Game Notes: UND going back to Bozeman
That changes this week as UND tackles two of the top three teams in the Big Sky standings. The Green and White open the two-game trek to Montana with Montana State on Thursday at 8:05 p.m. CT.
UND VS. MONTANA STATE SERIES
All-time: Series tied 8-8
In Bozeman: Series tied 4-4
Division I: UND leads 1-0
UND Head Coach Brian Jones vs. Montana State: 1-0
Montana State Head Coach Brad Huse vs. North Dakota: 0-3
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.MSUBobcats.com (free)
Live Chat: www.UNDSports.com (free)
IN THE PAINT...
• The Nodaks, as the team was commonly referred to back then, would go on to win both of those contests defeating Montana 71-62 on Dec. 11 before traveling east a couple of hours to Bozeman where they beat the Bobcats 71-69 on the next day.
• The trip to Montana this time will feature a day off in between clashes with the Grizzlies and the Bobcats and UND will open the trek in Bozeman instead of Missoula. • The games will also have significance of the conference variety as both Montana (12-0, first) and Montana State (7-5; tied for third) own two of the top three records in the Big Sky.
• The contest against the Bobcats on their home court will also be the first since that two-point victory in 1964. UND opened the 2009-10 season in Missoula.
• UND and MSU did renew their series, which was dormant for 47 seasons, earlier this year in Grand Forks when the Green and White dealt the Bobcats an 86-73 setback on Jan. 12 to even the all-time series at eight wins a piece.
• The 86 points were the most scored by UND against a Division I opponent this season as the guard trio of Jamal Webb (23), Aaron Anderson (20) and Troy Huff (20) each scored at least 20 points. Webb went 5-for-5 from 3-point range as UND finished 10-for-19 from beyond the arc as a team.
• UND is 4-0 this season when the club scores 80 or more points.
• The win moved UND to just 2-4 in Big Sky play, but a 4-2 record over its next six league games has the Green and White at 6-6 and fifth place alone in their new conference.
• The Bobcats are tied for third with Big Sky newcomer Southern Utah at 7-5 in league play. MSU (2-5) and UND (2-3) are the only two teams beside league leader Montana (6-0) and Weber State (6-2) to have more than one Big Sky road win to their credit.
• At 6-6 in league play, UND has a one-game lead on a pair of teams tied for sixth right now in the Big Sky standings at 5-7. The top seven teams make the Big Sky Tournament.
• UND moved back to the .500 mark with a 69-52 win over Idaho State at home on Feb. 2.
• Huff posted his third double-double of the season and eighth of his career with 21 points and 11 rebounds to lead UND to a season sweep of the Bengals.
• ISU is the first Big Sky team that UND has swept. UND could also pick up sweeps of Montana State, Portland State, Eastern Washington and Northern Arizona.
• The 20-point outing was the sixth of the season for Huff in league play, who leads the Big Sky in scoring in those games at 19.0 ppg.
• Huff’s 21 points also moved him to 24th on UND’s all-time scoring charts. He needs 29 more to move into the top 20 and bump former teammate Patrick Mitchell (1,136) from that distinction.
• Junior Aaron Anderson moved within 100 points of joining Huff in the 1,000-point club after scoring 16 poitns in the win over Idaho State. Anderson now sits at 902 points with 10 regular season games remaining.
• Junior Jamal Webb had a solid all-around game against the Bengals with 12 points, seven assists, four rebounds, three steals and no turnovers. His seven assists equaled his season-high and his zero turnovers marked the second time this season he did not record one.
• With those seven assists against ISU, Webb moved into seventh place on UND’s all-time career chart for that category, pushing his career tally to 318.
• With the win over Idaho State, head coach Brian Jones surpassed former NBA coaching legend Bill Fitch for fourth place on the all-time career wins list at UND with 95. Fitch went 94-45 from 1963-67.
• Webb’s three steals also marked the 12th time this season he has three or more in a contest. He is currently tied for 18th nationally in that department and first in the Big Sky at 2.6 steals per game (48 total). He needs 31 more to reach the top spot on UND’s all-time list (currently second with 148 for his career) where Scott Guldseth (1990-93) currently resides with 178.
• 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.
