Omaha Wins a Thriller and Spoils Fort Wayne’s Second to Last Summit League Home Game

By: Ethan Hennessy

Fort Wayne Indiana

The last twelve games in the Fort Wayne and Omaha rivalry had been decided by single digits with five of them going to overtime. Another overtime thriller was narrowly avoided at the Gates Center on Thursday night as the Omaha Mavericks escaped with a 61-59 win over the Fort Wayne Mastodons.

This game saw 13 lead changes and seven ties throughout the night.  Omaha started the game off strong shooting 53% through the first two media timeouts. The Mavs cooled off though after that. Fort Wayne tied it up heading into the break 34 all.

In the second half it was more of the same back and forth ballgame. Fort Wayne’s first and second string centers Dylan Carl and Cameron Benford both picked up their third foul by the 14:30 mark in the second half which caused coach Coffman to go deep into his bench for big men. Omaha was able to go between the 10:39 mark and 8:49 mark in the second half. This was either teams largest run throughout the game. Fort Wayne did claw back and tie the game on a steal and transition score with under 30 seconds left. Omaha was able to get one final bucket however, and while Fort Wayne had a decent look on their side of the court with 1.1 seconds on the clock the shot was ultimately off the mark.

omahahuddle

Omaha coach Derrin Hansen coaching his team in the huddle during a timeout.

“Its one that my heart is not going to miss, but I am going to miss because I like Fort Wayne and what they do, and I like Jon and his program.” – Omaha coach Derrin Hansen talking about the battles his club has had with Fort Wayne over the years as the Mastodons will depart the Summit League for the Horizon League next season

When I asked coach Derrin Hansen after the game about what needed to change in regards to three point shooting (Omaha went 3-17 against Fort Wayne) in the next game at Western Illinois he said that the team needed to play more inside out basketball, and get more assists on baskets.

For the Mavericks JT Gibson recorded 12 points and three rebounds, and Matt Pile took advantage of the Fort Wayne foul trouble by making is presence felt down low. The big man had 11 rebounds, four points, and three blocked shots. For the dons Matt Holba recorded a double-double with ten points, ten rebounds, and also throwing in two assists and a steal. Jarred Godfrey had a game high 18 points, four helpers, three rebounds, and two steals.

Up next for Omaha they will head to the land of Lincoln to face the Western Illinois Leathernecks at Western Hall in Macomb Illinois on Saturday. For Fort Wayne they will remain at the Gates Center for their final Summit League home game against the Denver Pioneers on Wednesday night.

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