Grand Forks, N.D. - If Saturday's contest between North Dakota and South Dakota State is anything like the last one - those attending the 4 p.m. tilt at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center will be in for a treat.
Head coach Brian Jones said last year's battle felt like a late February/early March clash between two conference rivals at Frost Arena. But, it was just late November and the fourth game of the season for UND.
The Jackrabbits needed a buzzer-beater to earn 71-70 victory in a game they led by as many as 10 points early on and trailed by nine in the second half. It was a gut-wrenching loss for the visitors, who were playing without leading scorer Troy Huff.
The old NCC rivals will be back on the hardwood on Saturday for what will be UND's final non-conference tuneup. Both teams will be looking to take brief winning streaks into the Christmas break. UND returns to the court on Sunday, Dec. 29 for a Big Sky showdown at Northern Colorado.
UND VS. SOUTH DAKOTA STATE SERIES
All-time: UND leads 106-80
Division I: SDSU leads 2-1
Last Meeting: SDSU 71, UND 70 (11/28/12; Brookings, S.D.)
UND Head Coach Brian Jones vs. South Dakota State: 1-2
South Dakota State College Head Coach Scott Nagy vs. UND: 18-6
WHERE TO WATCH/LISTEN/TRACK
Television: Midco Sports Network (Ch. 27/623 HD)/Fox College Sports Pacific (Direc TV 623)
Radio: KKXL 1440 AM (Grand Forks) and WDAY 970 AM (Fargo)
Live Stats/Audio Stream: www.UNDSports.com (free)
Live Video: www.WatchBigSky.com
Live Chat: www.UNDSports.com
IN THE PAINT...
• After the teams split two lopsided affairs during the 2011-12 season, the 2012-13 meeting between UND and SDSU was one of the all-time greats between the former North Central Conference rivals.
• The Jackrabbits got a desperation 3-pointer from Chad White at the buzzer to steal a 71-70 win from UND at Frost Arena. The Green and White led by six at the break and by as many as nine early in the second half.
• It was the ninth time in 186 all-time meetings that a contest was decided by a single point. UND owns a 6-3 record in those games.
• This will be the fourth meeting between the two schools as Division I rivals. The teams did not play from the 2005-2011 seasons after having played every year from 1945-46 season through the 2003-04 campaign.
• UND is 3-0 at home this season and averaging 94.3 ppg in those contests. UND is shooting 53.4 percent from the floor in those contests.
• For the second straight season, UND snapped a five-game losing streak with a 78-32 victory over Presentation. The Saints managed just 32 points again after fallilng 74-32 in 2012-13. The point total is lowest surrendered by UND in its Division I era.
OPPONENT PREVIEW: SOUTH DAKOTA STATE
• The contest at North Dakota starts a stretch of five straight road games for SDSU, including its first two Summit League games of the season after the New Year.
• The Jacks are coming off back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, but their catalyst from those two teams, Nate Wolters, is currently playing his rookie season with the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA.
• SDSU is 6-1 at home this season, but 0-6 away from Frost Arena.
• The Jacks’ first three losses of the season were all by single digits, but their previous four setbacks have been by double figures.
• SDSU was picked to finish third in the Summit League behind NDSU and Denver.
• Senior Jordan Dykstra leads the team in both scoring (16.7 ppg) and rebounding (8.2 rpg) and is shooting a team best 42.3 precent from 3-point range.
• Dykstra and Wolters each had a game-high 21 points in the one-point win last season. Dykrstra is averaging 13.3 ppg in three career games against UND.
• Florida transfer Cody Larsen is third on the team in scoring, averaging 12.5 ppg and 7.5 rpg.
• Sophomore Jake Bittle has started three of the last five games since coming back from an injury that cost him the team’s first eight contests. He had a career-high 19 points in the win over Belmont after netting just two in a Dec. 10 loss at Minnesota.
ALL-TIME VS. THE JACKRABBITS
Six different players on the UND roster have tangled with the Jacks on the hardwood at least one in their careers and a quartet of seniors have been a part of all three contests at the Division I level. Here’s a look at their career statistical lines since the series resumed in 2011-12:
# Players (gp; ppg, rpg, apg)
32 Josh Schuler (3; 9.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg, 1.3 apg)
Scored a team-high 13 points in last season’s 71-70 loss at SDSU
0 Aaron Andreson (3; 8.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.0 apg)
Had 12 points and five assists in 89-70 home win over SDSU as a soph
11 Jamal Webb (3; 10.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.0 apg)
Tallied a game-high 17 points and five assists in home win as a soph
5 Troy Huff (2; 12.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.5 apg)
Missed last season’s game at SDSU, reached double figures in other two
3 Lenny Antwi (3; 3.3 ppg, 0.7 rpg, 0.7 apg)
Five points in both road games against the Jacks
10 Shane Benton (1; 0.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 1.0 apg)
Played two minutes off the bench, one board, one assist last season
THANK THE SAINTS
Presentation College has proven to be the remedy needed for UND to snap five-game losing streaks the past two seasons. In 2012-13, it was 74-32 victory over the Saints that got UND back in the win column. This past Sunday, it was a 78-32 victory over the NAIA squad that improved UND’s record to 3-6. The 32 points allowed are the fewest in the Division I era.
