GRAND FORKS, N.D. - UND will take a brief hiatus from Big Sky play on Friday when Bowling Green comes to town for what is the team’s final non-conference game before the ESPN Bracketbuster Game on Feb. 23. Tipoff against the Falcons is set for 7 p.m. at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.
UND VS. BOWLING GREEN SERIES
UND VS. BOWLING GREEN SERIES
All-time: First Meeting
In Grand Forks: First Meeting
UND Head Coach Brian Jones vs. Bowling Green: First Meeting
Bowling Green Head Coach Louis Orr vs. UND: First Meeting
WHERE TO WATCH/LISTEN/TRACK
Radio: 100.3 FM (Grand Forks) or iHeart Radio App (computer or smart phone)
Live Audio Stream: www.UNDSports.com (free)
Live Video: www.BigSkyTV.org (free)
Live Stats: www.UNDSports.com (free)
Live Chat: www.UNDSports.com (free)
IN THE PAINT...
• Bowling Green is one of five teams that UND is playing for the first time during the 2012-13 season. The other four schools (Eastern Washington, Northern Arizona, Portland State and Southern Utah) are all new rivals in the Big Sky Conference.
• BGSU will be just the second Mid-American Conference school that UND has played on the hardwood. The Green and White is 1-0 all-time against MAC foes after defeating Eastern Michigan 54-49 in Moscow, Idaho when the two teams played in the Basketball Travelers Classic at the University of Idaho in December of 2010.
• UND has played one of other current MAC member, but Akron was not yet part of the league when the two teams faced off in the 1966 NCAA Division II National Tournament. The Zips ended UND’s season with a 76-71 victory over the Bill Fitch-led squad.
• A late blitz by Northern Colorado last Friday in the closing minutes kept UND from pulling even in Big Sky play. The Bears erased a 12-point deficit in the final seven minutes and closed the game on a 17-5 run to secure a 75-66 victory.
• The home loss was the second of the season for UND and dropped the squad to 2-2 on its home court. Last season, UND went 13-1 at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.
• NC junior Tate Unruh spoiled the return of Troy Huff to the lineup. Huff had missed the previous eight games with a broken jaw, but saw 20 minutes of action off the bench and chipped in with 14 points.
• Huff is closing in on the 900-point plateau for his career after the 14-point outing vs. the Bears. He only needs two points to reach that figure.
• Huff, who was the team’s leading scorer each of the past two seasons, is averaging 13.0 ppg in two games so far. He averaged 13.3 ppg as a freshman and 13.1 ppg as a sophomore.
• Junior Aaron Anderson led the team with 18 points vs. Northern Colorado, equaling his season high that he established at Hawaii on Nov. 20. He has led the team in scoring in seven of 10 games this season, including both Big Sky games (17.0 ppg in league play).
• Senior Mitch Wilmer equaled his career-high with 15 points against Northern Colorado, while making a career-high five field goals (5-for-6) in the contest.
• Wilmer has equaled or established his career-high in scoring in four contests this season. He had one double-figure scoring game entering the campaign, but has score 10 or more in four of his last five games.
• Wilmer and junior Alonzo Traylor both posted their first career double-doubles at Southern Utah, but the Thunderbirds 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.
• Traylor, who averaged 15.0 ppg and 8.5 rpg over his last two games, including a a career-high 17 points vs. Presentation, did not play vs. Northern Colorado per a coaches’ decision.
• 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 on the hardwood. 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 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament both seasons.
• With nine points in the win over Presentation, Anderson surpassed the 700-point plateau for his career. He is one of five juniors on the team that have already scored at least 500 points in their careers (739). Injured classmate Troy Huff leads that quintet with 898 career points. Jamal Webb is next with 682, while Josh Schuler (580) and Brandon Brekke (510) are also more than halfway to 1,000-point clip for their respective careers.
• 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 16. Wilmer has also equaled his single-game high four different times already this season with a quartet of three-block games to his credit. His 1.8 bpg average is fourth best in the Big Sky.
• 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.
• UND suffered another injury to a starter in the NDSU game 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. His status is day-to-day and he has missed the last three games.
• 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 CollegeInsider.com Tournament for the second consecutive season. UND lost at Drake, 70-64, in the opening round of postseason play.
• 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.
• The 2011-12 season was the last for the UND men’s basketball team to compete under the Fighting Sioux nickname. The longtime nickname was retired this past summer and all University athletic teams will go by the University of North Dakota, North Dakota or UND until Jan. 1, 2015.
LAST TIME OUT
Junior Tate Unruh sparked a closing 17-5 run for Northern Colorado in the final three minutes of play to lead the Bears to a 75-66 victory over North Dakota in Big Sky play on Friday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.
