OGDEN, Utah - This is the day these North Dakota men's basketball seniors have been working diligently towards their entire careers. UND has its chance to earn its league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament when the Green and White play Weber State tonight at 7 p.m. CT in the Big Sky Tournament title game.
The top-seeded Wildcats needed overtime to fend off sixth-seeded Northern Colorado in last night's second semifinal, while second-seeded UND cruised to a 79-63 victory over fifth-seeded Portland. The game will air nationally on ESPNU.
Revenge will also be an extra motivational factor for UND after falling by two points to this Weber State club in last year's semifinals in Missoula.
UND VS. WEBER STATE SERIES
All-time/In Ogden: WSU leads 5-0/WSU leads 2-0
Big Sky: WSU leads 4-0
Last Meeting: WSU 84, UND 72 (Feb. 6, 2014; Ogden, Utah)
UND Head Coach Brian Jones vs. Weber State: 0-5
Weber State Head Coach Randy Rahe vs. UND: 5-0
WHERE TO WATCH/LISTEN/TRACK
National Television: ESPNU (Roxy Bernstein, PbP; Corey Williams, analyst)
Radio: 100.3 FM Cat Country (Grand Forks)
Live Stats: www.BigSkyStats.com (free)
Audio Stream: www.UNDSports.com (free)
IN THE PAINT...
• With a 79-63 triumph over fifth-seeded Portland State in Friday’s Big Sky Tournament semifinals, No. 2 seed North Dakota will have its first opportunity to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament as a Division I member. UND played in 19 NCAA Tournaments at the Division II level.
• In order to go dancing, the Green and White will have to get by top-seeded Weber State in the Big Sky title game after the host Wildcats survived an upset bid by sixth-seeded Northern Colorado (66-63 OT).
• Saturday’s championship game will be televised nationally on ESPNU with Roxy Bernstein and Corey Williams providing the commentary.
• Against the Vikings, senior Aaron Anderson had 19 points and classmate Troy Huff scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half in a game UND never trailed.
• The 16-point margin of victory was more than the total margin of victory combined in the tournaments other four games.
• With the win, UND moved two games over .500 for the first time this season. The team has won six of seven and head coach Brian Jones improved to 20-10 all-time in the month of March.
• Senior Troy Huff has back-to-back 18-point performances in the Big Sky Tournament and now has 623 points on the year (19.5 ppg). He is one seven UND players to score 600 or more points in a season.
• Huff has moved up to third on UND’s all-time scoring charts with 1,976 points and is 24 points away from joining Scott Guldseth (2,190; 1989-93) and Dave Vonesh (2,053; 1986-1991) as the only 2,000-point scorers in program history.
• Huff tied the UND single season record for steals at 75 after collecting three in the win over Portland State. He is second all-time with 224.
• Anderson will break UND’s career record for games played in Saturday’s Big Sky title game. The national telecast on ESPNU will be his 132nd of his career, eclipsing the mark held by Chris Gardner and David Robertson, who were teammates from 1990-94.
• UND is 3-1 in its brief Big Sky Tournament history and own an 8-2 record in postseason conference tournaments since moving to the Division I level (2008-09).
• For the second straight season, North Dakota finished Big Sky play with a 12-8 conference record, but earned the No. 2 seed after being the No. 3 seed last year.
• Senior Alonzo Traylor is averaging 9.5 ppg in the Big Sky Tournament and has shot 9-for-10 from the field.
• UND has scored 79 points in each of its two Big Sky wins and the team’s seniors have accounted for 82.9 percent of those points.
• Senior Josh Schuler missed the semifinal win over Portland State after injuring his knee in the final second of the quarterfinal win over Sacramento State. Schuler had 11 points off the bench in that win. His return for the title game is uncertain.
OPPONENT PREVIEW: WEBER STATE
• Head coach Randy Rahe led his Weber State team to the Big Sky regular season title with a 14-6 record this season. That was the 21st Big Sky regular season title for the program.
• The Wildcats are looking to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2006-07 season. WSU had made 14 previous appearances.
• The Wildcats are the only Big Sky team that UND has not defeated. Weber State has won the first five meetings including a 76-74 victory in last year’s tournament semifinals.
• Big Sky MVP Davion Berry is the team’s leading scorer at 19.1 ppg and had 15 points in the overtime win against Northern Colorado to advance to tonight’s title game.
• Berry averaged 16.5 ppg against UND this season and has a knack for getting to the line. He went 13-for-14 from the stripe against the Green and White and has shot a Big Sky-high 240 attempts this season.
