Game Notes: UND ready for first clash with NAU
UND VS. NORTHERN ARIZONA SERIES
All-time: First Meeting
In Flagstaff: First Meeting
Division I: First Meeting
UND Head Coach Brian Jones vs. Northern Arizona: First Meeting
Northern Arizona Head Coach Jack Murphy vs. North Dakota: First Meeting
WHERE TO WATCH/LISTEN/TRACK
Televison: Fox Sports Arizona, Fox College Sports, NAU TV (DirecTV 695, DISH 445)
Radio: 100.3 FM (Grand Forks) or iHeart Radio App
Live Audio Stream: www.UNDSports.com (free)
Live Video: www.BigSkyTV.org (free)
Live Stats: www.NAUAthletics.com (free)
Live Chat: www.UNDSports.com (free)
IN THE PAINT...
• The Lumberjacks were one of three Big Sky teams that the Green and White had never played prior to this season. The other two squads were Southern Utah and Weber State.
• The Green and White will look to move back to the .500 mark in Big Sky play and enter the tilt tied with the Lumberjacks and two others at 4-5 in league play. The other Big Sky squads tied fourth in the league standings are Southern Utah and Sacramento State.
• The Hornets got to that point by snapped UND’s three-game winning streak on Thursdaywith a 67-58 victory over the visitors at The Nest in California’s capital city.
• Montana State took over third in the standings by virtue of its 79-74 win over previously unbeaten Weber State.
• Junior Troy Huff scored a game-high 24 points and added nine rebounds against Sac State, but UND could not overcome a 15-minute field goal drought that spanned the final seven minutes of the first half and opening eight minutes of the second half.
• A fast start by UND put the visitors ahead 24-12 midway through the opening 20 minutes, but the Hornets took advantage of the field goal drought to turn the game in their favor. Sac State outscored UND 24-4 during that 15-minute stretch.
• With his 24-point outing, Huff maintained is scoring lead in Big Sky play, improving his average in those contests to 19.4 ppg. He has reached 20-plus points in four of his last five contests, including a season-high 25-point outburst in the win over Portland State (Jan. 19).
• Junior Aaron Anderson was the only other UND player to reach double figures at The Nest, scoring 14 points on an off-shooting night for one of the league’s top scorers. Anderson went just 3-for-11 from the field, including a 3-for-9 clip from 3-point range.
• Huff had nine of his team’s 19 field goals in the contest to equal a season-high in that category. He went 9-for-18, while the rest of the team went 10-for-33.
• Huff had nine rebounds and has led or shared team-high honors in that category in four straight contests.
• In last week’s two games, Huff averaged 21.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg and 3.5 spg en route to earning his second Big Sky Player of the Week honors. He shared this one with Northern Colorado’s Tate Unruh.
• Huff also joined UND’s 1,000-point club in the win over Eastern Washington (Jan. 17). His 3-pointer with just over 13 minutes left in the half gave him 16 points for the game and 1,002 for his career. He became just the ninth junior and 32nd player in UND history to achieve that feat.
• With the loss at Sac State, UND is now 3-1 since Huff moved back into the starting lineup for the first time since the season opener vs. K-State. He missed the next eight games with a broken jaw and came off the bench during his first four games back.
• Huff also had his second double-double of the season vs. the Eagles, pulling down 11 rebounds to go with 18 points. It was the seventh of his career.
• In the 85-76 win over Portland State, Huff and Anderson both scored 25 points and helped UND set a school record for most free throws made in a game (21) without a miss.
• Senior Mitch Wilmer missed the first free throw attempt of the game at Sac State, so the streak reached 22 consecutive makes dating back to the Portland State game.
• UND leads the Big Sky in free throw shooting in league games at 79.0 percent and trails only Montana (75.1 percent) in overall games (74.9 percent).
• Junior Josh Schuler leads the club and ranks second in league play with a 91.7 percent foul clip (22-for-24). Anderson is third at 89.6 percent (60-for-67), while Wilmer is ninth at 81.6 percent (31-for-38).
• Anderson leads all Big Sky players with 60 free throws made in league play, which is 17 more than the next closest competitors (Northern Arizona’s DeWayne Russell and Montana’s Will Cherry have both made 43).
