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Men's Basketball mm
Courtesy: Russell Hons for UNDsports.com
Junior Geno Crandall is coming off a 17-point, six-rebound and six-assist performance in the win over Montana State.
Notes: Griz visit for annual Samaritan's Feet Game
Courtesy: UNDsports.com
Release: 02/02/2018
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GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- North Dakota will look to win its fourth-straight home game on Saturday against league-leading Montana, who is off to a perfect start at 10-0. That pristine record includes  a 6-0 tally in Big Sky road games. Tip-off against the Grizzlies is set for 4 p.m. CT.

The tilt against the Griz is also UND’s annual Samaritan’s Feet Game and will be televised nationally by Eleven Sports as the Big Sky Game of the Week. 

UND VS. MONTANA SERIES
All-time:
Montana leads 16-6
In Grand Forks: UND leads 5-4
Last Meeting: Montana 109, UND 79 (Jan. 6, 2018; Missoula)
UND Head Coach Brian Jones vs. Montana: 2-11 
UND Head Coach Brian Jones vs. DeCuire: 0-6
Montana Head Coach Travis DeCuire vs. UND: 6-0 
Montana Head Coach Travis DeCuire vs. Jones: 6-0

WHERE TO WATCH/LISTEN/TRACK
TV:
Eleven Sports | Jack Michaels (pbp) and Joe Cravens (color analyst)
Radio:
 1440 AM (GF) | 790 AM (Fargo) | Paul Ralston (pbp)
Audio: www.UNDSports.com
Live Stats: www.UNDSports.com
Live Stream: WatchBigSky.com | Pluto.TV Ch. 240

IN THE PAINT...
• The Fighting Hawks will be wearing special orange-trimmed home jerseys during the game against Montana, while the coaching staff will be barefoot on the sidelines to help bring awareness to the organization’s overall mission, which is provide shoes for the poor.
• Revenge will also be on the minds of the Fighting Hawks, who were dealt a 109-79 setback on their visit to Missoula in the first matchup with the Griz on Jan. 4. The 30-point loss was the third-largest league loss during UND’s Big Sky era.
• The win for the Griz was the fifth-straight in the series that has seen them drop only one Big Sky matchup to UND since the Fighting Hawks joined the league prior to the 2012-13 season (9-1).
• Senior Dale Jones has led UND in scoring each of the last three games and his 18-point, eight-rebound performance in Thursday’s 75-74 victory over Montana State helped snap a three-game skid for the Fighting Hawks. Jones is averaging 18.7 ppg during that stretch and is 10-for-20 from 3-point range.
• UND’s victory gave them a season split with the Bobcats for the fourth time in the last five seasons.

ON THE HORIZON
UND will return to the road to take on Weber State and Idaho State next week. The action begins on Thursday against the Wildcats with tip-off slated for 8 p.m. CT. The Fighting Hawks swept this road trip for the first time since joining the Big Sky (2012-13) a season ago.

DID YOU KNOW?
UND held Montana State to a 38.6 percent field goal clip in Thursday’s victory, marking the first time this season a Division I opponent shot less than 40 percent against the Fighting Hawks. 

BETTY BEWARE
The Fighting Hawks went 11-2 at The Betty last season and own a 123-58 record in the building that opened prior to the 2004-05 season. UND won its eighth-consecutive home opener earlier this season and improved to 5-4 with their third-straight home win Thursday vs. Montana State. The Fighting Hawks were 8-1 in Big Sky play on their home court a year ago, but dropped their first two league contests at home in late December.

RECORD REWIND
The North Dakota men’s basketball program holds a 1570-1049 (.602) all-time record since Dr. George Sweetland led the first team onto the court in 1904-05. UND is 948-282 (.770) all-time when it comes to defending its home court. 

The 2017-18 season is the 10th at the Division I level for the program (2008-09) and the Fighting Hawks are 148-161 in those contests. As a Big Sky member, the Fighting Hawks own a 55-45 record in its first five-plus seasons of league play, including its best showing of 14-4 during its title run last season.This is the sixth and final season for the Fighting Hawks,  who will join the Summit League in 2018-19. 

LAST TIME OUT
North Dakota withstood one last miss from Big Sky Preseason Player of the  Year Tyler Hall to escape with a 75-74 victory over Montana State on Thursday. In a game that saw both teams rip off their own 14-0 runs, UND regained control late in the second half to snap a three-game skid. Senior Dale Jones led a quartet of Fighting Hawks in double figures with 18 points, while junior Cortez Seales added 12 points and limited Hall to just six points on 1-of-11 shooting from the floor. He came in averaging 18.3 ppg and went 0-for-5 from beyond the arc. 

