Bench play and hot shooting propel UND past NAU
Senior Jamal Webb led a season-high five players in double figures with 15 points and was 3-for-3 from beyond the arc as UND (8-10, 5-3 BSC) won its third straight for the first time this season. Webb scored all 15 of his points in the second half and helped lead a UND bench effort that outscored the Lumberjacks' reserves (8-11, 5-3 BSC) 45-15 in the contest.
Three of the double-figure quintet came from the bench for UND as Cole Stefan added a season-high 13 points and Jaron Nash caught fire in the second half to add 12.
Starters Aaron Anderson and Ryan Salmonson rounded out the double-figure scorers with 13 and 10 points, respectively. Salmonson's point total was a career-high for the JUCO transfer.
"We need to get this one today with what lies ahead on the road for the next two weekends," UND head coach Brian Jones said. "It wasn't our best effort defensively, but our energy was high throughout the game and our bench was fantastic yet again.
UND did not have an answer early for NAU's inside play as the Lumberjacks made their opening seven field goals of the game and led 15-13 behind a dunk by Len Springs.
Max Jacobsen, who had a game-high 19 points, gave NAU a 21-20 lead midway through the first half, but that would be the final one of the contest for the visitors.
Five different UND players scored field goals during a 12-2 run that stretched the lead out to 32-23 and the home team would go on to hold a 43-36 edge at the half.
Stefan had 11 of his season-high point total at the half by drilling all three of his long-distance attempts. Anderson also had three first-half triples as UND went 8-for-12 from beyond the arc and finished 13-for-23.
NAU put a little scare in the home team by opening the second half on an 8-2 run to cut its deficit to 45-44, but UND would respond following a technical foul on Jones during that stretch and reel off the next nine points.
Webb found Nash for a thunderous alley-oop then capped the spurt with his first of three second-half treys. Webb and Stefan, who had a career-high five helpers, accounted for nine of the team's season-high 17 assists as UND only turned the ball over seven times.
Nash would put his team ahead by double figures with a 3-pointer at the 13:30 mark and NAU would never get the deficit back to single digits.
Senior Troy Huff finished with eight points and moved into fifth-place on UND's all-time scoring charts. He moved past former UND and NBA legend Phil Jackson on the list.
UND will now embark on a four-game Big Sky road swing that begins Thursday at Eastern Washington. Tipoff in Cheney is scheduled for 9:05 p.m. CT.
-- UND --