Photo: Courtesy of Omaha Basketball Twitter
Omaha (7-7, 1-0) shot 54.0% from the field and 47.8% from three- point-land (on 11 of 23 shooting) to handily defeat Denver (5-10, 0-1), 91 to 84, to open Summit League play.
The first five minutes were even at Omaha’s Baxter Arena. Then, a hot shooting Joe Rosga reeled off seven points in the middle of the frame to build a 19-11 Pioneer advantage at 11:24. From there on, poor interior defense and five 3-point buckets allowed the Mavs back into the contest. A Zach Jackson layup knotted the game 28-28 at 4:53. The teams traded points until Omaha’s Mitch Hahn hit a 3-point shot and a layup to give Omaha a 3-point lead with two minutes to go. A KJ Robinson bucket-and-one gave the Mavs a 4-point lead heading into the break, 41-37. Denver’s defense was poor, especially in the second half of the period, allowing clean 3-point looks and easy inside buckets. Omaha’s 6 first half turnovers kept Denver in the contest.
In the first three minutes of the second half, Omaha built a 54-42 lead capped by a KJ Robinson layup. Denver trailed the rest of the game. A Donoven Carlisle layup at 15:20 closed the gap to 54-50 but clean looks by Omaha from inside and outside never allowed the Pioneers to get closer. Omaha coasted to the final score, 91-84.
— Omaha Basketball (@OmahaMBB) December 29, 2018
The good news was the offensive play of Ronnie Harrell, Jr. on his return to Omaha with 25 points and Joe Rosga with 19 points. Denver also out-rebounded the Mavs 40-29 – but hot shooting by Omaha and shaky defense by Denver spelled the final outcome. Denver was slow on switches and allowed inside drives by the Mavs who controlled the lead for over 26 minutes. And, as has been the case this season and last, Denver led in turnovers 13-9.
Denver faces Western Illinois 3:30 PM MT in Macomb, Illinois Sunday.