Game Notes: UND taking momentum with them to Cali
UND VS. SACRAMENTO STATE SERIES
All-time: Series tied 1-1
In Sacramento: Sac State leads 1-0 (75-64, 2011-12)
Division I: Series tied 1-1
UND Head Coach Brian Jones vs. Portland State: 1-1
Sacramento State Head Coach Brian Katz vs. North Dakota: 1-1
WHERE TO WATCH/LISTEN/TRACK
Radio: 100.3 FM (Grand Forks) or iHeart Radio App
Live Audio Stream: www.UNDSports.com (free)
Live Video: www.BigSkyTV.org (free)
Live Stats: www.HornetSports.com (free)
Live Chat: www.UNDSports.com (free)
IN THE PAINT
• UND enters the week tied for third in the Big Sky standings with Montana State at 4-4 in league play, but Sacramento State and Northern Arizona - the team’s opponent on Saturday - are part of a six-way tie for fifth at 3-5.
• This will be the third straight season UND and Sac State have met on the hardwood, but first as conference foes. The home teams were victorious in the previous two meetings with UND taking a 64-60 decision in 2010-11 (Nov. 19) before falling at the Hornets Nest last season 75-64 (Dec. 18).
• UND held a six-point lead at halftime against the Hornets, but the home team made its first six 3-point attempts after the break and finished the half 7-for-8 from deep to outscore the Green and White 46-29 in the second half.
• Junior Jamal Webb led all scorers with 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor. Classmates Aaron Anderson (14) and Troy (10) also reached double figures.
• UND heads to “The Nest” this time riding a three-game Big Sky winning streak after posting home wins over Montana State (86-73), Eastern Washington (65-47) and Portland State (85-76). The three-game win streak is the first of the season for UND.
• In last week’s two games, Huff averaged 21.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg and 3.5 spg en route to earning his second Big Sky Player of the Week honors. He shared this one with Northern Colorado’s Tate Unruh.
• Huff also joined UND’s 1,000-point club in Thursday’s win over Eastern Washington. His 3-pointer with just over 13 minutes left in the half gave him 16 points for the game and 1,002 for his career. He became just the ninth junior and 32nd player in UND history to achieve that feat.
• UND is 3-0 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.
• Huff also had his second double-double of the season vs. the Eagles, pulling down 11 rebounds to go with 18 points. It was the seventh of his career.
• In the 85-76 win over Portland State, Huff and Anderson both scored 25 points and helped UND set a school record for most free throws made in a game (21) without a miss.
• UND now leads the Big Sky in free throw shooting in both overall (74.9 percent) and league games (79.4 percent).
• Anderson went 8-for-8 to aid his career-high scoring output, while Huff went 5-for-5 to aid his season-high scoring output.
• Webb joined his classmates in double figures with 16 points. It was the fifth straight game Webb has reached double figures after reaching that plateau just three times in his first 11 games. The Buffalo native is averaging 14.2 ppg in those last five contests.
• Webb reached a milestone of his own against the Vikings, dishing out three assists to bring his career total to 302. He is one of nine players to reach that feat.
• With his 25 points against the Vikings, Huff now leads the Big Sky in scoring in league games at 18.7 ppg. Anderson is third at 18.4 ppg.
• Huff was not just producing on the offensive end this past weekend, he collected seven steals to join Webb in the school’s all-time Top 10 list for that category. Huff now has 111 in his two-plus seasons and sits eighth overall. Webb is currently second with 145.
• Anderson went 14-for-22 from the field, including a 6-for-8 clip from 3-point territory, in the wins over Eastern Washington and Portland State. He averaged 21.0 ppg in the two triumphs.
• After the first shaky stretch of his season, senior Mitch Wilmer responded with eight points (all in the second half) and a team-high six rebounds in the win over Portland State. Wilmer had scored just 10 points total in the last four games.
• Against Eastern Washington, UND trailed 29-27 at the break, but found a way to win a game when they trailed at halftime for the first time this season. The squad is now 1-8 in those situations.
• Junior Josh Schuler started his 50th career game against Eastern Washington, while Anderson started his 50th on Saturday vs. Portland State.
MORE IN THE PAINT
• UND improved to 6-3 at home with the win over Eastern Washington after going 13-1 during at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center during the 2011-12 campaign.
• With one more win, head coach Brian Jones will tie Bill Fitch on the all-time career wins list at UND with 94. Fitch went 94-45 from 1963-67.
• 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.
• 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 in the closing two minutes.
• 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 injury.
• 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 Great West Conference.
• The Thunderbirds were one of three Big Sky teams UND had never played. The others are Northern Arizona and Weber State.
• 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.
LAST TIME OUT
UND 85, Portland State 76 (Jan. 19) • Grand Forks, N.D.
Juniors Aaron Anderson and Troy Huff each scored 25 points to lead North Dakota to an 85-76 victory over Portland State in Big Sky play on Saturday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. The win marks the third straight for UND (7-10, 4-4 BSC), who pulled even in Big Sky play, while the Vikings (5-10, 3-5 BSC) dropped their eighth straight on the road to open the season.
