Derrin Hansen

“We hope that gets us some confidence," UNO coach Derrin Hansen said of the Mavs' win over Washington State.

Derrin Hansen hopes Thursday’s rally at Washington State was more than just the program’s first win over a Pac-12 school.

He wants it to serve as a turning point in his team’s progression.

“We hope that gets us some confidence because we’ve been in other games like that, whether it be Wichita (State) or Dayton or Colorado State,” said the UNO coach, referring to his team’s three road losses this season. “We’ve gotten off to good starts and then when the other team starts to make a run, we didn’t respond and go with them. The other night, we did.”

Washington State, which plays Nebraska on Monday, closed the first half on a 24-8 run to take a 48-35 lead. But the Mavericks outscored the Cougars 50-29 after halftime for their third win against a power conference opponent since joining Division I.

UNO had four players in double figures including KJ Robinson, who scored 18 of his team-high 20 in the second half. The senior guard missed the first three games because of a violation of team rules, but he scored in double figures in both games last week.

“He’s played his role and he’s been fantastic through the whole thing,” Hansen said. “His teammates have been behind him and he’s kept his head up. It was just a matter of time before he got his rhythm, and it was in that half that he got his rhythm back.”

The win came two days after a 25-point loss at Dayton. Dealing with travel and a short turnaround made Thursday’s win even more satisfying.

“To win on the back end of trips is hard. We were able to do that,” Hansen said. “I give our guys credit and now we have to put that behind us and move forward.”

Moving forward, the Mavs host two games in the next two days at Baxter Arena beginning at 7 p.m. Monday against Southern. Hansen described the Jaguars, coming off a 93-86 overtime loss at Nebraska on Friday, as long and athletic. He said that Micah Bradford “shot the leather off the ball” against NU. Bradford, a graduate transfer from Valparaiso, scored a career-high 31 against the Huskers.

Meet the 2019-20 UNO men's basketball team

Gene covers a variety of sports beats for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @geneOWH. Phone: 402-444-1038.

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