• Anderson has 88 makes overall from the free throw line. His charity stripe work has accounted for just over a third of his team-leading 259 points (33.9 percent).
• Junior Jamal Webb saw a streak of five straight double-figure scoring games come to an end after being held to a season-low two points for the third time at Sac State. The Buffalo native is averaging 13.2 ppg in the last six contests.
• Webb did have three steals against the Hornets, marking the 10th time this season he has had three or more steals in a contest. He leads in the Big Sky in overall games, averaging 2.5/g, while trailing only Huff (2.5 s/g) in league action at 2.4 s/g.
• With three assists against Sac State, Webb moved into eighth place on UND’s all-time career chart for that category, pushing his tally to 305.
• Huff has not just producing on the offensive end since returning from his injury, he collected seven steals last weekend to join Webb in the school’s all-time Top 10 list for that category. Huff now has 112 in his two-plus seasons and sits eighth overall. Webb is currently second with 148.
MORE IN THE PAINT
• UND fell to 1-8 on the road with its loss at Sacramento State on Thursday. The team is shooting just 35.9 percent from the floor in those contests, which is nine percent lower than its field goal percentage at the Betty (44.9).
• The Green and White are also averaging 12 points less per contest away from home (60.1 compared to 72.3).
• UND improved to 6-3 at home with the win over Portland State (Jan. 19) after going 13-1 during at the Betty during the 2011-12 campaign.
• With one more win, head coach Brian Jones will tie Bill Fitch on the all-time career wins list at UND with 94. Fitch went 94-45 from 1963-67.
• 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 and missed the games vs. Montana and Montana State at home this past weekend.
• Wilmer and junior Alonzo Traylor both posted their first career double-doubles in the team’s Big Sky debut at Southern Utah (Dec. 17), but the T-birds were able to hold off the visitors with a 10-for-12 stretch at the foul line down the stretch.
• 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.
• With his 18-point, 11-rebound effort vs. Eastern Washington, Huff now as two of the team’s four double-doubles this season. He also had 14 points and 12 rebounds in the win over Bowling Green (Dec. 28).
• Huff earned the program’s first Big Sky Player of the Week (Dec. 31) accolade for his efforts against the Falcons - just his second game back from injury.
• 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 GWC.
• 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 GWC Tournament in 2011 and 2012 anda advanced to the CIT Postseason Tournament both seasons.
• Senior Jordan Allard played in his 100th career game at Southern Utah (Dec. 17). 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 (Jan. 3). He also added five points as the UND bench outscored ISU’s 23-6.
• 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.
LAST TIME OUT
Sacramento State 67, UND 58 (Jan. 24) • Sacramento, Calif.
A fast start was not enough to escape California’s capital city with a Big Sky road win as UND fell to Sacramento State 67-58 on Thursday at The Nest. Junior Troy Huff scored a game-high 24 points for UND, but a long field-goal drought that spanned the final seven minutes of the first half and opening eight of the second half by the visitors proved costly in this one.
The Hornets (9-8, 4-5 BSC) moved into a tie for fourth place with UND (7-11, 4-5 BSC) in the Big Sky standings with the win, while the Green and White saw their season best three-game win streak come to a close.
Junior Aaron Anderson added 14 points for the visitors despite an off-shooting night for one of the top scorers in the league. UND was held to a 35.7 percent clip after opening the game making 9-of-18 from the field in the opening 10 minutes.
Huff had nine of UND’s 19 field goals as the rest of the team went just for 10-for-33 from the field. His layup with just over seven minutes gave UND a 26-17 lead, but by the time Josh Schuler made the next one eight minutes into the second half, the game had turned in favor of Sac State.
PORTLAND STATE SNAPSHOT
UND 85, Portland State 76 (Jan. 19) • Grand Forks, N.D.
Juniors Aaron Anderson and Troy Huff each scored 25 points to lead North Dakota to an 85-76 victory over Portland State in Big Sky play on Saturday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. The win marks the third straight for UND (7-10, 4-4 BSC), who pulled even in Big Sky play, while the Vikings (5-10, 3-5 BSC) dropped their eighth straight on the road to open the season.
