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Redshirt freshman Shane Benton scored a career-high seven minutes in UND's thrilling 81-79 victory over Northern Arizona on Saturday.
Game Notes: UND opens second half with Weber State
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Updated: Monday 01/29/2013 17:03:52 (ET)
by Ryan Powell, UND Media Relations
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GRAND FORKS, N.D. - UND returns home following one of its most thrilling victories in the Division I era to play a pair of Big Sky opponents this week. Weber State is the first one as the Wildcats are set to play for the first time in Grand Forks. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

UND VS. WEBER STATE SERIES

All-time: Weber State leads 1-0
In Grand Forks: First Meeting
Division I: Weber State leads 1-0
UND Head Coach Brian Jones vs. Weber State: 0-1
Weber State Head Coach Randy Rahe vs. North Dakota: 1-0

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IN THE PAINT...
• The Green and White will look to use the momentum gained from an 81-79 victory on the road at Northern Arizona this past Saturday. The Lumberjacks jumped out to a 34-12 lead just over eight minutes into the contest, but UND would swing the game in its favor thanks to a 32-11 run to start the second half.
• Junior Troy Huff scored a season-high 26 points in the victory and it was his putback with three seconds remaining that provided the winning basket. He made a career-high 11 field goals in the contest and led UND in rebounding (8) for the fifth straight game.
• Junior Josh Schuler reached double figures with 13 points, including nine in the second half. Senior Mitch Wilmer added 10 points and five rebounds.
• The only two underclassmen on the active roster provided a spark off the UND bench as well. Sophomore Lenny Antwi went 3-for-4 from 3-point range to finish with nine points, while redshirt freshman Shane Benton chipped in with a career-high seven points.
• The 22-point deficit was the largest overcome in a victory during UND’s Division I era.
• With the win at NAU, head coach Brian Jones tied former NBA coaching legend Bill Fitch for fifth on the all-time career wins list at UND with 94. Fitch went 94-45 from 1963-67.• It was the second Big Sky road win of the season for UND, who leveled its Big Sky record at 5-5. The Green and White are currently tied for fourth in the league standings with Sacramento State and Southern Utah.
• Revenge will also be a motivating factor for UND after Weber State won the first matchup between these teams 95-63 in Ogden. Weber State trailed early thanks to seven quick points by junior Aaron Anderson, but after his 3-pointer put the visitors up 7-5, the Wildcats responded with a 28-5 run that put the game out of reach.
• Anderson finished with a then career-high 23 points against the Wildcats (since exceeded with 25 vs. Portland State; Jan. 19).
• Anderson was held to seven points in the win at NAU, but the junior dished out a career-high 10 assists.
• The Lumberjacks were one of three Big Sky teams that the Green and White had never played prior to this season. The other two squads were Southern Utah and Weber State.
• With his season-high point total, Huff averaged 25.0 ppg and 8.5 rpg in the two road games last week. He scored a game-high 24 points and added nine rebounds against Sac State, but UND could not overcome a 15-minute field goal drought that spanned the final seven minutes of the first half and opening eight minutes of the second half.
• A fast start by UND put the visitors ahead 24-12 midway through the opening 20 minutes, but the Hornets took advantage of the field goal drought to turn the game in their favor. Sac State outscored UND 24-4 during that 15-minute stretch. 
• Huff maintained his scoring lead in Big Sky play, improving his average in those contests to 20.1 ppg. He has reached 20-plus points in five of his last six contests (22.8 ppg).
• With the road win at NAU, UND is now 4-1 since Huff moved back into the starting lineup for the first time since the season opener vs. K-State. He missed the next eight games with a broken jaw and came off the bench during his first four games back.
• UND leads the Big Sky in free throw shooting in league games at 78.8 percent and trails only Montana (76.5 percent) and Portland State (75.1) in overall games (74.9 percent).
• Schuler leads the club and ranks second in league play with a 89.3 percent foul clip (25-for-28). Anderson is fourth at 86.3 percent (63-for-73), while Wilmer is seventh at 83.3 percent (35-for-42).
• Anderson leads all Big Sky players with 63 free throws made in league play, which is five more than the next closest competitor - Montana’s Will Cherry (58).
• Anderson has 91 makes overall from the free throw line. His charity stripe work has accounted for just over a third of his team-leading 266 points (34.2 percent).
• Junior Jamal Webb continues to lead the Big Sky in steals after netting four in the win over the Lumberjacks. It marked the 10th time this season he has had three or more steals in a contest. He leads in the Big Sky in overall (2.6 spg) and league (2.5 spg) games.
• With three assists against NAU, Webb moved closer to seventh place on UND’s all-time career chart for that category, pushing his tally to 308.
• Huff  and Anderson are not far behind Webb in the steals department for  league games. Huff is second at 2.4 spg, while Anderson is tied for seventh at 1.4 spg.
 
