The UNO men’s basketball team wasted no time Saturday afternoon doing what it was expected to do.
The Mavericks scored the first 21 points and led by 32 just 12 minutes into the game as they cruised to an 86-36 victory over Iowa Wesleyan at the Ralston Arena.
“We had the intensity up right away,” said UNO junior forward Mike Rostampour, who finished with a game-high 13 points and eight rebounds in 14 minutes. “The guards were pushing it, the bigs were rebounding. That’s what good teams do, and we did it right away the first 10 minutes.”
Iowa Wesleyan is a provisional member of NCAA Division III after formerly competing in NAIA Division II. It marked the first game this season that UNO (5-3) played a non-Division I program.
“I told our guys you can’t categorize opponents,” UNO coach Derrin Hansen said. “We probably could have been not as sharp or disciplined and still won by a decent margin, but I’m not sure that makes us any better.
“I thought our guys started off really well today. We were disciplined defensively. I thought we rebounded well. And then our bench played well.”
UNO made 8 of its first 11 field goal attempts and led 21-0 following Matt Hagerbaumer’s dunk with 13:17 left in the half. After a basket by Iowa Wesleyan, which had missed its first 11 shots, the Mavericks scored the next 13 points to lead 34-2 at the 8:17 mark.
UNO’s lead was up to 51 points midway through the second half.
What pleased Hansen even more was that the Mavs didn’t commit a turnover until three minutes into the second half. They had 13 assists on their 22 first-half baskets and finished the day with 23 assists and six turnovers.
“We really shared it,” Hansen said. “I thought we played the right way today.”
Iowa Wesleyan coach Todd Lorensen, a former UNO assistant, was impressed by what he saw from the Mavs.
“You can tell they’re really confident in who they are and what they want to do,” Lorensen said. “The execution, everyone being on the same page, you can tell these guys have played together for a couple of years.”
None of UNO’s starting five played more than 14 minutes. The starting five of Rostampour, John Karhoff, Devin Patterson, CJ Carter and Marcus Tyus combined to go 16 of 22 from the field and had 10 assists and one turnover.
Guard Justin Simmons came off the bench and scored eight points in nine minutes. Simmons, a second-team All-Summit League selection last season, had missed the previous two games after hurting his back in the opening minute of the South Carolina State game on Nov. 19.
“We liked what we saw from Justin,” Hansen said. “He’s still a little sore. But I was happy to get him in, get him in the flow of the game.”
Simmons said his back is about “75.8 percent” healthy.
“It’s good to play again,” he said. “It gets tight sometimes, but I can walk now. I couldn’t walk at first. I feel a lot better.”
Hansen said Simmons will likely get a few more minutes Tuesday when the Mavs host Waldorf College, an NAIA school from Iowa.