• Webb and his backcourt mates were not the only ones reaking havoc on the defensive end against the Bengals - senior Mitch Wilmer swatted away a career-high four shots in the contest. He ranks sixth in the Big Sky, averaging 1.4 blocks per game. Wilmer has a career-high 29 blocks on the season.
• Junior Brandon Brekke returned to the lineup vs. Weber State on Thursday and played 17 minutes off the bench. It was his first action since playing five minutes in the win over Bowling Green on Dec. 29. He missed 11 games total after suffering a concussion in the loss to North Dakota State (Dec. 9).
MORE IN THE PAINT
• UND improved to 7-4 at home with its home win over Idaho State on Feb. 2. UND went 13-1 at home during the 2011-12 season.
• UND has won two of its five Big Sky road games this season, making them one of just four teams in the league with multiple road triumphs (Montana is 6-0, Weber State is 6-2 and Montana State is 2-5).
• UND suffered another injury to key contributor as senior captain Doug Archer went down in practice prior to the Weber State contest. He missed both the Weber State and Idaho State games and there is no timetable for his return.
• 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 was ruled academically ineligible for the second semester.
• The Big Sky is the third conference that UND has been affiliated with since the program began 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 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.
• The Big Sky Tournament will be held at the home venue of the No. 1 seed and regular-season champion.
OPPONENT PREVIEW: MONTANA STATE
• Head coach Brad Huse has his Bobcats off to a 10-10 start overall and 7-5 mark in Big Sky play. This is Huse’s seventh season in Bozeman.
• The seven Big Sky wins equal MSU’s totals from the last two seasons when the Bobcats finished 7-9.
• Huse was the head coach at Jamestown College from 1996-2004 before taking over the MSU program. In his last three seasons in Jamestown, he led the Jimmies to a 86-14 overall record and 52-2 mark in DAC 10 play.
• Montana State is unbeaten at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse in Big Sky play this season at 5-0. The Bobcats are 8-2 in overall games on their home court. Montana (6-0) and Weber State (4-0) are the only other unbeatens at home in league play.
• Since losing a 76-71 overtime affair to Montana in Missoula, the Bobcats have reeled off four wins in their last five games.
• MSU picked up its second Big Sky road win on Saturday with a 70-64 victory at Portland State. Flavien Davis led the Bobcats in that contest with 22 points.
• Davis is averaging 12.3 ppg in Big Sky play - up from 10.9 ppg in overall games. He was held to eight points in the first meeting with UND.
• Guard Christian Moon is the team’s leading scorer in overall (13.6 ppg) and league (12.9 ppg) games this season. He had a team-high 21 point on 5-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc at UND on Jan. 12.
• Moon is the only Bobcat to earn Big Sky Player of the Week honors this season after leading MSU to a trio of BSC wins from Jan. 21-27.
• Center Paul Egwuonwu had 16 points in the first meeting with UND. He is the team’s top rebounder at 5.9 rpg, but he did miss last Saturday’s victory over Portland State with an injury.
• Montana State leads the Big Sky averaging 8.6 steals per game. Junior Antonio Biglow, who did not play in the first meeting with UND, leads the team with 26 (1.7/g).
LAST TIME OUT
North Dakota 69, Idaho State 52 (Feb. 2) • Grand Forks, N.D.
Junior Troy Huff had his third double-double of the season to lead North Dakota to a 69-52 victory over Idaho State on Saturday in Big Sky play. Huff finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while classmate Aaron Anderson added 16 points to get the Green and White back to .500 in league play.
Junior Jamal Webb added 12 points and equaled his season-high with seven assists to help UND (9-12, 6-6 BSC) secure a season sweep of Idaho State (4-17, 3-9 BSC). In all, UND dished out a season-high 17 assists in Big Sky play, while turning the ball over only five times.
UND’s defense also held Idaho State to 38 percent shooting from the floor, had six blocks and nine steals, while forcing 14 turnovers.
UND jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead in the opening four minutes before the Bengals finally got on the scoreboard thanks to a layup by Andre Hatchett, who finished with a team-high 16 points for the visitors. Idaho State would steadily erase the deficit over the next 10 minutes, making the contest a back-and-forth affair before the visitors went cold from the field late in the half.
