WICHITA, Kan. — Papillion-La Vista graduate Ayo Akinwole finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists, but the UNO men lost 68-54 to Wichita State on Tuesday night at Koch Arena in their season opener.
Sophomore guard Zach Thornhill scored a career-high 11 on 5 of 9 shooting, and guard JT Gibson added 11 with a pair of 3-pointers.
“Tonight we had players in new roles and new players playing extensive minutes. I’m very happy with our communication, attention to detail and showing some toughness in a very difficult environment,” UNO coach Derrin Hansen said. “Wichita State is an established, high-level program, and hopefully our group set the bar on what it takes to be successful against an opponent of that caliber.”
Wichita native Matt Pile added 15 rebounds for the Mavericks but was limited to six points on 2 of 7 shooting.
“The defense was good,” Shockers coach Gregg Marshall said. “The job that they did on Pile was excellent.”
Trey Wade, a 6-foot-6 junior college transfer, debuted with a double-double for the Shockers, finishing with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Teammate Dexter Dennis added 17 points and nine rebounds.
Both teams shot less than 40%. The Shockers out-rebounded the Mavs just 44-39 overall but outscored them 15-6 on second-chance points by grabbing 15 offensive rebounds to UNO’s seven. Wichita State also committed just seven turnovers while forcing 14.
Sophomore Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler out of Omaha Central played 16 minutes for Wichita State and contributed two rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot.
The Mavs return home to face Midland at noon Thursday at Baxter Arena.