The Huskers always seemed to be around the ball, creating great opportunities close to the basket and forcing fouls against the Mavericks.
Maybe that had to do with the fact that junior center Aleks Maric was back in theHusker line-up after missing NU's two exhibition games against Nebraska-Kearney and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. NU was a different team with Mr. Maric back holding things down in the middle.
Nebraska-Omaha head coach Derrin Hansen said Maric made a huge difference.
"He obviously makes a huge difference for the team. They shot a lot of 3s in the first two exhibition games. Tonight, they shot 10 because they could really go in and play inside-out on him," he said.
The 6-11, 270 Maric towered over Nebraska-Omaha and used his size and strength to overpower the Mavericks finishing with 29 points and ten rebounds.
"I just came out and played. I love playing the game. They don't just have to ride me but we have to ride each other. If we all give into that and everyone does their role than we got a good chance to do something here," said Maric.
In contrast to the last game against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, the Huskers with Maric were able to get good looks close to the basket. Maric helped open up the outside shot and dribble penetration by Jamel White who finished with 18 points including 8-10 from the free throw line.
White added 11 points and was five for five from the free throw line in the first half.
In the second half, the Huskers started to pull away, leading by as many as twenty points.
NU head coach Doc Sadler used a new face off the bench in Nick Krenk and Choul Laam but it was mainly an eight man rotation of Maric, White, Sek Henry, Charles Richardson Jr., Mike Smith, Kris Douse, Jim Ledsome and Ryan Anderson.
The Huskers shot a solid percent from the field at 56.5 percent after shooting only 29.1 percent against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville last Saturday night.
Sadler was pleased overall with his team's performance and having Maric back in the line-up.
"This basketball team has to have everybody. We're not even close to having everybody but you can tell how one or two guys can make a difference. No question the best effort that we've given. For the most part we played with more confidence which allowed us to compete more aggressively. I really haven't felt we done that in the first two ball games and that wasn't my players fault, that was more my fault," said Sadler.
Nebraska-Omaha was led by
freshman guard Andrew Bridger.
Bridger, a former two-time all-conference and all-state selection from