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Freshman Shane Benton had career-highs with 13 points and five rebounds as he sparked UND to a comeback win at Montana State.
UND storms back to knock off Bobcats in Bozeman
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Updated: Thursday 02/07/2013 23:04:47 (ET)
by UNDsports.com
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BOZEMAN, Mont. - For the second straight Big Sky road game, North Dakota overcame a double-digit deficit in the second half to post a win this time knocking off Montana State 82-73 at Worthington Arena on Thursday night.

Junior Troy Huff scored a game-high 25 points and freshman Shane Benton added a career-high 13 points to spark UND (10-12, 7-6 BSC) to a season sweep of the Bobcats (10-11, 7-6 BSC). Those two also combined for seven steals as UND had a season-high 15 of those in league play to ignite the comeback.

"Our guys stayed the course like we did at Northern Arizona the last time we were on the road," UND head coach Brian Jones said. "We only had nine guys dressed, but we got contributions from all over the place.  Our bench was huge again."

Montana State raced out of the gates in the second half and extended what was a 34-31 lead at halftime to as many as 14 points just over six minutes into the stanza.

However, just like they did on Jan. 26 at Northern Arizona, UND found a way to erase a large deficit and left a visiting venue with a victory, improving to 3-3 on the road in league action.

It was the first visit to Bozeman for UND since the 1964-65 season and it was the first Big Sky loss for Montana State on its home court this season.

After facing its largest deficit of the game at 55-41, UND went on a 19-4 to seize control of the contest.

UND outscored the Bobcats 41-18 over the final 13:36 after the quick spurt by the home team. Junior Aaron Anderson had 12 of his 17 points in the second half and classmate Jamal Webb added 12 points, including a one-handed jam and converted that into a 3-point play to really cement the comeback and put his team up by six at 65-59.

The Bobcats would get within three points with just under three minutes to play, but that would be as close as they would get. Junior Brandon Brekke converted another 3-point play on the next UND possession as he finished with nine points in the final eight minutes.

UND had five old-fashioned 3-point plays in the second half. The visitors also went 12-for-13 from the foul line after halftime to aid the rally.

"Shane (Benton) came up with his second straight big game for us on the road and when Brandon (Brekke) was able to stay on the floor, he looked like his oldself out there in that closing stretch," Jones added.

UND had nine steals in the opening 20 minutes and the final one was by Huff with MSU holding the ball for the final shot.  Huff picked Antonio Biglow clean and raced down the court for a layup to cut his team's deficit to 34-31 at the break.  His 13 first-half points led all scorers.

Huff kept UND in the game early connecting on a pair of a 3-pointers as the visitors fell behind by seven, but erased that hole with a 9-2 run midway through the half.

UND would hit its first four free throws, but missed three down the stretch as Huff's layup was the only field goal for the visitors in the final 4:30.

Calen Coleman had 10 points off the bench to pace the Bobcats, who did shoot 54.2 percent in the opening half despite 10 turnovers.

The Bobcats finished with a 54 percent clip from the field and went 8-for-20 from beyond the arc, but UND turned their 17 turnovers into 24 points.

Benton and Huff each finished with five rebounds as UND held the advantage in that category at 27-25.

UND remain in the Treasure State for one more contest as the squad will drive east to Missoula for a matchup against Big Sky-leader Montana on Saturday at 8:05 p.m. CT.

-- UND --

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