Junior Geno Crandall scored 22 points in last year's win at Montana State.
Notes: UND looks to bounce back vs. Bobcats
Release: 01/05/2018
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BOZEMAN, Mont. -- North Dakota wraps up its first Big Sky road swing at Montana State on Saturday with an afternoon tilt against the Bobcats. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. CT.


All-time: UND leads 13-11
In Bozeman: UND leads 8-4
Last Meeting: UND 90, MSU 85 (Jan. 12, 2017; Bozeman)
UND Head Coach Brian Jones vs. Montana State: 6-3 
UND Head Coach Brian Jones vs. Fish: 3-2
Montana State Head Coach Brian Fish vs. UND: 2-3
Montana State Head Coach Brian Fish vs. Jones: 2-3

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• Despite its struggles in Missoula, UND has found a way to split four of its five Big Sky trips to the Treasure State by winning four times in Worthing Arena as a league member.
• UND’s lone Big Sky loss to the Bobcats on their home court was a 89-82 loss in the final regular season game of the 2015-16 season.
• The Fighting Hawks will look for their fifth split after falling at Montana 109-79 on Thursday. The loss marked the first time in six Big Sky seasons that UND has started 0-3 in league play.
• Freshman Tray Buchanan scored a career-high 16 points off the bench against the Griz to pace UND in scoring. It was the first time this season a reserve has led the Fighting Hawks in points as the bench produced a season-best 37 points overall.
• The seven-game losing skid is the longest for the program since dropping the final nine games of the 2014-15 season.
• This is the sixth and final season in the Big Sky for the Fighting Hawks,  who will join the Summit League in 2018-19. 
• UND owns a 52-41 record in its first five-plus seasons of league play, including its best showing of 14-4 during its title run last season. However, the Fighting Hawks are just 1-5 in Big Sky openers after falling to the Vandals on Dec. 29.

UND returns to the Betty for a Big Sky games next week with Idaho State first up on the docket Thursday. The Bengals are off to 2-0 start in league play this season, but have struggled in Grand Forks, dropping all six of their previous tilts in the building.

In its Division I era, UND has only twice had a trio of players score 20 or more points in the same game and both of those have come against Montana State.

The North Dakota men’s basketball program holds a 1566-1045 (.600) all-time record since Dr. George Sweetland led the first team onto the court in 1904-05. North Dakota is 946-284 (.770) all-time when it comes to defending its home court. 

Iowa grad transfer Dale Jones missed the Idaho contest after starting all 11 non-conference games, but returned to the starting lineup in an emphatic way last Sunday vs. Eastern Washington. Jones scored a career-high 20 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to register the first double-double of his career. The 6-foot-8 forward has proven his worth early on this season by averaging 10.8 ppg and 7.2 rpg (third in the Big Sky). After three seasons at the junior-college level, Injuries limited him to just 11 games for the Hawkeyes from 2015-17. By missing a majority of those two seasons, he was granted a sixth year of elibility by the NCAA. 

Freshman Tray Buchanan is UND’s top scoring threat off the bench, averaging 5.7 ppg this season. After averaging 4.3 ppg and shooting 24 percent from 3-point range in non-conference action, the 6-foot guard has provided a nice scoring punch off in bench during Big Sky play. In his league debut, he scored a then career-high 12 points against Idaho (Dec. 31). In Thurday’s loss to Montan, Buchanan led the Fighting Hawks with 16 points off the bench and went 7-for-8 from the foul stripe. Through three league games, the rookie is averaging 11.3 ppg, which is tops among all Big Sky freshmen and he is 8-for-21 from beyond the arc (38.3 percent). 

Sophomore Marlon Stewart scored just 26 points  (8.7 ppg) in his first three career games for UND, but is averaging a team-best 15.1 ppg in the 11 games since then. That stretch includes a career-hig 24 points against Utah Valley (Nov. 25) and team-high 23 against NDSU (Dec. 9). That was his third 20-plus point game of the season for Stewart. He had a career-high nine helpers in UND’s outing against Presentation (Nov. 28). Stewart went for 15 points and went 6-for-6 from the foul line vs. the 12th-ranked Zags (Dec. 16) and had 15 of UND’s 18 first-half points against Idaho. He finished with 17.

Geno Crandall became the 36th player in UND men’s basketball history to reach the 1,000-point plateau and the junior arrived at the figure in one of the most dramatic ways possible. The milestone came on his 3-pointer that sent the UND-Gonzaga game into overtime, tying the game at 69-69 with 1.8 seconds to play.  Crandall’s milestone came in his 73rd career game, which made him the quickest among the six Fighting Hawks to reach that plateau during the program’s Division I era. Troy Huff (2010-14) had been the quickest among the first quintet after taking 74 career games. Huff ended his career as the program’s third all-time leading scorer with 2,005 points. 

• Head coach Brian Fish is in his fourth season at Montana State and the Bobcats have increased their win total in each of those campaigns (7-14-16).
• Junior Tyler Hall, the preseason Big Sky Player of the Year, leads the team in scoring at 19.1 ppg. Hall has a trio of 30-plus point outings this season, including a season-best 36 in the Big Sky-opening win at Southern Utah (104-99).
• Through three Big Sky games, his 26.7 ppg clip is tops among league players and he had 28 in the win over UNC on Thursday.
• Sophomore Harald Frey is scoring at a higher clip in his second season of Big Sky action, averaging 15.2 ppg and a team-high 3.6 apg. He was the Big Sky Freshman of the Year after averaging 12.7 ppg as a rookie. 
• Newcomer Keljin Blevins is the third Bobcat averaging in double figures at 10.4 ppg and has upped that to 14.7 ppg in league play. He scored a career-high 26 points in MSU’s 76-73 overtime win at NAU last Saturday. 
• Blevins, who appeared in 54 career games at Southern Miss before sitting out last season as a DI transfer, picked up the scoring slack for Hall (16) and Fray (7) as the victory over the Lumberjacks marked the first time one of those two did not lead the Bobcats in scoring this season.• The Bobcats went 7-6 in non-conference play, including a 4-1 record at Worthington Arena this season.
• MSU is 2-1 against Summit League teams this season (Denver and Omaha; 1-1), while UND, who is going to join that league next season, is 0-2 (NDSU and SDSU).

-- UND --

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