Maverick Maniac's Musings

February 2, 2013

2012-13 Omaha Men’s Basketball – Game #24 Recap – Fort Wayne

Filed under: Men's Basketball,Omaha Mavericks,Recaps — Jon Green @ 3:24 am

There’s a buzz forming around the Mavericks and it’s about the men’s basketball team. Picked to finish last in the Summit League Omaha has instead won three straight games and find themselves at 5-6 and in 5th place. Oakland is up next and with another win, Omaha would be in 4th place.

Thursday night was Fort Wayne and the Mavericks avenged an earlier loss by shooting the lights out in the 2nd half. Omaha went 18-23 in the 2nd half (16-19 from inside the arc), an amazing 78.3% which was their best half in over ten years. It allowed Omaha to overcome a five point halftime deficit on the way to a seven point win. The Mavericks also gave up nine offensive rebounds in the 2nd half on 19 opportunities to allow Fort Wayne to put up 38 points despite going 12-29 from the field.

This was definitely a game of halves and runs and momentum. In the first half Marcus Tyus was the man for Omaha scoring 16 points on 6-9 shooting and being the Mavericks go to scorer. Justin Simmons went 0-3 with six turnovers and had just a single point in the 1st half. Frank Gaines had 19 at the half and added twelve more with 9:40 to go. Omaha finally tightened down on him, Justin Simmons started playing tight defense on him, and Gaines went 0-2 from that point adding his 32nd point on a FT with 1:23 left.

Omaha turned to Justin Simmons who had five points with 9:05 left. Over that nine minute span he exploded scoring eight straight to start and eighteen in total to push himself to 23 points for the game and push Omaha well ahead and give them the margin they needed after Fort Wayne got going and nearly pulled back into it.

Simmons ability to score 23 in a game he really struggled in is incredible. He’s a freakish athlete who made several incredible plays in the 2nd half including a fantastic finger-roll. He’s nearly impossible to stop right now for opposing defenses and Omaha is getting their reward. Simmons was not recruited by other D1 schools and honestly I didn’t think he was going to be the right fit at the beginning of the season. He struggled in some of those games but Omaha was patient as he figured out better how to play with this team and now it looks brilliant as he is their go-to scorer and taking that role on perfectly. Credit to Derrin Hansen and his staff for seeing the potential Simmons had and figuring out how to unleash it.

CJ Carter won’t get as much attention as the others since he scored only seven but he also grabbed eight rebounds (all on defense) and six assists to help balance out Omaha. Carter has done a good job letting other scorers have their roles and is the kind of player who can pick up slack wherever Omaha needs it. He’s also able to play a lot of minutes, 30 or more in nine straight games.

Marcus Tyus has shown some flashes of brilliance this year and Thursday was definitely one of those games. He went 8-12 and really looked in rhythm. I wonder if he could have carried Omaha down the stretch and there were times I think he really wanted the ball but was never getting a chance. He’ll get those in a few years when he’s a senior and trying to lead Omaha to the NCAA tournament, but for now Simmons is that man.

Gaines did go off for the 32 points and nine rebounds for Fort Wayne but they held Michael Kibiloski to 12 points and Luis Jacobo to 16. Fort Wayne missed Mario Hines inside, but you have to play the team in front of you.

It was a big win for Omaha, they have now beaten all of the Summit League teams except the top four (North Dakota State, South Dakota State, Western Illinois, Oakland). Omaha might not beat one of those four this year, but Oakland on Saturday is their best shot. Even if they don’t beat one of those four Omaha has shown they can play with any of the other four teams and with two more years of being ineligible for the postseason they can see they aren’t all that far from competing for an NCAA tournament berth that season.

If Coach Hansen can recruit solid players to join the team over the next few seasons and they are playing just a bit better than this, Omaha will go to Sioux Falls in March 2016 knowing they are three wins from their first ever NCAA tournament berth and knowing they can beat any of the teams. It really isn’t even a stretch to see Omaha being that good in three years. That’s what the last three games have shown. Hope and a great sign that Omaha’s on the right path.

It was Over When: I was sweating a bit when Alex Welhouse missed the three with sixteen seconds left, but Justin Simmons made a nice defensive play and got the rebound to secure the win.

Player of the Game: Marcus Tyus with his first POTG nod. the 22 points came on 8-12 shooting and 3-5 on FTs. Only one rebound but two steals and no turnovers. Simmons had seven turnovers or he would have gotten this.

Season Total:
Justin Simmons (6)
John Karhoff (5)
Matt Hagerbaumer (4)
Alex Welhouse (4)
Alex Phillips (1)
Caleb Steffensmeier (1)
CJ Carter (1)
Marcus Tyus (1)

Player Ratings (Positionally Adjusted Win Score):
Jacques Coleman – 4.735
Marcus Tyus – 2.344
C.J. Carter – 1.833
Justin Simmons – 1.539
Caleb Steffensmeier – 1.105
Alex Phillips – 0.849
John Karhoff – 0.690
Alex Welhouse – 0.183
Matt Hagerbaumer – (-0.581)

Jacques only played four minutes but made his only shot, grabbed a rebound, had a steal, had an assist and turned it over. Busy four minutes.

Season Total:
Matt Hagerbaumer – 1.318
Justin Simmons – 1.147
Marcus Tyus – 0.981
Alex Welhouse – 0.976
Caleb Steffensmeier – 0.773
C.J. Carter – 0.730
Alex Phillips – 0.700
John Karhoff – 0.557
Koang Doluony – 0.380
Jacques Coleman – 0.321
Simon Krych – (-0.092)
Tyler Egli – (-0.206)

Tyus up from 0.880 to 0.981… 3rd on the team now!

Team Ratings: Pretty quick game. Omaha was good offensively but not the best in the world. Encouraging to see another game where they needed to buckle down some defensively to win.

Omaha shot outstanding but had some problems with turnovers and rebounding. Good FT Production rating too.

Possessions: 77
Offensive Points per Possession : 1.12
Defensive Points per Possession : 1.06
eFG%: 68.6%
Turnover Rate: 23.5%
Offensive Rebounding: 11.1%
Defensive Rebounding: 68.6%
A/B%: 40.6%
Floor%: 49.3%
FT Prod: 31.4

Response to 3 things to watch:
1) Frank Gaines vs. Justin Simmons –
So Gaines went for a career-high (tied) 32 points and Simmons had “only” 23… yet the defensive work that Simmons did on Gaines in the 2nd half certainly made a difference. It was a fun matchup to see both of these scorers on Thursday.

2.) Rebounds – In the first matchup Omaha only grabbed 37% of the available boards and only 52% of the available defensive rebounds. This time it was 44% overall and 62.5% of defensive rebounds. A nice improvement from the first game and one that probably made the difference between a win and a loss. Yes Fort Wayne missing Mario Hines explains a lot of this.

3.) Bench – Fort Wayne got only ten points off their bench. Some of it was due to injuries, but it was still a big factor in the game. Omaha got the 22 out of Tyus and 26 overall. Omaha’s bench scoring for the most part consists of Marcus Tyus and he came through on Thursday.

Prediction Response: I was way off. I said Omaha 86-81 and it was 86-79. Meh.

Upcoming Opponent: Oakland on Saturday. Going to be an enormous game and I hope the crowd realizes how big this is. The atmosphere deserves to be fantastic and if the team starts well I think the fans will get behind them again and really make for an exciting afternoon.

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