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Forward Doug Archer equaled his career-high with four blocks, including two key ones late in the contest as UND defeated Southern Utah 68-61 on Senior Day.
UND holds off Southern Utah on Senior Day
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Updated: Tuesday 04/03/2013 10:31:34 (ET)
by UNDsports.com
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GRAND FORKS, N.D. - The North Dakota men's basketball held off a late rally by Southern Utah and was able send its four active seniors out with a 68-61 Senior Day victory in the regular season finale for both schools on Saturday.

That senior quartet of Doug Archer, Jordan Allard, Mitch Wilmer and Dan Stockdale all started and were honored along with injured teammate Spencer Goodman in a pre-game ceremony.

And, as they have their entire careers, all four found little ways to contribute in what was the fourth straight Big Sky victory for UND (15-15, 12-8 BSC). Southern Utah (11-19, 8-12 BSC) dropped its seventh straight league game and will have to wait on the rest of Saturday's Big Sky schedule to determine its postseason fate.

"I'm just really proud of this senior class and what they mean to me and this program," UND head coach Brian Jones said. "These guys have truly sacrficed for this team and their contributions don't always show up in the stat column, but like always, whether it was Doug on defense, Jordan with that quick five-point spurt or Mitch on the back boards, they found ways to help us get this victory."

Junior Jamal Webb led all scorers with 19 points, while classmates Josh Schuler and Troy Huff added 16 and 15 points, respectively, but it was the defensive effort by the home team that propelled them back the .500 mark in overall games for the first time since starting the campaign 1-1.

The Green and White hounded SUU seniors Jackson Stevenett and Damon Heuir all game, holding the Big Sky's highest-scoring duo to just 19 points. Stevenett tallied a season-low seven points in league play as he connected on just 2-of-15 field goals, while Heuir only reached double figures late in the game on a pair of layups to finish with 12.

The Thunderbirds managed to shoot only 31.8 percent from the floor for the game and made just 6-of-26 shots from beyond the arc.

Stevenett, who came in averaging nearly 20 points per game in Big Sky play, saw his streak of 23-straight double figure scoring games come to a close.

"The key to this game was our defense," Jones added. "I thought we were really dialed in today and that is what needed."

Both teams were cold from the floor in the opening 20 minutes as UND was only able to build a halftime lead of 28-24 thanks to a 5-1 run in the final 90 seconds. Schuler capped that mini spurt with an acrobatic shot in the closing minute.

UND's shooting improved in the second half and Webb came alive late to push his team to a season split with the Big Sky's other newcomer. 

Webb appeared to have put the game out of reach with a layup that gave UND its largest lead of the game at 55-42 with just under five minutes to play, but SUU's A.J. Hess had other ideas.

Hess, who led the T-Birds with 16 points, made all three free throws after being fouled on a deep shot, then after assisting on a basket, drilled another 3-pointer to see SUU cut its deficit to just five thanks to a quick 8-0 run.

Webb was the one who delivered this time in the clutch for UND as he made back-to-back baskets to push the lead right back to nine and end all hopes off a SUU comeback.

Webb finished the game with nine rebounds, five assists and four steals to give himself a solid stat line. The four steals put him within one of Scott Guldseth for the all-time career mark at UND. Webb will enter the Big Sky Tournament with 177.

Schuler and Huff sealed the victory at the free throw line where the two combined to go 14-for-19 on the game.

Archer finished his last home game with a career-high equaling four shots, while Allard had five straight points early in the half to create a little breathing room for the Green and White. Wilmer finished with six rebounds.

Junior Aaron Anderson, who started with the four seniors, took a hard screen from SUU's Jaren Jeffery and left the game after four minutes.

UND knew coming into the contest that it would be the No. 3 seed at next week's Big Sky Tournament in Missoula, Mont. The Green and White will play the still-to-be-determined No. 6 seed on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. CT.

-- UND --

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