CONWAY, Ark. — Senior center John Karhoff scored a career-high 28 points and UNO rolled to a season-high point total Saturday in a 104-88 victory over Central Arkansas.
UNO improved to 10-4 by winning for the seventh time in its last eight games. The Mavericks travel next to Hawaii for a game Friday against the Rainbow Warriors.
“All wins are good on the road,” UNO coach Derrin Hansen said. “I thought we had three or four chances to knock them out, but they came back almost every time.”
Karhoff, the 6-foot-8 Omaha Creighton Prep graduate, made 10 of 13 shots from the field, sank all eight of his free throws and pulled down a season-high seven rebounds while handing out three assists. He scored 20 points in the second half, when he shot all of his free throws and went 6 for 6 from the field.
“He played really well,” Hansen said. “He’s been so steady for us, and he was again. We went to him in the second half and he made some big free throws for us down the stretch.”
UNO never trailed against Central Arkansas (2-8), but held off a couple of rallies.
The Mavs jumped out to a 14-6 lead, saw the Bears close within 25-24, but then used a 20-10 burst to lead by as many as 11 in the first half. The Mavs led 50-41 at the break.
UCA pulled within 63-61 with 12:23 left on a basket by Jalen Jackson, but UNO’s Justin Simmons knocked down three 3-pointers in a span of 1:32 to cap a 14-4 run that built the Mav lead to 12 points with 8:30 left. Alex Phillips started that run with a 3.
“Simmons was huge there, and AP making the 3 to start it was huge, because we were struggling at that point,” Hansen said.
Simmons continued emerging from his early-season slump by scoring a season-high 18, including 4 of 7 from 3-point range. CJ Carter scored 12 of his 13 points in the first half, while Marcus Tyus added 11 and Phillips made all three of his 3-point tries while scoring 10.
Simmons is averaging 12.7 points over his last three games. Phillips, for the season, is shooting 53.7 percent (22 of 41) from 3.
UNO shot 62.1 percent (18 of 29) from the field in the second half to finish at 52.9 percent overall. The Mavs made 11 of 22 from 3-point range for 50 percent and shot 87.5 percent (21 of 24) at the free throw line.
“We really shared it,” Hansen said. “We could’ve easily taken a lot of shots earlier in possessions, but we moved the ball and got to better shots, and that led to a lot of good possessions for us.”
Saturday’s game was originally scheduled for early December but was postponed because of an ice storm.
LaQuentin Miles, UCA’s 6-5 senior playing just his second game since regaining academic eligibility, had 28 points, 16 rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block. DeShone McClure added 21 points and Jackson had 15.
“Miles is really talented,” Hansen said. “We struggled to guard him off the bounce. I would have much rather played them in early December.”