Nevada (4-7) had the ball with 40 seconds left and the game tied at 80. It put the ball in the hands of its best player, Deonte Burton, who finished with 22 points. Burton, however, was off on a long two-point shot and Omaha’s (8-3) CJ Carter finished a tough layup with .8 seconds to seal the game.
“Today just wasn’t our day,” Nevada senior Jerry Evans Jr. said.
Evans Jr. was untouchable in the first half, scoring 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting. The senior was much less of a factor in the second half, scoring only five points and hitting the first of his two second-half shot attempts.
Nevada trailed 74-65 with 6:27 left before going on an 11-0 run to take lead -- one of 11 lead changes in the game -- with 2:31 left on an Ali Fall jumper. Omaha tied the game three times after the Fall deuce before Carter’s game-winner.
Sophomore Lucas Stivrins started his first game for Nevada down low and was limited, scoring just two points. Fall’s bucket with 2:31 accounted for his night of production as he fouled out while being on the floor for only 15 minutes.
“We didn’t have enough depth. We didn’t have enough inside,” Nevada coach David Carter said. “When Lucas (Stivrins) gives you two and all he gives you is two, it’s not enough.”
The Nevada interior struggled defensively as well as Omaha big man John Karhoff turned in a game-high 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting.
As a team, the Mavericks shot 51 percent from the floor and hit 21-of-30 shots from the free-throw line. Nevada hit 44.8 percent of its shots and connected on 20-of-26 free throws.
The Mavericks shot particularly well behind the arc before missing shots late and settling with 44 percent (11-of-25) 3-point shooting for the game.
Nevada went on its first run of the second half at the 17-minute mark, a 9-0 swing, to snag a 56-52 lead. The Mavericks responded with a 9-2 run of their own to swing the lead back in their favor before the late-game antics.
“I thought defensively, could it have been better? Yes,” Carter said. “You wanted to get some stops when we needed to. We didn’t. We (struggled) inside so I told the guys you have to keep your head up. You have to keep working hard and get ready for the next one.”
Hampered with depth issues, the Nevada bench provided just six points on 3-of-13 shooting. Michael Perez (17 points) was the only other Nevada player -- other than Burton and Evans Jr. -- to finish in double digits. Five Mavericks finished in double figures.
Nevada led by as much as six, midway through the first half, before going to the locker room tied at 41.
The loss dropped Nevada to 1-3 within the suddenly not-so-friendly confines of Lawlor Events Center. The Wolf Pack will play two more home games -- Iona on Dec. 22 and Long Beach State on Dec. 28 -- before opening Mountain West play New Years Day at San Jose State.