#BAREFOOT COACH
In each of the past six seasons, head coach Brian Jones and his staff has coached a game in their barefeet to help raise awareness for the Samaritan’s Feet cause. This year’s game will take place on Saturday as Montana visits for a Big Sky showdown. 
For the first time since helping out the organization, the Fighting Hawks are going to wear special jerseys that are trimmed in orange, which is the primary color utilized by Samaritan’s Feet. Those jerseys are going to be available for purchase by fans at a later date with proceeds going to assist Samaritan’s Feet.

The nonprofit group serves and inspires hope in children by providing shoes to impoverished children throughout the world. In 2016, Jones was named the organization’s Barefoot Coach of the Year and was recognized at a special breakfast during Final Four Weekend in Houston. 

The Fighting Hawks have also participated in local shoe drives each of the past six years where thousands of shoes have been distributed to members of the Grand Forks community. 

This year’s event was hosted at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center for the first time. The men’s basketball program was joined by several fellow UND student-athletes along with several local high school students. The volunteers passed out shoes to those in need and also washed the feet of the children receiving the shoes. For more information and to find out ways to donate to Samaritan’s Feet, visit www.samaritansfeet.org.

GET MOVING
Slow starts have been one of the bigger issues for the Fighting Hawks in their seven Big Sky losses so far this season. In those seven league setbacks, opponents are outscoring UND 314-214 in the first half (44.9 to 30.6). The Fighting Hawks have produced much better in the second halves of those contests, averaging 39.0 ppg after the break.

During UND’s three Big Sky victories, the Fighting Hawks are outscoring opponents 115-89 (38.3 to 29.7). 

THE POWER OF EIGHTY
For just the third time in the past two seasons, UND dropped a contest when it scored at least 80 points after falling 94-91 in overtime Saturday at Northern Colorado. the Fighting Hawks  own a 22-3 record in those contests and their first losses were against ranked opponents (100-82 vs. Arizona; NCAA Tournament and 89-83 OT loss at Gonzaga). So far this season, the Fighting Hawks are 6-2 when scoring 80-plus points with both of those losses coming in OT.

OPPONENT PREVIEW: MONTANA
• Head coach Travis DeCuire has the Grizzlies off to a 17-5 start overall and 10-0 mark in Big Sky play. This is  his fourth season leading his alma mater and DeCuire led Montana to a pair of 20-win seasons in his first two campaigns and the Griz finished last season 16-16 and 11-7 in Big Sky play.
• DeCuire has yet to lose to North Dakota in six tries and his club put up a season-high 109 points in the first matchup with the Fighting Hawks in Missoula.
• Oregon transfer Ahmaad Rorie is Montana’s top scorer, averaging 18.1 ppg. He is averaging 18.4 ppg in Big Sky action.
• Senior Fabijan Krslovic led the Griz in scoring for the first time this season with 21 points in the 88-79 win Thursday at Northern Colorado. With the victory, the Griz improved to 6-0 on the road in Big Sky play.
• Junior Michael Oguine is having his best season for the Griz, averaging 15.4 ppg and 4.8 rpg. The 6-foot-2 guard is also apt at crashing the offensive glass, averaging x.x o-boards per game, which is second among Big Sky players.
• Rorie is not the only Division I-transfer impacting this team. Junior Jamar Akoh is providing a nice inside presence for his new team after playing two seasons at Cal State Fullerton. The 6-foot-8 forward is averaging 13.6 ppg and 6.7 rpg.• Akoh is scoring 16.1 ppg and the Griz are the only league team with three players averaging 15.0 ppg or higher in Big Sky  play.• DeCuire has used the same starting lineup in all 22 games.

HAWK-UMENTARY
• The Fighting Hawks are the only Big Sky team with all five starters averaging in double figures.
• Glass repairs: UND has held a rebounding advantage only once in its last 16 games, a plus-four showing in a 23-point victory over Idaho State on Jan. 11.
• During their three-game home winning streak, the Fighting Hawks are shooting 46.7 percent from 3-point range, knocking down 28-of-60 attempts. In the six home games before that, UND connected on only  23.7 of its 3-point attempts (33-of-139).

-- UND --

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