• Freshman Jeremy Senglin was the Big Sky Freshman of the Year and averaged 14.0 ppg against UND this season.
• Sophomore Joel Bolomboy was named the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year after ranking among the top 10 in the NCAA in rebounding. He led the Big Sky in that category at 10.8 rpg and averaged a double-double against UND in the regular season (12.5 ppg; 10.0 rpg).
• This is the third consecutive season Weber State has reached the Big Sky title game and fourth time in the last five seasons.
Four members of the 2013-14 senior class have compiled a 8-1 record in postseason conference tournaments over the past three seasons. The only loss during that span was a heartbreaking 76-74 loss to second-seeded Weber State in last year’s Big Sky Tournament in Missoula, Mont. Two of those runs resulted in Great West Tournament titles in 2011 and 2012. Here is a look at that quartet’s career numbers in postseason tournaments:
Troy Huff (9g, 16.4 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.9 apg, 2.6 spg)
Jamal Webb (9g, 11.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 3.4 apg, 2.1 spg)
Aaron Anderson (9g, 10.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.2 apg, 0.9 spg)
Josh Schuler (8g, 7.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 1.4 apg, 0.8 spg)
Huff has been named to the all-tournament team in each of his first three conference tournaments, earning All-Great West Tournament Team accolades as a freshman and sophomore. He then earned All-Big Sky Tournament Team honors last season as a junior. Webb was named the 2011 Great West Tournament MVP.
WHAT A NEW YEAR
After posting a 3-8 record during the months of November and December, UND has turned things around and registered a 14-7 record since the turn of the New Year. The Green and White have won six of seven.
JONES IN THE POSTSEASON
Head coach Brian Jones has posted a 10-4 record in postseason conferentce tournament play during his eight seasons at North Dakota. Jones has led his team to a pair of conference tournament titles (2011 and 2012 Great West) and his sqaud advanced to the semifinals of the program’s inaugural Big Sky Tournament a season ago and reached the title game this year after posting wins over seventh-seeded Sacramento State (79-76) and fifth-seeded Portland State (79-63). Before making the move to Division I, Jones led his final DII squad to a memorable run at the North Central Conference Tournament, advancing to the title game as the No. 8 seed. In his four postseason conference tournaments at the Division I level, Jones’ teams have been no lower than the No. 3 seed.
SENIOR TRIO EARNS ALL-BIG SKY ACCOLADES, WEBB TOP RESERVE
For the second consecutive season, senior Troy Huff was a unanimous selection on the All-Big Sky First Team selected by the league’s 11 head coaches and announced on Monday by conference officials.
Classmate Jamal Webb was selected as the Co-Reserve of the Year, sharing the honor with Portland State’s DaShaun Wiggins. Webb and backcourt mate Aaron Anderson were also named to the honorable mention All-Big Sky team.
INDIVIDUAL BIG SKY AWARDS
MVP – Davion Berry, Sr., G/F, WeberState
Newcomer of the Year – Quinton Upshur, Jr., G, Northern Arizona
Freshman of the Year – Jeremy Sengelin, G, WeberState
Defensive Player of the Year – Joel Bolomboy, So., G, WeberState
Reserve of the Year – Jamal Webb, Sr., G, North Dakota & DaShaun Wiggins, Jr., G, PortlandState
*Davion Berry, Sr., G/F (Weber State)
*Troy Huff, Sr., G/F (North Dakota)
*Kareem Jamar, Sr., G/F (Montana)
*Mikh McKinney, Jr., G (Sacramento State)
Tyler Harvey, So., G (Eastern Washington)
Quinton Upshur, Jr., G (Northern Arizona)
* unanimous selection
Derrick Barden, Sr., F (Northern Colorado)
Gary Winston, Jr., G, (PortlandState)
Kyle Tresnak, Sr., C (WeberState)
Chris Hansen, Jr., F (Idaho State)
Tate Unruh, Sr., G (Northern Colorado)
Venky Jois, So., F (Eastern Washington); Keron DeShields Jr., G (Montana); JordanGregory, Jr., G (Montana), Flavien Davis, Sr.,F (MontanaState); Aaron Anderson, Sr., G, (North Dakota); Jamal Webb, Sr., G (North Dakota); Max Jacobsen, Sr., F (Northern Arizona); DaShaun Wiggins, Jr., G (PortlandState); Dylan Garrity, Jr., G (Sacramento State); Joel Bolomboy, So., F (WeberState)
LOOKING BACK: 2014 BIG SKY TOURNAMENT
(2) North Dakota 79, (5) Portland State 63 (Semifinals)
OGDEN, Utah - UND will have a chance to dance after defeating fifth-seeded Portland State 79-63 in Friday’s first semifinal of the Big Sky Tournament at the Dee Events Center. Senior Aaron Anderson had 19 points and classmate Troy Huff added 18 as UND never trailed in the contest and had a double-digit lead for a majority of the game. The postseason conference tournament title game will be the third in four years for UND (17-15), who won two Great West titles in 2011 and 2012 before joining the Big Sky last season. This will be the first opportunity for the program to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after the five-year transition period to the Division I level was completed following the 2011-12 academic year. Seniors Alonzo Traylor and Jaron Nash dominated down low early in the game, starting a combined 8-for-9 from the field as UND raced out to a 22-11 advantage in the opening eight minutes of play. The Vikings would never get the deficit back to single digits before the half as the Green and White built a 39-25 lead at the break.
