Courtesy: Eric Classen,
Junior Jamal Webb has scored in double figures in back-to-back games and had a season-high seven assists last time out vs. Montana.
Game Notes: Looking to bounce back against Bobcats
Release: 01/11/2013
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GRAND FORKS, N.D. - After winning two straight, UND has dropped its last two to the best the Big Sky has to offer - Weber State (5-0) and Montana (5-0). The latest setback was a 77-62 loss to the latter at The Betty on Thursday night. The Green and White will look to snap that brief two-game skid on Saturday with a matchup against Montana State. Tipoff is slated for 2:05 p.m.

Montana State leads 8-7
In Grand Forks:
UND leads 2-1
Division I: First Meeting
UND Head Coach Brian Jones vs. Montana State: First Meeting
Montana State Head Coach Brad Huse vs. North Dakota: First Meeting

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The Bobcats will be making the trek to Grand Forks for the first time since the 1957-58 season as the teams meet up in a Big Sky clash. UND owns a 2-1 advantage in home games in the series, but need a victory to even the overall series that MSU currently leads 8-7.
The last meeting came in 1964 when UND squeaked out a 71-69 victory over the Bobcats in Bozeman. All seven of UND’s win in the series have come by single digits.
The Bobcats (6-7, 3-2 BSC) are riding the momentum of a season best four-game win streak, including three straight in Big Sky play. They picked up their first road win of the season as well on Thursday, knocking off Northern Colorado 69-66 in Greeley.
Thursday’s loss to the Griz came in the opener of a four-game league homestand as UND, who fell to 1-4 in Big Sky play and 4-10 overall.
UND also dropped to 3-3 at home this season after going 13-1 during at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center during the 2011-12 campaign.
A tightly-contested first half saw Montana hold a slight 38-36 edge on the home team, but a 12-2 run out of the gates in the second half propelled the Griz to their fifth straight win.
Junior Troy Huff continued his strong play off the UND bench, scoring a season-high 24 points on 8-for-14 shooting from the floor.
Despite Huff’s solid shooting night, UND went cold in the second half, shooting only 27 percent after making 56 percent in the opening 20 minutes.
Junior Jamal Webb reached double figures for the second straight game, finishing with 11 points and a season-high seven assists. He also added four steals on the defensive end.
With those seven assists, Webb now has 288 for his career, which ranks 10th all-time at UND. Webb is second on the all-time steals chart as well with 139 for his career.
Huff’s 24-point effort marked the 12th time he has scored 20-plus points.
Huff moved within 34 points of becoming the 32nd player in UND history to join the 1,000-point club. The Milwaukee native has 966 points in 72 career games.
Huff leads all Big Sky reserves with a 15.7 ppg average and his 17.0 ppg average in league play is tied for the third best with teammate Aaron Anderson.
Anderson was held to single digits for the first time in Big Sky play on Thursday against Montana with nine points.
Anderson is within four points of the 800-point plateau for his career. He is averaging a career-high 13.1 ppg this season and has his career average up to 10.0 ppg.
With seven points against Weber State, guard Josh Schuler became the fourth member of his junior class to surpass 600-career points and with 10 points in the same contest, classmate Jamal Webb moved past the 700-point plateau.
Senior Mitch Wilmer and junior Alonzo Traylor both posted their first career double-doubles in the team’s Big Sky debut at Southern Utah, 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.
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 four Big Sky teams UND had never played. The others are Eastern Washington, 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 Great West Conference Tournament in 2011 and 2012 anda advanced to the Postseason Tournament both seasons.
Not only has Wilmer added an offensive boost of late, but the 6-foot-11 Warroad, Minn., native has already registered a career-high in blocked shots this season with 19. Wilmer has also equaled his single-game high four different times already this season with a quartet of three-block games to his credit.
Senior Jordan Allard played in his 100th career game on Monday at Southern Utah. 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. He also added five points as the UND bench outscored ISU’s 23-6.
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.
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 Tournament for the second consecutive season. UND lost at Drake, 70-64, in the opening round of postseason play.

