GRAND FORKS, N.D. – North Dakota withstood a late rally by Sacramento State as a desperation 3-pointer by John Dickson was off the mark at the buzzer, allowing the home team to escape with a 49-48 victory over the Hornets on Thursday in Big Sky action.
UND (11-13, 8-7 BSC) ended both halves with substantial field goal droughts, but had built just enough of lead late in the second half to keep Sac State (12-11, 7-8 BSC) from picking up a league road win at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.
“That was not the prettiest basketball game that has been played, but we’ll take the win,” UND head coach Brian Jones said. “Sac State is a good basketball team and they would not go away, but we won that game on the defensive end.”
Junior Troy Huff registered his fourth double-double of the season to lead UND with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
UND held the Hornets to just a 33 percent (18-for-54) field goal clip, which was a season-low by a Division I opponent.
Huff put UND ahead 48-38 after throwing down an alley-oop with just under five minutes to play. The thunderous finish by Huff brought the crowd to its feet, but that would be the final field goal of the game for the home team.
Dickson finished with a game-high 19 points and scored eight of his team’s final 10 points in those closing five minutes to make things interesting down the stretch.
UND had a couple of chances late at the foul stripe to put the game away, but Brandon Brekke and Lenny Antwi were off the mark. After Brekke’s miss on the front end of a one-and-one, Dickson made a layup to pull his team within a point at 49-48 with 18 seconds remaining.
Junior Aaron Anderson expected to be fouled in the backcourt, but Sac State opted to not foul one of the league’s top free throw shooters and forced a turnover. Fortunately, Webb was right there to steal it back.
Webb got the ball into the hands of Antwi, who had not attempted a free throw since making two vs. Northern Colorado on Dec. 21, but he was strong on his opening attempt.
Sac State corralled the rebound with only six seconds left on the clock and could only muster a desperation 3-point attempt by Dickson that was well beyond the arc.
Antwi finished with nine points, making a trio of 3-pointers on five attempts. Brekke and Webb each added eight points as the home team only shot 34.5 percent from the floor (19-for-55).
UND opened the game 7-for-11 from the field, but went just 1-for-13 to close the first half after a layup by redshirt freshman Shane Benton put his team ahead 20-8 with 9:23 on the clock.
A putback by Dickson in closing 10 seconds of the half tied the game at 23-23 going into the break.
Dickson had 10 first-half points and Konner Veteto added nine for the Hornets. He finished with 16 points as the duo of Dickson and Veteto accounted for 35 of their team’s 48 points.
UND returns home on Saturday to face Northern Arizona in another pivotal Big Sky tilt at 2:05 p.m. CT.
-- UND --