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UNO, Chris Crutchfield earn home opener win over Idaho

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Full Chris Crutchfield press conference after loss to Nebraska

UNO never trailed Sunday afternoon in giving Chris Crutchfield his first win as Mavs coach as they held off Idaho for a 79-72 win.

"It's special after coming home from Kansas and Nebraska, being able to do it in front of our fans," said Crutchfield, whose team lost its first two games last week on the road to the Jayhawks and Huskers. "We had a good crowd and they got into the game at the end when we needed them to."

Crutchfield was pleased how his team played for about the game's first 30 minutes. UNO dominated the first half, leading 46-26 at halftime as it shot 56.7% from the field.

"I couldn't ask for a better 20 minutes to start the game," Crutchfield said.

The lead was 58-44 with 10 minutes left before Idaho chipped away, cutting it to 71-67 with 1:20 left. But the Mavs hit their last eight free throws in the final 1:33, including six by sophomore Frankie Fidler.

Idaho was within 75-72 with 21 seconds left, but two Fidler free throws and his breakaway dunk just before the buzzer secured the win. ​Fidler scored 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

"We're a young basketball team and a lot of young teams may have folded and let that game get out of hand," Crutchfield said. "I like our toughness, I like our resolve."

Marquel Sutton added 16 points — 13 in the first half — and eight rebounds, while J.J. White had eight points, six assists and no turnovers for UNO, which will host Ball State on Wednesday.

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