Anderson’s 25 points were a new career-high and his 8-for-8 clip at the free throw line helped set a UND record for most makes (21) without a miss from the charity stripe in a game. Junior Jamal Webb rounded out a trio of UND double-figure scorers with 16 points.
Both teams shot 50 percent or better from the floor, but it was a 6-for-6 start in the second half by the home team that gave the Green and White a little breathing room. UND finished with a season-high 53 percent clip, while the Vikings made 50 percent of their field goals (26-for-52).
Four of those six shots were from 3-point land as Huff’s second of the stanza made it a 56-46 advantage for UND just four minutes into the half. Huff would score 18 of his season-high 25 points after halftime as he went 9-for-15 from the floor and 5-for-5 from the free throw line.
EASTERN WASHINGTON SNAPSHOT
UND 65, Eastern Washington 47 (Jan. 17) • Grand Forks, N.D.
Junior Troy Huff registered a double-double and reached the 1,000-point plateau to lead North Dakota to a 65-47 victory over Eastern Washington in Big Sky play on Thursday. Huff finished with team-highs of 18 points and 11 rebounds as he became the 32nd player and just the ninth junior in UND history to reach that milestone.
The largest Division I home win of the season for UND (6-10, 3-4 BSC) also marked the first back-to-back victories for the team (6-10, 3-4 BSC) in league play this season, while Eastern Washington (4-13, 2-5 BSC) dropped its second straight.
Things looked good early on for the home team as UND jumped out to an 8-0 lead as Huff had five of those points, but the visitors quickly responded with 10 straight to take their first lead of the game.
That spurt by the Eagles would begin a back-and-forth affair for the rest of the half that saw Martin Seiferth put his team ahead 29-27 at the break thanks to his third putback of the half.
Seiferth and Huff both had 11 first-half points for their respective teams that saw UND shoot just 28.1 percent from the floor. After a slow start, EWU managed a 41.9 percent clip from the floor with Seifert leading that effort thanks to a 5-for-5 showing.
Much like the first half, UND opened the second half on a big run only this time the home team never relented. Huff had a dunk and a 3-pointer during what turned out to be a 22-3 run for UND. His trifecta from the top of key put him over the 1,000-point mark and UND never let its lead slip below double digits the rest of the way.
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 several of his classmates join him. Aaron Anderson is the next in line to reach the milestone and if his season average holds up (currently 14.4 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 - BIG SKY’S TOP SCORING DUO
When it comes to Big Sky play, UND is home to the top scoring duo in the conference. Junior Troy Huff (18.7 ppg) leads the Big Sky in league scoring and classmate Aaron Anderson (18.4 ppg) is third, trailing only Southern Utah’s Jackson Stevenett (18.6 ppg). Huff has reached double figures in all seven of his Big Sky games, including a season-high 25 points in the win over Montana State. Anderson has only been held below double figures once in Big Sky play and has reached 20-plus points three times in league action. He scored a career-high 23 points vs. Portland State. Both Huff (17.4 ppg) and Anderson (14.4 ppg) are averaging career-highs in overall games.
WEBB FINDS HIS STROKE
Junior Jamal Webb came into the Montana State game (13 games played) with only seven makes from beyond the arc this season. He left with 12 makes, which brought his season percentage up from 16.3 percent to 25 percent. Over his last three games, Webb has made eight and is shooting 66.7 percent from beyond the arc (8-for-12).
WEBB WORKING HIS WAY TO THE TOP
Junior Jamal Webb has moved into second place on UND’s career charts for steals with 36 already this season. He tops the Big Sky charts, averaging 2.3 spg. Webb still has a ways to go to catch UND’s career leader Scott Guldseth, who had 178 from 1989-93. He has 19 in eight Big Sky games to give him 145 for his career. He also joined a new career top 10 recently and has moved into the ninth spot on the all-time assist chart with 302.
ANDERSON PLAYING BIG
Junior Aaron Anderson is among the top five scorers in league games so far this season. Through eight games, the Brooklyn Park., Minn., native is averaging 18.4 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 55-of-61 (90.2 percent) on the season in Big Sky play. Against Idaho State and Weber State, Anderson went a perfect 18-for-18. Anderson’s 55 makes are the most by a Big Sky player in league play and his 83 makes in all games also top the BSC charts.
HUFF NETS UND’S FIRST BIG SKY POW AWARD
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. The double-double was the fifth of his career as he played in just his second game back from a broken jaw.
WILMER CONTINUES TO PLAY WELL
Senior Mitch Wilmer has started the last 13 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 6.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 1.3 bgp for the season. He has scored 105 points this season, which are 22 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 nine 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.
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 15 games, UND is 249-for-321 from the stripe (77.6 percent). The team responded with a 16-for-19 effort from the foul line in the Fargodome. 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 eight Big Sky games, UND is shooting 158-199 from the stripe (79.4 percent - first among Big Sky schools).
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.
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 70.3 (808 of 1,134) percent of the team’s scoring through 17 games.