24-15, with under 10 to the break.
A Thornhill three from the right corner put Omaha back on top, 30-29. The Mavericks outscored Saint Mary’s 14-6 over the last 5:19 for a 39-35 edge at the halfway point.
Inside the Second Half
The Gaels tied it up out of the break, but a Robinson bucket in transition put the Mavericks back on top, 43-41. Omaha went ahead for a final time when Marlon Ruffin nailed a triple at 48-46 with 14 minutes left.
But Saint Mary’s later used a 13-3 run while hitting 6-of-6 from the floor to surge ahead 62-54 — a spurt that was stopped with a Robinson lay-in at 6:50. The Gaels never let Omaha back under seven the rest of the way.
Omaha cooled to 34.4% (11-of-32) shooting in the second half, while Saint Mary’s hit at a 53.6% (15-of-28) clip.
Noting Tonight’s Game
-Saint Mary’s leads the all-time series with Omaha, 1-0.
-The Mavericks are 0-4 against WCC competition.
–JT Gibson now ranks 35th in school history for career scoring (1,020 points).
Omaha continues its four-game road swing on Tuesday, Dec. 3 with a trip to Arkansas State. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at First National Bank Arena in Jonesboro, Ark.