OMAHA — Thursday’s game against the University of Nebraska at Omaha was an exhibition game for the Midland University men’s basketball team, but the Warriors didn’t treat it like one.

The Warriors only trailed by nine at halftime before the Mavericks closed out a 72-53 victory.

“We don’t complicate things. It is basketball, and good basketball isn’t labeled by what level you play at, it’s about how you play the game,” Midland coach Oliver Drake said. “I thought tonight, for the most part, other than in a few stretches, we really competed and we really battled.”

The win improves the Mavericks to 1-1 on the season while Warriors remain at 2-2 due to the exhibition classification.

Midland led 4-2 in the early going and never trailed by double-digits in the first half. Fremonter Ryan Williams scored 11 of his team-high 16 points in the opening half.

The Mavericks started fast and widened the gap to 16 in the first few minutes of the second half.

“We had some empty possessions to start the half, and it’s a good, teachable moment for our guys,” Drake said. “Seeing the importance of starting halves and starting games out on the right note is a great learning experience for our group.”

Matt Pile led the Mavericks with 22 points and nine rebounds. Ayo Akinwole added 17 points, 10 assists, and nine rebounds.

Junior Jacob Lenagh added 10 points and eight rebounds for MU. Freshman Kylan Smallwood also had eight rebounds. Laurence Merritt had four assists and and five rebounds.

Midland opens Great Plains Athletic Conference play at 8 Tuesday night against Concordia in Seward.

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