(2) North Dakota 79, (7) Sacramento State 76 (Quarterfinals)
OGDEN, Utah - In a league that saw its final standings be as tight as any in Division I basketball, second-seeded North Dakota was not surprisingly taken to the wire by seventh-seeded and upset-minded Sacramento State, but held on to post a 79-76 in the first quarterfinal of the Big Sky Men’s Basketball Tournament. It was UND’s seniors that proved to be clutch down the stretch as the Green and White held on to earn its second consecutive trip to the tournament’s semifinal round since joining the league. Senior Aaron Anderson had 14 of his 16 points in the second half and his acrobatic layup with just over three minutes to play gave his squad the lead for good. Troy Huff added 18 for UND (16-15) and classmates Josh Schuler and Alonzo Traylor each came up big with 11 points off the bench.
REWIND: 2013 BIG SKY TOURNAMENT
(2) Weber State 76, (3) North Dakota 74 (Semifinals)
MISSOULA, Mont. - Kyle Tresnak’s jumper in the lane with just over 20 seconds to play dashed the hopes of upset-minded North Dakota as Weber State prevailed with a 76-74 victory in the semifinals of the Big Sky Championship. Tresnak’s jumper gave the Wildcats a two-point advantage for the first time in the second half and UND junior Aaron Anderson saw his 3-point attempt at the buzzer rattle off the rim, securing the Weber State comeback victory at Dahlberg Arena. Junior Troy Huff led UND with 22 points and Jamal Webb added 13 for third-seeded UND, who got out of the gates quick and went toe-to-toe with the Wildcats, who extended their overall winning streak to 13 games. Big men Mitch Wilmer and Brandon Brekke each added 11 to give the Green and White four double-digit scorers.
LOOKING BACK: 2013-14 RECAPS VS. WEBER STATE
WEBER STATE USES TIMELY RUNS TO KNOCK OFF UND: (WSU 84, UND 72, Feb. 6)
Weber State made a series of timely runs as the Wildcats held off North Dakota 84-72 in Big Sky play. The Wildcats (12-7, 9-2 BSC) have now won 25 straight Big Sky regular season home games dating back to the 2011 season. UND (9-12, 6-5 BSC) dropped its second straight on the road despite a career-high 27 point effort from senior Jaron Nash. The Texas Tech transfer came off the bench and made 12-of-21 field goals in the contest, while classmate Troy Huff posted his fourth double-double of the season with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
WILDCATS PICK UP ROAD WIN AT UND: (WSU 72, UND 6, Jan. 11)
North Dakota could never find a rhythm against one of the Big Sky’s top defensive teams as Weber State picked up a 72-60 victory Jan. 11 at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. The Wildcats held UND to 40 percent shooting from the floor and forced the home team into an uncharacteristic 17 turnovers to pick up their first road win of the season. Senior Troy Huff had a game-high 17 points for UND and classmate Jaron Nash added 14, but the home team could not trim away at their 12-point halftime deficit.