The University of North Dakota athletics department is saddened by the loss of UND Athletics Hall of Famer Chuck Wolfe (Class of 1976), who passed last week in his home in Pekin, Ill. Wolfe was 81 years old.

Wolfe earned three letters for the UND men’s basketball team and ranks 12th on the school’s all-time scoring charts with 1,327 points. His career average of 20.1 ppg ranks second all-time at UND between Jerome Beasley (24.2) and Phil Jackson (19.1). As a senior, Wolfe averaged 24.8 ppg, which is the third highest single-season average ever recorded by a UND player, and 10.3 rpg. He was named a Converse All-American after averaging a double-double in his final season in 1952-53.

Montana forward Mathias Ward scored a season-high 27 points and the visiting Grizzlies used a second-half surge to defeat North Dakota 77-62 in the first meeting between the two teams as Big Sky foes Thursday. The visitors also avenged an 88-81 overtime loss to UND a season ago in a non-conference tilt.

UND’s Troy Huff scored a season-high 24 points off the bench for the home team, but his efforts were trumped by Ward and company as the Griz (9-4, 5-0 BSC) remained unbeaten in league play. The loss dropped UND (4-10) to 1-4 in league play.

Ward and Huff each scored 15 points for their respective teams in the opening half as the teams went back-and-forth before the Griz managed to take a 38-36 lead at halftime thanks to a pair of free throws by Will Cherry in the closing minute.

But, it was Cherry’s second 3-pointer of the half that might have been the biggest make of the opening 20 minutes for the visitors. It came after Huff made a 3-point play the old-fashioned way to put his squad in the lead at 32-28 with just under three minutes to play. Cherry had 12 of his 14 points in the opening stanza that saw both teams shoot at least 50 percent from the floor.

Junior Troy Huff has returned to action for UND’s past five games. Huff, who scored 12 points in the season opener vs. K-State before suffering a broken jaw, has provided a spark off the UND bench since his return. The junior has reached double figures in all five games, including scoring a season-high 24 points in the loss to Montana. Huff is averaging 15.7 ppg in all games and is tied for third in Big Sky play with teammate Aaron Anderson, averaging 17.0 ppg. He is the top scoring reserve in the league at this point of the season.

Only eight UND players have reached the 1,000-point club during their junior seasons, but two juniors on this year’s team have a chance to push that number 10. Milwaukee native Troy Huff needs only 36 points join those eight others, while classmate Aaron Anderson is 204 points away with at least 16 games left on the schedule. Huff is on pace to achieve the feat in the final game of the current four-game homestand, while Anderson may hit the mark late in the campaign if his average of 13.1 ppg holds over the last 16 contests.

Junior Aaron Anderson is among the top five scorers in league games so far this season. Through five games, the Brooklyn Park., Minn., native is averaging 17.0 ppg in those contests. He scored a career-high 23 points at Weber State (Jan. 5), but was held to single digits for the first time in league play against Montana with nine points. Anderson is also doing a lot of his damage from the free-throw line where he is 36-of-41 (87.8 percent) on the season in Big Sky play. Against Idaho State and Weber State, Anderson went a perfect 18-for-18. Anderson’s 36 makes are the most by a Big Sky player in league play and his 64 makes in all games traily only Northern Arizona’s DeWayne Russell.

Junior Jamal Webb has moved into second place on UND’s career charts for steals with 30 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 176 from 1989-93. He has 13 in five Big Sky games to give him 139 for his career. He also joined a new career top 10 recently, moving into 10th spot on the all-time assist chart. With seven helpers against Montana on Thursday, Webb pushed his career total to 288.

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.