MORE IN THE PAINT
• UND improved to 2-8 on the road with its thrilling win at Northern Arizona on Saturday. The team came in shooting just 35.9 percent from the floor in road contests, but shot a season-best 54.4 percent away from The Betty in the contest.
• UND improved to 6-3 at home with its three-game win streak following a loss to Montana on Jan. 10. The win over Portland State (Jan. 19) was its last at home. UND went 13-1 at The Betty during the 2011-12 campaign.
• UND suffered another injury to a starter in the NDSU game (Dec. 9) as power forward Brandon Brekke left the game after taking an inadvertent elbow to his head. Brekke played just three minutes against the Bison. As a sophomore in UND’s 59-54 victory over the Bison, Brekke scored a game-high 17 points.
• Brekke returned against Bowling Green on Dec. 28, but only logged five minutes of playing time. He did pull down four rebounds in his limited action, but did not make the road trip to Idaho State and Weber State and missed the games vs. Montana and Montana State at home this past weekend.
• His basketball activities have increased this week, but his game status is still to be determined.
• Wilmer and junior Alonzo Traylor both posted their first career double-doubles in the team’s Big Sky debut at Southern Utah (Dec. 17), but the T-birds were able to hold off the visitors with a 10-for-12 stretch at the foul line down the stretch.
• Wilmer scored 15 points and added a career-best 11 rebounds, while Traylor came off the bench to score 13 points and equaled Wilmer’s rebounding total.
• Unfortunately for Traylor, the double-double was the last action of the season for the JUCO-transfer, who is academically ineligible for the second semester.
• With his 18-point, 11-rebound effort vs. Eastern Washington, Huff now as two of the team’s four double-doubles this season. He also had 14 points and 12 rebounds in the win over Bowling Green (Dec. 28).
• Huff earned the program’s first Big Sky Player of the Week (Dec. 31) accolade for his efforts against the Falcons - just his second game back from the jaw injury. He picked up his second weekly honor on Jan. 21 after helping UND post wins over EWU and Portland State.
• The Big Sky is the third conference that UND has been affiliated with since the program begin in 1904. At the Division II level, UND was a member of the North Central Conference from 1922 to 2008. After spending one season as an independent during its first season of Division I play in 2008-09, UND spent the next three seasons in the Great West Conference.
• With the addition of the Thunderbirds and UND, the Big Sky basketball playing members grew to 11 this season. Southern Utah played last season in the Summit League, while UND wrapped up a three-year run in the GWC.
• The top seven teams from the regular season will all advance to the Big Sky Conference Tournament where, if they do advance, UND would have a crack at earning its first NCAA Tournament berth. UND won the GWC Tournament in 2011 and 2012 anda advanced to the CIT Postseason Tournament both seasons.
• Senior Jordan Allard played in his 100th career game at Southern Utah (Dec. 17). The Fargo native is the active career leader in that category for UND.
• Allard corralled a career-high equaling 10 rebounds in the win over Idaho State (Jan. 3). He also added five points as the UND bench outscored ISU’s 23-6.
• Jones has four starters back and six of his top seven scorers from his 2012 Great West Conference Tournament championship team. The seventh-year head coach will have to replace second team All-Great West performer Patrick Mitchell, who averaged 10.4 ppg and 4.4 rpg during his final season with the program.
• The 2011-12 squad posted a 17-15 record and earned an automatic berth to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament for the second consecutive season. UND lost at Drake, 70-64, in the opening round of postseason play.

OPPONENT PREVIEW: WEBER STATE
• Head coach Randy Rahe is in his seventh season at Weber State and his squads have won a trio of Big Sky titles in that span.
• The Wildcats arrive in Grand Forks for the first time looking to snap a two-game losing streak.
• Weber State had won nine straight and opened Big Sky play at 8-0 before losing at Montana State (Jan. 24; 79-74) and at Montana (Jan. 26; 76-74).
• These squads met for the first time on the hardwood earlier this season when Weber State jumped out to a big lead and never looked back in a 95-63 win on Jan. 5
• The Wildcats have won five road games this season, which is tied with Montana for the most among Big Sky schools.
• Weber State is the league’s top scoring team in overall (77.4) and league games (76.8) and, subsequently, are the top shooting team in the league as well. The Wildcats are connecting on 50.2 percent of their field goal attempts, while holding opponents under 30 percent.
• Junior Davion Berry (14.1 ppg) and senior Scott Bamforth (13.5 ppg) are the leading scorers for the Wildcats, who also top the Big SKy charts in field goal percentage (50.2).
• Berry and Bamforth combined for 39 points in Weber State’s home win over UND (Jan. 5).
• The Wildcats shot 64 percent in the first half of that victory, outscoring UND 46-21.
• Forward Kyle Tresnak led WSU with 22 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the floor. Tresnak has upped his averages to 14.2 ppg in Big Sky games and a team-best 6.1 rpg.
• Forward Frank Otis leads the Big Sky in field goal percentage at 65.7 in overall games and 69.2 in league games.

LAST TIME OUT
UND 81, Northern Arizona 79 (Jan. 26) • Flagstaff, Ariz.
Junior Troy Huff’s putback with three seconds remaining lifted North Dakota to a dramatic 81-79 victory over Northern Arizona on Saturday in a wild Big Sky basketball game at the Walkup Skydome.

Huff finished with a season-high 26 points and UND (8-11, 5-5 BSC) somehow found a way to erase a 22-point first-half deficit and overcome a 35-point outing by NAU senior Gabe Rogers to move back to .500 in Big Sky play with the road win. The Lumberjacks fell to 7-13 and 4-6 in league play.

Things appeared bleak early on as Rogers helped stake his team to a 34-12 lead midway through the first half as NAU opened the game making 15 of its first 20 shots from the floor.  He finished with 17 first-half points as the Lumberjacks shot 62.5 percent in the opening 20 minutes.

UND would begin to chip away at the deficit with a strong finish to the first half, closing it on a 24-13 run. Senior Mitch Wilmer, who finished with 10 points, had six points during that stretch as the visitors pulled to within 11 points at the break. Antwi had two 3-pointers and Benton added five points in the first half to help aid the rally.

After watching the Lumberjacks’ scorching start to the first half, UND responded with one of its own in the second half by starting 13-for-14 from the field. The quick start allowed UND to build a double-digit lead of its own before NAU tied things up down the stretch.

SACRAMENTO state SNAPSHOT
Sacramento State 67, UND 58 (Jan. 24) • Sacramento, Calif.
Sacramento State overcame a sluggish start to knock off North Dakota 67-58 in Big Sky play on Thursday at The Nest. Junior Troy Huff scored a game-high 24 points for UND, but a long field-goal drought that spanned the final seven minutes of the first half and opening eight of the second half by the visitors proved costly in this one.

The Hornets (9-8, 4-5 BSC) moved into a tie for fourth place with UND (7-11, 4-5 BSC) in the Big Sky standings with the win, while the Green and White saw their season best three-game win streak come to a close.

Junior Aaron Anderson added 14 points for the visitors despite an off-shooting night for one of the top scorers in the league. UND was held to a 35.7 percent field goal clip after opening the game making 9-of-18 from the field in the opening 10 minutes.

Huff had nine of UND’s 19 field goals as the rest of the team went just for 10-for-33 from the field. His layup with just over seven minutes to go in the first half gave UND a 26-17 lead, but by the time Josh Schuler made the next one eight minutes into the second half, the game had turned in favor of Sac State.
 
TRIFECTA VAULTS HUFF INTO 1,000-POINT CLUB
A 3-pointer from the top of the key moved junior Troy Huff into an elite club in the history of North Dakota basketball. Huff’s trey at the 13-minute of the second half vs. Eastern Washington (Jan. 17) brought his career total to 1,002 points as he became the 32nd UND player and just ninth junior to reach that milestone. Patrick Mitchell - a captain on last year’s squad - was the last UND player to add his name to this list. Mitchell finished his career with 1,136 points and stands in 20th.

At some point over the next season and a half, Huff will likely have a couple of his classmates join him. Aaron Anderson is the next in line to reach the milestone and if his season average holds up (currently 14.0 ppg), he could do so by the end of the 2012-13 season. UND has never had two players reach the 1,000-point plateau in the same season.

ANDERSON, HUFF - AMONG BIG SKY’S TOP DUO
When it comes to Big Sky play, UND is home to one of the top scoring duos in the conference. Junior Troy Huff (20.1 ppg) leads the Big Sky in league scoring and classmate Aaron Anderson (16.8 ppg) is fifth. Only Southern Utah, with Jackson Stevenett (18.6 ppg) and Damon Heuir (18.0 ppg) have two players in the top five with UND.
Huff has reached double figures in all nine of his Big Sky games, including a season-high 26 points in the win over Northern Arizona. Anderson has reached 20-plus points three times in league action. He scored a career-high 25 points vs. Portland State. Both Huff (18.8 ppg) and Anderson (14.0 ppg) are averaging career-highs in overall games as well.

WEBB WORKING HIS WAY TO THE TOP
Junior Jamal Webb has moved into second place on UND’s career charts for steals with 43 already this season.  He tops the Big Sky charts, averaging 2.6 spg. Webb is closing fast on UND’s career leader Scott Guldseth, who had 178 from 1989-93. He has 26 in 10 Big Sky games to give him 152 for his career. Webb also joined a new career top 10 recently and has moved into the eighth spot on the all-time assist chart with 308.

ANDERSON PLAYING BIG
Junior Aaron Anderson is among the top five scorers in league games so far this season. Through 10 games, the Brooklyn Park., Minn., native is averaging 16.8 ppg in those contests. He scored a career-high 25 points in the win over Portland State. Anderson is also doing a lot of his damage from the free-throw line where he is 63-of-73 (86.3 percent) on the season in Big Sky play. Against Idaho State and Weber State, Anderson went a perfect 18-for-18. Anderson’s 63 makes are the most by a Big Sky player in league play and his 91 makes in all games also top the BSC charts.

HUFF NETS FIRST TWO BIG SKY POW AWARDs
Junior Troy Huff was named the Big Sky Player of the Week on New Year’s Eve after his 14-point, 12-rebound outing in the 56-53 victory over Bowling Green. He was the first UND player to receive the honor from the team’s new conference. The double-double was the fifth of his career as he played in just his second game back from a broken jaw. He picked up his second honor three weeks later after leading UND to pair of back-to-back home wins over Eastern Washington and Portland State.

WILMER CONTINUES TO PLAY WELL
Senior Mitch Wilmer has started the last 16 games for UND and is subsequently playing the best basketball of his UND career. Wilmer, who had only three starts coming into the season, is averaging 6.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg and 1.3 bgp for the season. He has scored 116 points this season, which are 33 more than he had in 55 career games entering the campaign. Wilmer has set or equaled his career-high in scoring four times in those 16 starts, chipping in with 11 points at South Dakota State (Nov. 28), upping that to 12 at North Dakota State (Dec. 9) before scoring 15 against Southern Utah and Northern Colorado. He added his first career double-double against the Thunderbirds in UND’s Big Sky debut by adding 11 rebounds to his point total. He is coming off a 10-point outing in the win over Northern Arizona, which put him back in double figures for the first time in five games.

BENGALS BEWARE
In three career games against Idaho State, junior Aaron Anderson is now averaging 18.7 ppg, which is nearly eight points higher than his career average of 9.8 ppg. In the two games at Holt Arena, Anderson is averaging 19.5 ppg, including a career-high 20-point outing last season.

A BLIP ON THE RADAR
There is no hiding the fact that a 14-for-30 effort at the free throw line was a major culprit in the 73-70 home setback to Kansas City on Dec. 5, but that effort has not been the norm this season. In the team’s other 18 games, UND is 273-for-353 from the stripe (77.3 percent).  In the Big Sky opener, UND also turned in a solid showing at the free throw line, knocking down 28-of-35 attempts (80 percent). Through 10 Big Sky games, UND is shooting 182-231 from the stripe (78.8 percent - first among Big Sky schools).

TOUGH SLEDDING
Seven teams on UND’s 2011-12 docket advanced to postseason tournaments, including four to the NCAA Tournament (Kansas, Montana, New Mexico and South Dakota State). UND beat two of those teams at home (Montana and South Dakota State). North Dakota State and Western Illinois both made the CBI Invitational, while GWC foe Utah Valley earned an at-large bid to join UND in the CIT Tournament.
 
The schedule does not get any easier in 2012-13, as UND’s slate has seven more teams on it that advanced to postseason tournaments. Kansas State advanced to the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament. Northern Iowa made the second round of the NIT. Both Montana and South Dakota State lost their first games in the NCAA Tournament. Bowling Green and Weber State joined UND in the CIT Postseason Tournament, while NDSU lost in the first round of the CBI Invitational.

SCORING SIZZLE
UND’s quintet of Aaron Anderson, Brandon Brekke, Troy Huff, Josh Schuler and Jamal Webb produced 65.4 percent of UND’s points in 2010-11, which was tops among any freshman class in the country. As sophomores, that unit upped that number to 70.9 percent of the team’s scoring (1,526 of 2,153). However, as sophomores, that unit had company at the top of the national charts. The Memphis sophomores, a unit UND edged out last season (63.9 percent as freshmen), produced 73.6 percent (1,923 of 2,614) and North Dakota State’s sophomores concluded the Bison season scoring 71.3 percent (1,564 of 2,194) of their team’s points. So far, the 2012-13 juniors, which includes the addition of JUCO-transfer Alonzo Traylor, have accounted for 71.9 (912 of 1,273) percent of the team’s scoring through 19 games.
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