CAREER LINE VS. THE WILDCATS
# PLAYERS (gp; ppg, rpg, apg)
0 Aaron Andreson (5; 10.8 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.6 apg)
1 Jaron Nash (2; 20.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.5 spg)
2 Cole Stefan (2; 0.0 ppg, 0.5 rpg, 0.5 apg)
3 Lenny Antwi (3; 1.7 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 0.3 apg)
5 Troy Huff (5; 18.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.8 spg)
10 Shane Benton (4; 0.8 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 0.5 apg)
11 Jamal Webb (5; 8.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 4.2 apg)
21 Quinton Hooker (2; 0.5 apg, 0.5 spg)
32 Josh Schuler (5; 7.8 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 0.6 apg)
33 Chad Calcaterra (2; 2.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg)
41 Ryan Salmonson (2; 1.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg)
42 Alonzo Traylor (2; 5.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 0.5 bpg)
The impact this year’s seven-member senior class has made during the program’s infancy as a Division I member has been immense and probably will not be truly felt until years from now. However, there are some measurable things about this class that show just how successful it has been over the past four seasons. There are 67 victories, an overall winning record, three consecutive CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament appearances and two Great West Tournament titles. The unit has won 12 Big Sky games in each of the last two seasons. The 12 last season were the most ever by a league newcomer. The class boasts a trio of 1,000-point scorers - only one other class in UND history (1999-2000 seniors) can claim that.
If not for untimely injuries, that number could easily be four or even five. The class has multiple All-Conference and All-Tournament team accolades to its credit and has started 458 games and logged well over 15,000 minutes of game time throughout their careers. As far as history goes, the class will leave several entries into UND’s all-time and single-season record book for everything from points and steals to 3-pointers made and assists. There may never be another class in the history of UND basketball that can lay claim to this level of significance.
MORE MILESTONES FOR MALLIE
In the regular season finale at Southern Utah, senior Jamal Webb became the first player in UND history to put together four consecutive seasons with at least 50 steals and 100 assists. He is the program’s all-time career leader in steals with 235 and ranks second in assists with 483.
SAVING HIS BEST FOR LAST
Senior Troy Huff’s 34 points against Northern Colorado in his final home game on March 4 equaled his most in a Big Sky game (at EWU last season) and were the most he scored in his career at The Betty. Huff made a career-high 15 free throws (17 attempts) in the victory and 21 of his game-high output came in the first half when UND scored a season-high 56 points in the opening 20 minutes (shot 79 percent from the field; 19-24). He averaged 24.0 ppg during the final three-game homestand.
THE MARCH IS ON
Head coach Brian Jones owns an 20-10 record in the month of March since he took over the UND program prior to the 2006-07 season. Over the last three seasons, Jones’ record is an impressive 14-5 with two Great West Tournament titles and an appearance in the Big Sky Tournament semifinals in the program’s first season in its new league last year. UND earned the No. 3 seed at the 2013 tournament - the highest for a league newcomer.
SENIOR DAY-JA VU
Is there a better way to end Senior Day then for a senior to hit a game-winning buzzer beater? The answer is no and remarkably, UND has been witness to such a feat twice in a three-year stretch. Former UND hoopster Patrick Mitchell brought the home court crowd to its feet on his Senior Day back in 2011 when his free-throw line jumper at the horn gave his team a 57-56 victory over Utah Valley. The Betty Engelstad Sioux Center fans were treated to another improbable Senior Day ending on March 1 when from nearly the identical spot on the floor as Mitchell’s heroics, Troy Huff gave his team a thrilling 69-67 victory over Eastern Washington with an off-balance, one-handed thrust that fell through the strings as the horn sounded.
HUFF REACHES 1,000-POINT PLATEAU AS BIG SKY MEMBER
With 24 points in the win over Portland State on Feb. 27, senior Troy Huff eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau over the past two seasons since UND joined the Big Sky Conference. His point total over the past two seasons entering the Big Sky Tournament is 1,086, which trails only Davion Berry of Weber State (1,119) among league players. The Milwaukee native also became became the first UND player to since Jerome Beasley had 772 points as a senior season in 2002-03 to score 500-plus points in a season.
Listed at 5-foot-10 and 150 pounds, senior Aaron Anderson does not possess the biggest stature on the North Dakota men’s basketball team, but you’d be hard-pressed to find someone with more passion on the roster. The Brooklyn Park native has played 131 career games, starting 93 of those during his three-plus seasons in Grand Forks. What is remarkable about that number is he has never missed a game in his collegiate career. He is averaging 10.8 ppg for his career and will go down as one of the program’s top free throw (81.3 percent) and 3-pointer shooters (42 percent) of all time. The career record for games played at UND is held by Chris Gardner and David Robertson, who played in 131 games each during their careers from 1990-94. Classmate Jamal Webb is fourth on this list with 128 career games played, while Troy Huff is eighth with 122.
