The UNO men ended more than two months of frustration Friday night.
Led by seniors Matt Pile and Ayo Akinwole, the Mavs snapped a 14-game losing streak with a 72-62 win over North Dakota at Baxter Arena. It was UNO’s first win since Dec. 5.
With five regulars sidelined by injuries, the Mavs leaned on Pile and Akinwole as both finished with double-doubles. Pile, playing on a sprained ankle, had 17 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks, while Akinwole had 15 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two steals.
UNO hit 6 of 6 free throws, including four by Akinwole, in the final 24 seconds to secure the victory.
UNO came out of the gate quick as it hit 17 of its first 28 shots to take a 39-23 lead with less than four minutes to go in the first half.
North Dakota responded with a 22-5 run around halftime, taking a 45-44 lead with 15 minutes to go. UNO regained the lead and was up 59-58 after North Dakota’s Bentiu Panoam hit a 3 with 8:55 left.
But the Mavs held North Dakota scoreless for more than seven minutes, getting 3s from Akinwole and La’Mel Robinson during that stretch. North Dakota pulled within 66-62 in the final minute before UNO hit its free throws.
Robinson finished with 16 points, while Nick Ferrarini, Marco Smith and Jadin Booth chipped in eight each.
UNO and North Dakota will play again Saturday at 7 p.m. It will be UNO’s final home game of the season.