FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Omaha and Purdue Fort Wayne play close games. It is what they do. The average margin of victory in the series has been 5.5 points. Thursday’s (Feb. 20) contest was more of the same with Omaha topping the Mastodon men’s basketball team 61-59.
Omaha’s Ayo Akinwole one-handed jumper on the edge of the paint put the Mavericks up 61-59 with 3.4 seconds left. Purdue Fort Wayne pushed the ball up the court after the made basket but since Omaha had a foul to give, they took it with 1.1 left on the clock. After a timeout the ‘Dons drew up a shot for Deonte Billups. The play was executed well and gave Billups space but his 3-pointer at the buzzer was too strong.
The ‘Dons tied the game at 59 after falling behind by seven with 2:30 left. Jarred Godfrey finished in the paint and then hit a 3-pointer to make it a two-point game at 59-57. Marcus DeBerry came up with a huge steal and a coast-to-coast layup to tie the game at 59 with 24 seconds left.
The game featured 13 lead changes and eight ties. The two teams went to the first half tied at 34. Omaha led by as many as seven in the first and the ‘Dons led by as many as six at 30-24 following a dunk by Brian Patrick at the 5:16 mark.
Matt Holba finished with a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. Godfrey had a game-high 18 points.
The defensive battle saw both clubs shoot just below 40 percent in the game.
Omaha improves to 14-14 (7-6 Summit). The ‘Dons fall to 12-17 (5-9 Summit). Purdue Fort Wayne has the weekend off but returns to action on Wednesday (Feb. 26) against Denver. It will be Senior Night at the Gates Sports Center. Holba and DeBerry will be honored prior to the contest.