Seniors Jamal Webb and Troy Huff rank one-two on UND’s all-time charts for career steals with 235 and 221, respectively, so it should come as little surprise that duo ranks among the top three in the Big Sky stats this season. UND ranks 13th nationally, averaging 8.5 spg as a team, which is tops in the Big Sky. Huff is having his best season in the theif category, getting a league-leading 2.2 spg, while Webb is in third at 1.7 spg. Huff had a league-leading 44 in Big Sky play, while Webb was second with 36. With 72 total steals, Huff is within reach of UND’s single-season record of 75 set by Rico Burkett during the 1989-90 season. Webb fell one shy of that mark last season.
HUFF MOVES INTO TOP 10 ON REBOUNDING CHARTS
Senior Troy Huff has led the team in rebounding in 21 of 32 games and ranks fifth in the Big Sky in that category (6.8 rpg). In leauge play, Huff is averaging 7.2 rpg, which is sixth best among Big Sky players. He leads the team with five doube-doubles and has 15 for his career. With a team-high six rebounds in the win over UNC on March 4, Huff moved past Scott Guldseth, who is the program’s all-time leading scorer, into 10th place on the all-time rebounding list. Huff became just the 10th player in UND history to score 1,000 points and pull down 700 rebounds in a career earlier this season. He currently has 738 boards, which puts him in ninth.
MORE ROUND NUMBERS FOR MALLIE
The 1,000-point club is not the first milestone senior Jamal Webb reached during his UND tenure. He already became 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. By reaching 1,000 points, Webb became the first player in school history with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 400 assists and 200 steals in a career. Webb currently ranks 21st on the all-time scoring charts with 1,150 points.
NASH MAKING IMPACT
In 27 career games at Texas Tech, senior Jaron Nash scored in double figures just once - a 15-point outing against Wake Forest early in the 2011-12 season at the Old Spice Classic. In 31 games in a UND uniform, Nash has reached double figures 18 times and scored a career-high 27 points at Weber State on Feb. 6. Nash is averaging 10.8 ppg for UND after only scoring 2.6 ppg in 27 contests with the Red Raiders during the 2011-12 season. Nash has led UND in scoring four times this season.
The senior trio of Aaron Anderson, Troy Huff and Jamal Webb each have played well over 3,000 minutes during their UND careers that began as true freshman in 2010-11. Here is a look at where the three sit, respectively, on a number of UND’s top 10 career lists:
Aaron Anderson (Sr., G, Brooklyn Park, Minn.)
Games Played (t1st, 131)
Steals (4th; 139)
Assists (6th; 354)
Free throws made (6th; 444)
Free throws attempted (8th; 546)
3-pointers made (7th; 149)
3-point field goal percentage (t4th; 41.7)
3-point field goals attempted (9th; 357)
Troy Huff (Sr., G, Milwaukee, Wis.)
Points (3rd; 1,976)
Field goals made (4th; 688)
Field goals attempted (2nd; 1,582)
Free throws made (5th; 462)
Free throws attempted (2nd; 680)
3-pointers attempted (6th; 471)
3-pointers made (10th; 138)
Steals (2nd; 224)
Jamal Webb (Sr., G, Buffalo, N.Y.)
Game Played (4th; 129)
Steals (1st; 238)
Assists (2nd; 484)
WHEREVER YOU NEED ME
Senior Jamal Webb was back in the starting lineup for the last seven games of the regular season after coming off the bench for eight straight. Webb played well in that reserve role, averaging 7.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.3 apg and 1.9 spg, but he was dynamite back in a starting role. UND went 5-2 in those contests and Webb averaged 12.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg and 4.0 apg. He equaled his career-high with 23 points at Sacramento State on Feb. 20, then had a season-high nine rebounds at Northern Arizona (Feb. 22) that he matched on Senior Day against Eastern Washington (March 1). Webb, who went 7-for-7 from the foul line against SAC on Feb. 20, was 17-for-22 (77.2 percent) from the charity stripe in those seven games.
ON THE BOARDS...FINALLY
It took 15 games, but UND finally held an advantage in rebounding over a Division I opponent when the Green and White outrebounded Montana State 33-26 on Jan. 18. UND is now 7-4 overall when outrebounding opponents this season. UND is 8-11 when being outrebounded.
AMONG THE BEST IN THE NATION
In the latest NCAA rankings, UND entered the week 13th in the country in steals per game (8.6) and 15th in turnover margin (+3.4). UND tops the Big Sky in both of those categories. The defense is also forcing teams into just over 15 turnovers a game, which is tops in the league.
-- UND --