Anderson’s 25 points were a new career-high and his 8-for-8 clip at the free throw line helped set a UND record for most makes (21) without a miss from the charity stripe in a game. Junior Jamal Webb rounded out a trio of UND double-figure scorers with 16 points.
Both teams shot 50 percent or better from the floor, but it was a 6-for-6 start in the second half by the home team that gave the Green and White a little breathing room. UND finished with a season-high 53 percent clip, while the Vikings made 50 percent of their field goals (26-for-52).
Four of those six shots were from 3-point land as Huff’s second of the stanza made it a 56-46 advantage for UND just four minutes into the half. Huff would score 18 of his season-high 25 points after halftime as he went 9-for-15 from the floor and 5-for-5 from the free throw line.
TRIFECTA VAULTS HUFF INTO 1,000-POINT CLUB
A 3-pointer from the top of the key moved junior Troy Huff into an elite club in the history of North Dakota basketball. Huff’s trey at the 13-minute of the second half vs. Eastern Washington (Jan. 17) brought his career total to 1,002 points as he became the 32nd UND player and just ninth junior to reach that milestone. Patrick Mitchell - a captain on last year’s squad - was the last UND player to add his name to this list. Mitchell finished his career with 1,136 points and stands in 20th.
At some point over the next season and a half, Huff will likely have several of his classmates join him. Aaron Anderson is the next in line to reach the milestone and if his season average holds up (currently 14.4 ppg), he could do so by the end of the 2012-13 season. UND has never had two players reach the 1,000-point plateau in the same season.
ANDERSON, HUFF - BIG SKY’S TOP SCORING DUO
When it comes to Big Sky play, UND is home to the top scoring duo in the conference. Junior Troy Huff (19.4 ppg) leads the Big Sky in league scoring and classmate Aaron Anderson (17.9 ppg) is third, trailing only Southern Utah’s Jackson Stevenett (18.9 ppg). Huff has reached double figures in all eight of his Big Sky games, including a season-high 25 points in the win over Montana State. Anderson has only been held below double figures once in Big Sky play and has reached 20-plus points three times in league action. He scored a career-high 23 points vs. Portland State. Both Huff (18.1 ppg) and Anderson (14.4 ppg) are averaging career-highs in overall games.
WEBB FINDS HIS STROKE
Junior Jamal Webb came into the Montana State game (13 games played) with only seven makes from beyond the arc this season. He left with 12 makes, which brought his season percentage up from 16.3 percent to 25 percent. Over his last four games, Webb has made eight and is shooting 61.5 percent from beyond the arc (8-for-13).
WEBB WORKING HIS WAY TO THE TOP
Junior Jamal Webb has moved into second place on UND’s career charts for steals with 36 already this season. He tops the Big Sky charts, averaging 2.4 spg. Webb still has a ways to go to catch UND’s career leader Scott Guldseth, who had 178 from 1989-93. He has 22 in nine Big Sky games to give him 148 for his career. He also joined a new career top 10 recently and has moved into the eighth spot on the all-time assist chart with 305.
ANDERSON PLAYING BIG
Junior Aaron Anderson is among the top five scorers in league games so far this season. Through nine games, the Brooklyn Park., Minn., native is averaging 17.9 ppg in those contests. He scored a career-high 25 points in the win over Portland State. Anderson is also doing a lot of his damage from the free-throw line where he is 60-of-67 (89.9 percent) on the season in Big Sky play. Against Idaho State and Weber State, Anderson went a perfect 18-for-18. Anderson’s 60 makes are the most by a Big Sky player in league play and his 88 makes in all games also top the BSC charts.
HUFF NETS UND’S FIRST BIG SKY POW AWARD
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.
WILMER CONTINUES TO PLAY WELL
Senior Mitch Wilmer has started the last 13 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 5.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 1.3 bgp for the season. He has scored 106 points this season, which are 23 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.
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 15 games, UND is 249-for-321 from the stripe (77.6 percent). The team responded with a 16-for-19 effort from the foul line in the Fargodome. 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 nine Big Sky games, UND is shooting 169-214 from the stripe (79.0 percent - first among Big Sky schools).
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 CBI Invitational.
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 71.9 (857 of 1,192) percent of the team’s scoring through 18 games, which is tops for any junior class in Division I.