Idaho State held an 18-17 advantage after a layup by Nnmadi Ezenwa with just over eight minutes to play, but the Bengals would make only two field goals the rest of the way as UND was able to create some separation. UND did that by outscoring Idaho State 16-4 during that stretch to build a 33-22 lead at the break.
WEBER STATE SNAPSHOT
Weber State 66, North Dakota 51 (Jan. 31) • Grand Forks, N.D.
Weber State used a pair of big second-half runs and pulled away late to register a 66-51 victory over North Dakota in Big Sky play Thursday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.
Weber State senior Frank Otis had a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds, while junior Davion Berry scored 17 of his 21 game-high points in the second half to pace the Wildcats (14-5, 9-2 BSC), who snapped a brief two-game losing streak.
UND (8-12, 5-6 BSC) could never get on track offensively as the 51 points were a season-low scored at home. The team’s top three scorers were held to a combined 21 points as juniors Troy Huff (18.8 ppg), Aaron Anderson (14.0 ppg) and Jamal Webb (9.3 ppg) each scored seven points in the setback.
Fellow junior Josh Schuler was the lone UND player to reach double figures, finishing with 12 points. Classmate Brandon Brekke returned to the floor for the first time since the Bowling Green game on Dec. 29 and scored eight points and pulled down four rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench.
For Huff, it was the first time he was held to below double figures in 12 games this season. It was also a rare off night at the free throw line for UND, who came into the leading the Big Sky with a 78.9 percent clip in league play. The home team converted just 13-of-23 attempts and connected only twice from beyond the arc (2-for-8).
UND DRAWS OMAHA FOR BRACKETBUSTERS GAME
The North Dakota men’s basketball team added one more former North Central Conference foe to its 2012-13 schedule on Monday as ESPN officials announced that Omaha will play host to the Green and White during their annual Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters weekend. The game will take place Saturday, Feb. 23 at Omaha’s Ralston Arena. Tipoff time is set for 1 p.m.
This will be the final season of an 11-year run for the event that pits 122 NCAA Tournament hopefuls from 15 different mid-major conferences against each other. Omaha is in its second season of transition to the NCAA Division I level and first in the Summit League.
The Mavericks are currently 8-17 overall and 5-7 in the Summit League, which puts them fifth in the standings of the nine-team conference. UND is currently 9-12 overall and 6-6 in its first season in the Big Sky. The .500 league mark puts UND in fifth alone in the 11-team conference.
In four career games against Idaho State, junior Aaron Anderson is now averaging 18.0 ppg, which is nearly eight points higher than his career average of 10.1 ppg. In the two games at Holt Arena, Anderson is averaging 19.5 ppg, including a career-high 20-point outing last season. Anderson had 16 points in Saturday’s win over the Bengals that gave UND a season sweep of ISU.
HUFF'S RISING IN 1,000-POINT CLUB, ANDERSON IS CLOSING IN
A 3-pointer from the top of the key vs. Eastern Washington on Jan. 17 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 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. Huff is quickly working his towards Mitchell, having moved up eight spots to 24th in the last five games by scoring 105 points (21.0 ppg).
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 (902 career points) and if his season average holds up (currently 13.9 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 (19.0 ppg) leads the Big Sky in league scoring and classmate Aaron Anderson (15.9 ppg) is fifth. Only Southern Utah, with Damon Heuir (18.7 ppg) and Jackson Stevenett (18.4 ppg) have two players in the top five along with UND.
Huff has reached double figures in nine of 10 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 48 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 31 in 12 Big Sky games to give him 157 for his career. Webb also joined a new career top 10 recently and has moved into Top 10 on the all-time assist chart. He is currently seventh tied for seventh with 318.
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 sixth 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 5.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg and 1.4 bgp for the season. He has scored 123 points this season, which are 40 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.
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 NDSU’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 72.5 (1,010 of 1,393) percent of the team’s scoring through 20 games.
WHAT’S BACK THIS SEASON
Head coach Brian Jones has four starters back and six of his top seven scorers from his 2012 GWC Tournament championship team. The seventh-year head coach will have to replace second team All-GWC 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.