Nebraska-Omaha shot over 60 percent from the field and got 30 points from Mitch Albers in a 100-68 men’s basketball win over Concordia on Monday evening in Omaha. Division I UNO, who will compete in the Summit League starting next year, improved to 1-1 on the year with the victory.
UNO started the game on fire from the field. The Mavericks opened the game 5-of-5, including three 3-pointers. Concordia hung in there with a 3-pointer by Beau Smith (McKinney, Texas) and a pair of dunks by Porter Birtell (Madison, Neb.), but the Mavericks held a 17-9 lead at the first media timeout.
UNO continued to take advantage of hot shooting from deep and points in transition to extend the lead to 31-11 with just under 12 minutes remaining in the half. Trailing 33-13, the Bulldogs scored five straight, including a 3-pointer by Tyler Byrd (Bennington, Neb.), to pull back within 15 at 33-18 with eight minutes left in the first half.
Out of a timeout, UNO scored the next five points to reclaim a 20-point lead at 38-18. Both teams struggled from the field down the stretch of the first half, but Concordia trimmed the UNO lead to 14 at halftime. A pair of free throws by Joel Haywood in the closing seconds (Lakewood, Colo.) made the score 44-30 at intermission.
The Mavericks were 16-of-29 from the field in the opening 20 minutes for 55.2 percent. UNO was 5-of-11 from deep and 7-of-9 at the foul line. John Karhoff and Mitch Albers each poured in 10 points to lead the way for UNO in the first half.
Concordia was 9-of-32 from the field (28.1 percent) in the first half, including just 3-of-11 from deep. The Bulldogs got to the line 12 times in the opening half, connecting on 9-of-12 for 75 percent. Smith scored nine points to lead the team, while Birtell scored six and added seven boards for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs scored the opening points of the second half to trim the lead to 12 at 44-32. That’s as close as Concordia would get, however, as the host Mavericks again rebuilt a 20-point lead at 60-40 with 15 minutes left in the contest. Albers took over for the Mavericks early in the half, scoring seven of the first nine for UNO.
UNO continued to pull away as the half went on. The Mavericks led by 20 or more for the final 15 minutes and settled for the 100-68 victory.
For the game, UNO was 38-of-62 from the field for 61.3 percent. The Mavs were 11-of-22 from deep and 13-of-16 from the free throw line for 81.3 percent. Defense continued to be an issue for Concordia, something Coach Schmidt discussed following the game.
“You’re not going to win many games when you give up 50 points in a half,” remarked Schmidt. “They have a great team and they shot it well tonight, but we didn’t contest and challenge them the way we needed to.”
Albers had a huge night for UNO in the win. He scored a game-high 30 points on 12-of-13 shooting from the field. Albers also handed out a game-best seven assists on the night. Karhoff added 15 on 6-of-7 shooting. Caleb Steffensmeier was 4-for-4 from long range and finished with 12 points, while Alex Welhouse added 11 points and a team-high eight boards.
Concordia was 22-of-63 from the field for the game for 34.9 percent. The Bulldogs were just 6-of-25 from long range and 18-of-23 from the foul line for 78.3 percent. Smith and Haywood scored 15 points apiece for the Bulldogs. All of Smith’s made field goals were from deep. Birtell added 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, while Charles Dunbar (St. Louis, Mo.) added eight points off the bench for Concordia.
“This was a chance for our kids to play against a great team and to see where we need to improve heading into conference season,” added Schmidt. “Moving forward, we simply need to be more physical and figure some things out defensively.”
The Bulldogs open conference play on Saturday at Mount Marty College.