Indianapolis, IN – Marcellus Barksdale did it all for IUPUI, leading the team with 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting in addition to his five rebounds, two assists and three steals. Matt O’Leary scored 11 points for IUPUI and Mason Archie and Jordan Pickett both scored 10 points. Evan Hall only contributed four points, but added nine rebounds including eight on the offensive end. Omaha was led by Devin Patterson with 24 points and Tre’Shawn Thurman with 21.
IUPUI trailed by as many as seven points in the first half, but took the lead back before going to halftime tied 33-33. The game remained close throughout the second half, but the critical stretch came with about 10 minutes to go after Barksdale hit a pair of free throws to cut the Omaha lead to 51-49. Tra-Deon Hollins immediately responded with a layup to push the lead back up to four points and IUPUI went scoreless over a four-minute stretch and fell behind by a game-high nine points.
Barksdale broke the scoreless streak with buckets on three straight possessions capped off by a steal and transition layup with 5:24 to go to pull back within two points, 57-55, but Omaha made another run. Patterson made a layup and drew a foul on Barksdale. He converted at the line and then found Kyler Erickson for a 3-pointer on the next possession to go up 63-55.
IUPUI got the lead back down to two points in the final minute after a pair of free throws from Archie with 24 seconds left, but Omaha finished 5-for-6 from the line as IUPUI was forced to foul the rest of the way.
After giving up just 33 points at halftime, assistant coach Matt Crenshaw said the team hoped to keep Omaha under 70 for the game and to commit no more than four turnovers, but they gave up 43 second-half points and turned the ball over eight more times.
A 2-0 start after the ugly non-conference portion of the season would have been a huge confidence boost for IUPUI, but the good news is that the offense seems to have gotten on track. They had an off 3-point shooting night, but took only 15 shots beyond the arc and shot just under 45 percent overall. They also dominated in the paint, outscoring Omaha 48-34. In nearly all of IUPUI’s losses this season, they took more than 20 3-pointers and got dominated in the paint.
Now 1-1 in Summit League play and with two road games out of the way, IUPUI will play five of their next seven games at home. They’ll host South Dakota State in their conference home opener this Thursday at 7 pm ET.