Despite an 80-point second half, the Omaha men’s basketball team’s 2015-16 campaign came to an end Wednesday night, as the Mavericks fell 120-112 at Duquesne in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) at the A.J. Palumbo Center. UNO finishes the season at 18-14 (10-6 Summit League), while the Dukes advance to the CBI quarterfinals with a record of 17-16 (6-12 Atlantic 10).
Six Mavericks scored in double figures, led by senior guard Devin Patterson’s game-high 37 points with a career-high six 3-pointers and 13-of-14 shooting at the free throw line. The Portsmouth, Va., native added five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Senior guard Tim Smallwood joined Patterson with a career-high 20 points on a career-best six 3-pointers, adding two rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Senior forward Jake White added 15 points and four rebounds, while senior forward Randy Reed II had 13 points and four boards with 4-of-6 shooting from the field and a flawless 5-of-5 showing at the stripe. Junior guard Tra-Deon Hollins also had 11 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and a pair of steals, and sophomore forward Tre’Shawn Thurman added 11 points, a game-best seven rebounds and three assists for the night.
Duquesne had six double-figure scorers: Derrick Colter (28), Jordan Robinson (17) Eric James (16), L.G. Gill (16), Micah Mason (16) and Darius Lewis (10), Robinson, Colter and Mar’Qywell Jackson each pulled down a team-best six rebounds, and Colter added nine assists.
Omaha trailed the entire game, as Duquesne came out on a 7-0 run and led 16-5 by the first timeout. After a 3-pointer by senior guard Kyler Erickson got UNO back under 10, the Dukes scored eight unanswered points and led by double digits for the remainder of the half. Colter knocked down a 3-pointer at the buzzer, giving DU its largest lead of the game, 51-32, at the intermission.
A wild second half saw the Mavericks score 80 points, improving from a dismal 26 percent shooting performance in the first 20 minutes to 57 percent in the second stanza, which was spurred by 13 3-pointers. Duquesne, however, shot at a 76 percent clip in the high-scoring affair, which made the difference.
The Mavericks came out firing to start the half, hitting six of their first nine from the field. With 7:37 left, White drained a triple to pull Omaha within three, 78-75, but Duquesne took off from there. A 13-2 DU run was finally cut off with a Patterson jumper with 4:26 to go, and the Mavericks faced a 91-79 deficit.
The Dukes held a double-figure advantage until UNO hit the century mark on two Patterson three throws, making it 109-100 with 1:20 to play. A Smallwood triple then got Omaha within six at 109-103, and after a series of foul shots, another 3-pointer by Patterson brought it to 112-107 with 42 seconds left. While Patterson hit 5-of-5 at the stripe in the closing minute, the Mavericks went 0-for-4 from long range in the final 38 seconds, and Duquesne hit eight of its final 10 free throw attempts to hold on in the 120-112 decision.