During the team’s first back-to-back wins of the season, UND used a dominant effort on the glass to help register those victories. Against Bowling Green, junior Troy Huff had a season-high 12 rebounds, which is the most by a UND player in a game this season, to lead a 42-25 advantage over the Falcons. In the 66-53 victory over Idaho State, senior Jordan Allard equaled his career-high with 10 boards to pace a 43-22 advantage on the backboards. Prior to their +38 run in the last two games, UND was -18 in the first 10 games of the season. The team is 4-1 when owning a rebounding advantage.

Senior Mitch Wilmer has started the last 11 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 6.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 1.5 bgp for the season. He has scored 93 points this season, which are 10 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.

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 12 games, UND is 178-for-232 from the stripe (76.7 percent). The team responded with a 16-for-19 effort from the foul line in the Fargodome. In fact the 84.2 percent clip was the highest of the season for UND. 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 five Big Sky games, UND is shooting 103-131 from the stripe (78.6 percent - second among Big Sky schools).

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 67.8 percent of the team’s scoring through 14 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 College Basketball Invitational.

Head coach Brian Jones has a 16-man roster, but only 11 of those players are now active for the 2012-13 season. The team was hoping for good news from the NCAA on granting Texas Tech transfer Jaron Nash a waiver to play immediately and not have to sit out this season, but the organization denied UND’s request. Houston Baptist transfer Dustin Hobaugh transferred to UND after one season with the Huskies to pursue a degree in commercial aviation. Hobaugh is sitting out the 2012-13 season and will have three left to play starting with the 2013-14 campaign. Besides Nash and Hobaugh, Jones is using redshirt seasons on junior college transer Ryan Salmonson and freshman walk-on Thomas Blake. Salmonson played two seasons at Cosumnes River Community College, while Blake prepped at St. Maria Goretti in Hagerstown, Md. JUCO-transfer Alonzo Traylor played in eight of the team’s first nine, averaging 7.0 ppg and 5.1 rpg, but has been ruled academically ineligible for the second semester.

UND split its four contests against Big Sky opponents in 2011-12. The Green and White defeated eventual regular season and tournament champion Montana 88-81 in overtime at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. UND also split a home-and-home series with Idaho State and lost at Sacramento State (75-64) after leading the Hornets by six at halftime.

Montana State head coach Brad Huse is in his seventh season leading the Bobcats’ program. He has guided the team to the Big Sky Tournament in each of his first seasons and has compiled a record of 75-88
The last time the Bobcats appeared in the championship game was the 2008 Tournament.
After a 2-7 start, MSU has reeled off four straight wins, including three straight in league play.
This will be the first meeting between UND and Montana State since the 1963-64 season when the Green and White knocked off the Bobcats in Bozeman, 71-69.
The last time these two teams met in Grand Forks was during the 1957-58 season when UND again won a tight contest, taking a 75-74 victory.
A season ago, the Bobcats posted a 12-17 record and went 7-9 in league play.
The Bobcats are led by the senior backcourt of Xavier Blount and Christian Moon. Blount led MSU in scoring a season ago at 11.7 ppg (10.0 ppg in Big Sky play) and trails only Moon this season at 12.5 ppg.
Moon, who has played in only five games, tops the Bobcats with 12.6 ppg. He is averaging 10.8 ppg in Big Sky play.
JUCO transfer Flavien Davis leads the team with a 11.6 ppg in Big Sky play. He is one of four Bobcats averaging double figures in league play. Forward Antonio Biglow rounds out that quartet at 11.5 ppg.
At Northern Colorado on Thursday, the Bobcats rallied from a five-point halftime deficit to defeat the Bears 69-66. Calen Coleman gave MSU 16 points off the bench, making half of his team’s 3-pointers (4-for-7).
Blount added 14 and Moon chipped in with 10, while Paul Egwuonwu registered 12.
The Bobcats went 13-for-23 from the field in the second half to help their rally.
Montana State and UND have yet to play a common opponent. The Bobcats 3-2 mark in league play has come against teams with a combined record of 9-16 in league play, while UND’s 1-4 mark has come against teams with a combined of 15-9.

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