Mike Rostampour always has his power switch dialed up to maximum.
So is it any wonder that the UNO forward, playing in an 11 a.m. weekday game against an NAIA opponent, was the dominant player on the floor in the early moments of the Mavericks’ 86-62 victory over Peru State on Wednesday?
Rostampour had eight points and four rebounds in the first four minutes as the Mavs struggled early before finishing the first half on a 34-6 run before 258 at Ralston Arena.
“Mike is always ready to go,” UNO coach Derrin Hansen said. “He’s the one who kind of got us over the hump early.”
The Mavs (14-9), playing a Peru State team that had lost 80-40 at South Dakota on Tuesday night and then arrived in Omaha at 1 a.m. Wednesday, led just 14-13 after eight minutes.
“I thought we were ready, but I thought Peru State did a good job of playing tough right away and not backing down,” Rostampour said. “That was a good fight by them. We just had to punch back.”
At one point, Rostampour was 5 for 5 from the field. The rest of the team was 1 for 11.
Maybe no one was sharp. Leading 16-13, Hansen asked for a timeout — while Peru State had the ball.
And the referees mistakenly granted the Mavs the timeout.
“Homecourt advantage maybe,” Hansen said, shaking his head. “Maybe that’s me not thinking all the way straight. Maybe it was a little early for me, too.”
Rostampour, a junior who is 6-foot-8 and 230 pounds, had a career-high 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds while making all 10 of his field goal attempts. CJ Carter added 18 and Justin Simmons had 10. Matt Hagerbaumer, a 6-7 forward, made all four of his field goal tries.
The Mavs played without backup guard Jalen Bradley, who was in a protective walking boot after injuring his left foot in practice earlier this week.
“It could go one way or the other, we just don’t know yet,” Hansen said. “We’re waiting.”
Peru State, which counts both the South Dakota and UNO games as exhibitions, is 9-12 on the season. Leading scorer Nate Bohy, averaging 20.4 points, was limited by a rib injury. Taylor Christensen, a 6-7 forward who is third on the team in scoring at just over 10 points, was limited to 19 minutes because of an ankle injury and scored 12.
“We made them call a couple of (first-half) timeouts to change things, and that’s a positive,” Peru State coach Troy Katen said. “They really changed their defensive mindset, had to put a little more pressure on us. We had way too many turnovers (28), but they did a great job of forcing them.
“This will help us the rest of the season. When we executed, especially the second half, we made good adjustments to their pressure, rebounded better and played with more confidence.”
During its decisive first half run, UNO scored 15 straight points to make the lead 41-17. UNO led 48-19 at halftime.
And it wasn’t anything schematic, Hansen said.
“We control our intensity and we control our effort,” Hansen said. “At times today we were pretty good at it, and at other times, we probably weren’t where we want to be.”
Peru State outscored the Mavs 43-38 in the second half while shooting 69.2 percent (18 of 26) from the field.
“It was a good game for us,” Hansen said. “We got a lot of different looks from different guys, a lot of looks from different combinations, we looked at a lot of things defensively that we don’t normally do. You can teach and correct in practice, but today we were doing some things on the run. We probably gave up more than we’d like, but we were trying to practice those things when the bullets were flying.”