Bozeman, Mont. - North Dakota returns to a venue on Saturday where it tasted victory during its inaugural Big Sky season a year ago. UND knocked off Montana State 82-73 at Worthington Arena, erasing a 14-point second half deficit to send the Bobcats to their first home loss of the season. UND swept the season series a year ago after the teams resumed a rivalry that was dormant since the 1963-64 season. Tipoff on Saturday night is at 8 p.m. CT.
UND VS. MONTANA STATE SERIES
All-time: UND leads 9-8
Division I: UND leads 2-0
Last Meeting: UND 82, Montana State 73 (Feb. 7, 2013; Bozeman, Mont.)
UND Head Coach Brian Jones vs. Montana State: 2-0
Montana State Head Coach Brad Huse vs. UND: 0-4
WHERE TO WATCH/LISTEN/TRACK
Radio: 100.3 Cat Country FM (Grand Forks)
Live Stats: www.MSUBobcats.com (free)
Audio Stream: www.UNDSports.com (free)
Live Video: www.WatchBigSky.com (free)
IN THE PAINT...
• Senior Troy Huff had a game-high 25 points in that contest and sophomore Shane Benton came off the bench to score a career-high 13 points.
• The Bobcats have put last season in the rearview mirror, however, jumping to a 4-1 start in Big Sky play. That has MSU in three-way tie for first place after dismantling previous unbeaten Northern Colorado, 70-55, on Thursday.
• UND is still in search of its first road win this season after picking up six Big Sky road wins during the 2012-13 season. UND is 0-2 in league play away from the Betty in the first quarter of its 20-game lead schedule.
• Huff led UND in scoring (24) and rebounding (7) in the same game for the ninth time this season in the loss at Montana. Huff has led UND in scoring a team-high 11 times this season and reached double figures in 14 of 15 games.
• Huff is one of two player in NCAA Division I basketball to rank in the top 20 nationally in both scoring (15th; 21.2 ppg) and steals (t20th; 2.4 spg). He joins Youngstown State’s Kendrick Perry (13th; 21.6 ppg) and steals (6th; 2.8 spg) with that distinction.
OPPONENT PREVIEW: MONTANA STATE
• Head coach Brad Huse has his Bobcats off to an impressive 4-1 start, which has MSU in a three-way tie for first place in the Big Sky.
• Huse is still in search of his first win over UND after four fail attempts. Two of those came while he was the head coach at Jamestown University.
• The Bobcats are one of the more balanced teams in the conference, having only one player averaging more than double figures.
• That player is senior forward Flavien Davis, who enters the UND game averaging 10.9 ppg.
• Center Paul Egwuonwu led the Bobcats with 13 point in their 70-55 victory over previously unbeaten Northern Colorado on Thursday. MSU is now 6-1 at Worthington Arena.
• Egwuonwu had 16 points in the matchup vs. UND in Grand Forks last season, but did not play in the tilt in Bozeman due to an injury.
• Montana State has turned the ball over fewer times in Big Sky play than any other conference team (48; 9.6 pg). Meanwhile, UND is the top Big Sky team in terms of forcing turnovers at (85; 17.0 pg).
• Guard Michael Dison has become a key contributor for the Bobcats here of late. After not reaching double figures in the first nine games of the season, the Houston native has done so in four straight and five of the last seven.
• Senior guard Antonio Biglow is the top reserve for the Bobcats, averaging 7.9 ppg.
HUFF NEARS JACKSON, TOP FIVE ON SCORING LIST
With his latest 20-plus point performance, senior Troy Huff has moved within a point of sixth place on UND’s all-time scoring charts and is only 37 from joining the top five and subplanting Phil Jackson on the list. Huff’s career total is at 1,671 - one behind Todd Johnson (1,672; 1990-95). Jackson finished his three-year UND career with 1,708 points.
ANDERSON DISHES HIS WAY INTO TOP 10
Senior Aaron Anderson broke out of a mini-slump on Thursday in Missoula, scoring 14 points and dishing out six assists. With 12 assists in his last three games, Anderson has moved into UND’s career top 10 list for that category with 301. He already sits fifth on the all-time charts with 126 career steals and is seventh in free throws made (372) and tenth in 3-pointers made (128).
WEBB ONE AWAY FROM 1,000
Senior Jamal Webb’s next point will make him the third member of his class and 33rd player overall to join UND’s 1,000-point club. Classmates Troy Huff (7th; 1647 points) and Aaron Anderson (17th; 1,192) joined the club last season. Only one other class in UND history - the 1999-2000 seniors - had a trio of 1,000-point scorers. Chad Mustard (1996-2000) finished his career eighth on the scoring charts with 1,568 points before going on to a brief NFL career as a tight end for the Denver Broncos. Mustard reached the plateau as a junior, while teammates Marcus Travis and Hunter Reinke surpassed the K-club as seniors. Travis was 14th on the list with 1,229 points before Huff bumped him down to No. 15, while Reinke is now 19th after being passed by Anderson with 1,185 points.
MORE ROUND NUMBERS FOR MALLIE
The 1,000-point club will be another milestone reached for Webb, who has already become the first player in UND history to reach 200 steals in a career and just the fourth to dish out 400 assists. He has also been one of the top rebounding guards in program history and corralled rebound No. 500 in a win over Idaho State on Jan. 9. When re reaches the 1,000-point plateau, Webb will be the first player in school history to score 1,000 points, grab 500 rebounds, dish out 400 assists and collect 200 steals in a career. He needs only one assist to move past current Northern Iowa head coach Ben Jacobson (420; 1990-93) into sole possession of second place on the all-time assists charts at UND.
In the latest NCAA rankings, UND enters the Montana State game ranked 11th in the country in both steals per game (9.3) and turnover marging (+4.7). The Green and White top the Big Sky in both of those categories.
CAREER LINE VS. THE BOBCATS
Six different players on the UND roster played in the two games against the Bobcats last season and here’s a look at their career stat lines:
# PLAYERS (gp; ppg, rpg, apg)
32 Josh Schuler (1; 10.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.0 apg)
Scored 10 points in a starting role in home win over Bobcats
0 Aaron Andreson (2; 18.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.0 apg)
One of three UND players to score 20 or more points in home win
11 Jamal Webb (2; 18.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 6.5 apg)
Scored a game-high 23 points on 5-of-5 3-point shooting in home win
5 Troy Huff (2; 22.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 4.0 spg)
Scored a game-high 25 points in road win at MSU
3 Lenny Antwi (2; 1.5 ppg, 0.5 rpg, 1.5 apg)
Averaged 27.5 mpg off the bench in both games vs. MSU
10 Shane Benton (2; 13.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.0 apg)
Scoreless in home win, but had 13 off bench in comeback road win
JAMAR’S CAREER NIGHT LEADS GRIZ PAST UND
Montana senior Kareem Jamar scored a career-high 33 points and never let North Dakota get comfortable in Dahlberg Arena on Thursday night as the Grizzlies posted an 84-71 victory in Big Sky play. Senior Troy Huff tried to keep UND in the contest, netting 24 points for the visitors and igniting a spark to start the second half after his team trailed by 10 at the break, but the Grizzlies kept coming up with answers, usually spear-headed by the reigning Big Sky Player of the Year. Senior Aaron Anderson added 14 points, which was his highest output in league play this season and classmate Josh Schuler added 10 points to give UND three players in double figures.
-- UND --