OMAHA – Historically when Omaha and Purdue Fort Wayne meet, it comes down to the final minutes. Saturday (Jan. 25) night was no exception. The ‘Dons erased a double-digit deficit before falling in the final minutes to the Mavericks 75-71.
Trailing by as many as 13 points in the first half, the ‘Dons got it within striking distance at 39-32 at the break. Deonte Billups was a big reason, he scored the Mastodons’ final six points of the first half.
The ‘Dons knotted up the game for the first time at 44-44 with 14:40 on the clock thanks to a pair of free throws by Josh Inkumsah. The next few minutes featured a 3-point frenzy. Marlon Ruffin made a three for Omaha only to see Brian Patrick respond with one for the ‘Dons. JT Gibson followed with a three and then Jarred Godfrey drained a three to knot the game at 50. The Mastodons’ first lead came at 12:08 when Marcus DeBerry connected on a 3-pointer with the shot clock running down. It put the ‘Dons up 53-50. The scoring came fast the rest of the way with a corner 3-pointer by DeMierre Black putting the ‘Dons up 71-66 with 4:18 left. However, the Mavericks chipped away at the lead and went up for good on a jumper by KJ Robinson with 1:16 left in the game.
Godfrey had a game-high 24 points on 9-of-18 shooting with five assists, four steals and four rebounds. Billups finished with 13 points. Nine different ‘Dons had a field goal in the game.
Gibson led Omaha with 23 points. He helped the Mavericks shoot 50 percent (27-of-54). The ‘Dons shot 48.1 percent (26-of-54).
The Mavericks move to 12-10 (5-2 Summit League). The ‘Dons fall to 9-13 (2-5 Summit League). Purdue Fort Wayne returns to action on Thursday in a home contest against North Dakota. It will be a 7:30 p.m. start at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. The Mastodon women play at 5 p.m.