Young Gauchos Fall to Omaha, 74-60

Christian Terrell (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Christian Terrell (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Nebraska-Omaha ended the first half on a 10-0 run to turn a 30-24 deficit into a 34-30 halftime lead and never looked back in a 74-60 over UC Santa Barbara on Saturday afternoon. 

The Mavericks (1-0) continued the rally with a 15-5 start to the second half, taking a commanding 49-35 lead over the Gauchos (0-1). 

"Omaha is a very, good, experienced and well-coached team," said UCSB head coach Bob Williams. "But we didn't help ourselves with all of the turnovers we had. They scored the last 10 points of the second half and a lot of that was because we just didn't take care of the ball." 

The Gauchos had four of their 18 turnovers in the final 3:40 of the first half. 

Santa Barbara was led by Ami Lokaju and Gabe Vincent who each had 12 points. It was a career-high for Lokaju. Eric Childress added 10 points. 

"Ami was very active today and that's the way he's been practicing," Williams said. "He is playing with more confidence now than at any point since he's been here and that's exciting." 

The Mavericks had four players in double-figures led by power forward Mitch Hahn who had 15 and made five three-point baskets. Tre'Shawn Thurman and Zach Jackson each added 14. 

"Having a four-man who can stretch the zone like Hahn did is a big time weapon," Williams said. "We will look at the film and make adjustments. This is a very inexperienced team and we'll get better. We know there is going to be growing pains, we just hope they're not too painful." 

Four Gauchos were playing in their first NCAA Division I game on Saturday. Freshman Christian Terrell had nine points, four assists and two steals. Clifton Powell, Jr., another freshman, had four points and two steals. Jalen Canty, a transfer from the City College of San Francisco started at the center position, scoring five points, collecting four rebounds and blocking a pair of shots.

"Those guys are all going to be very good," Williams said. "It will take some time, but as they get used to playing with our returning players I think we have a chance to be a very good team."

The Gauchos never seemed to get into a flow on the offensive end against an experienced Omaha team. Both teams made 24-of-60 shots overall, but the Mavericks had a 9-5 advantage in three-pointers and a 17-7 advantage from the free throw line. UCSB was just 5-of-23 from three-point territory, 21.7%

The Gauchos remain at home for one more game before embarking on its first road trip of the season. They will host the University of San Francisco on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 7:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome.