Courtesy: Eric Classen,
North Dakota opens the 2013-14 season at home on Wednesday against Minnesota-Morris.
Game Notes: Veteran squad ready to embark on new season
Release: 11/11/2013
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UND vs. Minnesota Morris Game Notes

Only one Division I team in the country will have waited longer to get its 2013-14 regular season underway before North Dakota takes to the hardwood on Wednesday night for its season opener vs. Minnesota Morris. 

By Wednesday, 349 of the Division I squads will have at least one regular season game under their belts as the college basketball got underway in full force this past Friday. The wait will hopefully be worth the while for head coach Brian Jones, who embarks on his eighth season at the helm of the program.

The Cougars also open their season and were the coaches' selection to the win the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference at the NCAA Division III level this season. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

All-time: UND leads 13-0
In Grand Forks: UND leads 11-0
Last Meeting: UND won 113-59 (Nov. 24, 2003)
UND Head Coach Brian Jones vs. Minnesota Morris: First Meeting
Minnesota Morris Head Coach Paul Grove vs. UND: 0-5

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• UND will be the final Big Sky team to get its regular season underway when they face Minnesota Morris at home on Wednesday, Nov. 13 and only Memphis, who opens on Nov. 14, will have a later start date among Division I teams.
• Head coach Brian Jones is 4-3 in regular season openers and also 4-3 in home openers during his tenure at UND. His club has won three straight home openers.
• This will be the 14th meeting against the Cougars in school history and UND has yet to lose to the school located in southwestern Minnesota.
• The last time these two teams played, the contest was held in the Ralph Engelstad Arena on Nov. 24, 2003 and UND defeated the Cougars 113-59. The 113 points are the fifth most scored in a game by UND.
• Head coach Brian Jones is looking for win No. 103, which will put him in fourth place on UND’s all-time wins list for men’s basketball. He is currently tied with Louis Bogan, who coached in Grand Forks from 1952-62.
• UND is also two wins away from reaching 1,500 in program history.
• Jones enters his eighth season at the helm of the program with four returning starters back from a club that reached its third consecutive Postseason Tournament.
• Those four starters, including Aaron Anderson, Troy Huff, Josh Schuler and Jamal Webb, have combined to start 288 career games over the past three seasons.

• Minnesota Morris opens its regular season at Concordia College on Nov. 15, but will first play an exhibition game at UND. The Cougars were the coaches’ pick to win the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference title in 2013-14.
• Head coach Paul Grove is entering his 12th season leading the Cougars after a six-year stint leading the Mayville State program. Grove has led UMM to four straight Upper Midwest Athletic Conference postseason tournaments.
• The Cougars tied for second in the UMAC a season ago, going 9-5 in conference play, while posting a 14-12 overall record. The .500 or better record was the eighth for Grove in 11 seasons.
• Two players shared the team lead in scoring a season ago for the Cougars at 11.9 ppg. One of those is back as forward Brendan Ross returns along with fellow starters Evan Reller (9.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and R.J. Dean (10.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg).
• Steve Birman also averaged 11.9 ppg, but both he and Logan Orazem are not  back with the Cougars this season after graduating.
• The Cougars were deadly from beyong the 3-point line last season, leading the UMAC at with a 41.2 percent rate as a team. Reserve guard Tyler Pendleton is the top returning 3-point shooter after making 53-of-130 attempts in 2012-13 (40.8) percent.
• UMM did lose its best two long-range threats in Birman (45.5 percent) and Ben Hoidal (54.7 percent). 

The 2013-14 season will mark the second for the club in the Big Sky Conference. In year one, Jones led UND to 12 wins, which were the most ever by a league newcomer and a third-place finish in the league standings. UND opened the campaign 1-4, but finished with an 11-4 mark and won a Division I-program record six games on the road.

Senior Troy Huff won the Big Sky scoring title with a 19.2 ppg average despite missing eight games with a broken jaw he suffered in the season opener at Kansas State. He averaged 19.7 ppg in Big Sky play and was one of two league players (Montana’s Kareem Jamar) to earn unanimous All-Big Sky first team honors. Huff also landed on the Lou Henson Mid-Major All-America Team.

Huff stands in 11th-place on the school’s all-time scoring charts entering his senior season with 1,353 points. He scored a career-high 481 points as a junior and his point total is the third most by a junior in school history. All-time leading scorer Scott Guldseth (2,190) had 1,574 after his junior season and the program’s third all-time leading scorer Travis Tuttle (1,935) had 1,427. 

Huff was one of 25 mid-major players named to the Lou Henson Preseason All-America Team on Oct. 2. Huff landed a spot on the 2012-13 Lou Henson All-America Team after leading the Big Sky in scoring at 19.2 ppg and leading UND to its third-straight Postseason Tournament.

Huff was one of 30 mid-major players listed by’s Matt Norlander as under-the-radar performers to watch out for during the 2013-14. Here is what Norlander had to say about Huff:

“What a player! Checks in at around 175 pounds, yet averaged seven boards last season. He also scored 19 points for the team currently without a moniker. In addition to sniffing the defensive glass so well, he’s also a good defender and gets into passing lanes so well.”

Huff led the Big Sky in steals per game last season, collecting  59 despite missing eight games. He would have threatened teammate Jamal Webb for the single-season school record if he had remained healthy. Webb finished one shy of that mark with 74.

Senior Aaron Anderson had his best season as a collegian in 2012-13 and earned All-Big Sky second team honors after averaging a career-high 13.3 ppg. Anderson is the only UND player to have started each game of the last two seasons (65 total) and leads all active players with 99 games played, 341 free throws and 110 3-pointers. He also became the 33rd player in UND history to reach the 1,000-point plateau on Feb. 28 in a road win at Portland State. Fittingly, Anderson reached the milestone at the free throw line where he shot 86 percent - fourth best single-season effort in UND history - a season ago.

Senior Jamal Webb already sits a top UND’s all-time top 10 list for career steals with 183 and is fifth in assists with 380 through 97 career games. He led the Big Sky in steals with 74 last season and was one shy of tying UND’s single-season record in that department. He has also averaged 9.5 ppg during his career and has been one of the top rebound guards in the Great West and Big Sky during his career (4.8/g).

Senior Josh Schuler battled through various injuries during the 2012-13 season, but managed to average a career-high 9.2 ppg in 25 contests, which included 20 starts. He shot a career-high 37.1 percent from 3-point range and 79.7 percent from the foul line.

Fellow senior Brandon Brekke was also limited by injuries, appearing in only 19 games. He could never really get on track due to head and ankle injuries, but did average 5.3 ppg and 4.1 rpg when he was able to play.

The 6-foot-8 ultra-athletic Nash is eligible after sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules and eager to get back on the court. Nash averaged just 2.5 ppg and 1.5 rpg in a reserve role for head coach Billy Gillespie’s 2011-12 Texas Tech team. Nash is expected to play a bigger role for UND and return to his prep form when he averaged 17.1 ppg and 6.3 rpg at Waterloo East High School in Iowa.

Senior Alonzo Traylor had to sit out the second semester of last year’s schedule, but worked hard in the classroom to regain his eligibility for the 2013-14 season. Traylor was starting to come into his own after eight games of last season, but poor academic performance cost him the second half of his first season at UND. Traylor had a double-double in what was his final game of the season in the Big Sky opener at Southern Utah (Dec. 18). He averaged 7.1 ppg and 5.0 rpg in just over 16 minutes per game.

Guard Lenny Antwi went from being the only sophomore on the 2012-13 roster to being one of five juniors on the 2013-14 roster. Big men Chad Calcaterra and Ryan Salmonson will factor into the front court playing rotation, while backcourt mates Estan Tyler and Cole Stefan are slated to sit out the season due to NCAA transfer rules. Stefan is applying to the NCAA for a hardship waiver to play immediately this season, but that process has not yet been completed. Antwi appeared in a career-high 33 games last season and averaged 4.7 ppg, while shooting 35.9 percent from 3-point range.

The term “utility man” is usually reserved for the baseball word, but Shane Benton brought new meaning to it on the hardwood. The lone sophomore on the squad, Benton performed that role admirably last season, appearing in 30 games and starting eight at the power forward position despite standing just six-foot-three. All three of the Benton’s double-digiting scoring games came during Big Sky road wins.

Of the 16 players on the 2013-14 roster, four have played Division I basketball for another program. Newcomer Estan Tyler (Kansas City) will sit out the 2013-14 season due to NCAA transfer rules and have two seasons of eligibility remaining when his career resumes. Tyler led Kansas City in scoring a season ago at a 11.4 ppg clip. Stefan began his collegiate career at LaSalle in 2010-11 and later transferred to Green Bay for the 2012-13 season. He is a sharp-shooter that averaged just over four points per game in 44 combined games as the two schools. Calcaterra spent two seasons at Colorado State and has an NCAA Tournament game appearance under his belt from the 2011-12 Rams’ run to the field of 68. Nash played one season at Texas Tech under Billy Gillespie and had a career-high 15 points vs. Wake Forest at the Old Spice Classic during the 2011-12 season.

Quinton Hooker is the only true freshman on the 2013-14 roster and the point guard is coming off a prep career that saw him garner the 2013 Minnesota Mr. Basketball Award. He led Park Center to a title game berth in the Minnesota Class 4A State Tournament and averaged 23.0 ppg as a senior, scoring more than 2,000 points in his prep career.

Seniors Troy Huff and Aaron Anderson reached the 1,000-point plateau during the 2012-13 season becoming the first set of junior classmates to achieve that feat in UND history. Both are currently looking to climb UND’s scoring chart, while two more classmates are looking to follow suit this season. Point guard Jamal Webb is the closest with only 81 points standing between him and the milestone, while shooting guard Josh Schuler needs 288. Only one class - the 1999-2000 seniors - has a trio of 1,000-point scorers in UND  men’s basketball history. Chad Mustard (1996-2000) finished his career eighth on the scoring charts with 1,568 points before going on to a brief NFL career as a tight end for the Denver Broncos. Mustard reached the plateau as a junior, while teammates Marcus Travis and Hunter Reinke surpassed the K-club as seniors. Travis was 14th on the list with 1,229 points before Huff bumped him down to No. 15, while Reinke was 18th when his career ended with 1,185 points.

-- UND --


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2014 Big Sky Conference regular season & tournament champions
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