Unruh scored 10 of his 13 points in the final seven minutes of the contest as the Bears (3-6, 1-0 BSC) erased a 12-point second half deficit to win their Big Sky opener. His 3-pointer at the 3:03 mark ignited that strong finish and he would connect again from deep on NC’s next possession to give his team the lead for good.
Junior Aaron Anderson led UND with 18 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the floor and Mitch Wilmer equaled his career-high for the second straight outing with 15 points. Junior Troy Huff came off the bench to score 14 points in what his first appearance since breaking his jaw in the season opener at K-State on Nov. 9.
HUFF BACK IN ACTION
UND got a boost from the return of junior Troy Huff to the lineup vs. Northern Colorado. Huff’s presence did not lead to a victory, but the six-foot-five wing scored 14 points off the bench and his scoring ability was a welcomed addition back to the hardwood. Huff had not played since scoring 12 points in the season opener at K-State on Nov. 9. He suffered a broken jaw against the Wildcats and missed the following eight games before logging 20 minutes against the Bears. Huff had 20 points against NC during his freshman season in 2010-11.
WILMER CONTINUES TO PLAY WELL
Senior Mitch Wilmer has started the last seven 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 9.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg and 1.9 bgp during that stretch. He has set or equaled his career-high in scoring four times in those seven 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. Wilmer has scored 74 points through 10 games this season (7.4 ppg). He entered the season having scored just 83 points in 55 career games (0.7 ppg).
ANDERSON PLAYING BIG
Through two Big Sky games, junior Aaron Anderson is averaging 17.0 ppg for UND. He leads the team with a 12.3 ppg average in overall games and is also adding 3.6 rpg and 3.0 apg. Anderson has led the team in scoring in six of 10 games this season.
WEBB WORKING HIS WAY TO THE TOP
Junior Jamal Webb has moved into second place on UND’s career charts for steals with 22 already this season bringing his career total to 131. He tops the Big Sky charts, averaging 2.4 spg. He still has a ways to go to catch UND’s career leader Scott Guldseth, who had 176 from 1989-93.
A BLIP ON THE RADAR
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 nine games, UND is 122-for-160 from the stripe (76.3 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 two Big Sky games, UND is shooting 40-50 from the stripe (80 percent). Aaron Anderson and Mitch Wilmer are both 14-for-17 (82.4 percent) from the free throw line in league play to lead those efforts.
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.
STARTING LINE-UP SHUFFLE
Head coach Brian Jones used only five starting lineups a season ago and the combination of Jamal Webb (PG), Aaron Anderson (SG), Troy Huff (SF), Patrick Mitchell (PF) and Brandon Brekke (C) started 27 of those contests. That quintet helped UND post a 17-15 record and win its second straight Great West Conference Tournament title. Unfortunately, due to some key injuries early in this campaign, the seventh-year head coach has already had to shuffle his starting lineup that many times through 10 games this season.
The starting lineup of Webb (PG), Anderson (SG), Schuler (SF), Doug Archer (PF) and Mitch Wilmer (C) has started the last three games and is the fifth different one Jones has deployed this season.
ROSTER ROUND UP
Head coach Brian Jones has a 16-man roster, but only 12 of those players are 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.
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 64.8 percent of the team’s scoring through 10 games.
OPPONENT PREVIEW: BOWLING GREEN
• Head coach Louis Orr is in his sixth season guiding the Bowling Green men’s basketball program. Orr has compiled a 176-162 mark in 10-plus seasons as a Division I head coach and has led the Falcons to a 76-82 clip in his five-plus seasons at the university.
• Orr’s squad is coming off an 87-84 loss in triple overtime at South Florida this past Friday. Senior guard Jordon Crawford is the team’s leading scorer (16.7 ppg) and is coming off a career-high 27 points (all after halftime) against the Bulls.
• The triple-overtime affair was the first in 20 seasons for BGSU.
• Crawford is listed at 5-foot-6 and 150 pounds, which should created a fun matchup with UND’s Aaron Anderson, who is listed at 5-foot-10 and 150 pounds. Both are the team’s respective scoring leaders - based on total points).
• Crawford’s classmate A’uston Calhoun is also scoring a high clip this season - putting in 16.0 ppg, while grabbingn a team-leading 6.9 rpg.
• Chauncey Orr, who is the coaches’ son, is the next on the scoring charts at 6.9 ppg.
• Orr, Crawford, Calhoun and forward Luke Kraus have started all 11 games so far for the Falcons. Three other players have accounted for the other 11 starts.
• Calhoun scored a career-high 30 points earlier this season in a single overtime loss to Cleveland State.
• The loss to the Bulls was just the second true road game of the season for BGSU, who is now in the middle of a four-game road swing which ends with the Falcons’ first MAC game of the season at Central Michigan on Jan. 9.
• This will be the first game for BGSU against a school from the state of North Dakota and the first within the border of the Peace Garden State.
• This contest is part of a home-and-home series with UND that will see the Green and White play in Bowling Green next season (date TBD).