Senior Troy Huff led a trio of UND double-figure scorers with 19. Junior Chad Calcaterra added 11 and Aaron Anderson had 10 in the 46-point victory. UND’s defense limited the Saints to just nine field goals, including only four in the opening half when the home team raced out to a 44-13 advantage.
WEBB REACHES ASSIST MILESTONE
Senior Jamal Webb dished out five assists in Sunday’s win over presentation and became just the fourth player in UND history to reach 400 assists in a career. He also moved into third place on the all-time charts, surpassing Rico Burkett’s (1990-91) total of 401. Webb, who already owns the all-time steals record at UND, is within three of getting to 200 in that category.
HUFF AMONG NATION’S SCORING LEADERS
Senior Troy Huff led all Big Sky scorers and was 17th nationally in scoring at 21.9 ppg entering the week. Huff has led UND in scoring in each of the past five games and seven of nine overall. He currently is 16th among active scorers in Division I with 1,550 points - a total that puts him ninth on the UND all-time scoring charts.
Junior Chad Calcaterra grabbed 12 rebounds in 15 games as a reserve at Colorado State during his redshirt freshman season (2011-12). In Sunday’s win over Presentation, Calcaterra had 11 boards in the first half and finished with his first career double-double (11 pts, 12 rebs). His 11 points matched his previous career high set in the win over North Dakota State.
Senior Aaron Anderson is averaging 12.4 ppg and has reached double figures in six of nine games so far this season. Anderson is leading UND’s regulars with a 52.0 percent clip from the field and ranks second among all Big Sky shooters with a 50.0 percent connection rate from 3-point range (13-for-26).
Junior center Ryan Salmonson suffered an ankle injury during practice prior to the Butler-Bowling Green road trip in early December and has not played since. Salmonson started three of the first six games. There is no timetable for his return.
BUCKEYE STATE RETURN
Senior Josh Schuler had the best game of his season at Bowling Green on Dec. 11, scoring a season-high 14 points in 31 minutes off the bench. Schuler played in his home state for the first time in his college career. Bowling Green is about 90 miles north of his home town of Urbana.
HOLMES, BOWLING GREEN HOLD OFF UND
After trailing just 30-27 at the half, UND did not have an answer for Bowling Green junior Richaun Holmes in the second half. Holmes, who had just two points and two rebounds in the opening 20 minutes, erupted for 19 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks after the break. Seniors Troy Huff, Jaron Nash and Josh Schuler all reached double figures for UND, but their efforts could not net the team’s first road win of the season. Huff scored 16 of his team-high 19 points in the second half and has led UND in scoring the past four contests. Nash added 17, while Schuler had a season-high 14 points on 4-for-7 shooting from beyond the arc. UND made it a five-point contest with just over two minutes to play, but Bowling Green was able to connect at the free-throw line to seal the win down the strech. The Falcons went 23-for-31, while UND only got the foul strip 10 times (six makes).
NASH, ANDERSON SET CAREER HIGHS AT BGSU
Seniors Jaron Nash added a career-high nine rebounds to go with his 17 points at Bowling Green on Wednesday, while Aaron Anderson posted a career-high with five steals and moved into a tie for sixth on UND’s all-time list in that category with 122. Anderson also dished out a season-high six assists, but UND also committed a season-high 18 turnovers.
LATE FIRST-HALF RUN SPARKS BUTLER IN WIN OVER UND
A 3-pointer by junior Cole Stefan put UND within a point of Butler at 21-20 with just over five minutes to play in Saturday’s first half at Hinkle Fieldhouse, but the home team outscored the visitors 18-2 over that closing stretch to put the game out of reach. Senior Troy Huff scored 16 of his team-high 20 points in the second half as UND made a late charge, but could not get any closer than 13 points after trailing by as many as 28 early in the stanza. Senior Jaron Nash added 10 points and Stefan had the best game of his brief UND career with nine points. Butler owned the glass with a 44-28 advantage and did not allow an offensive rebound to UND in the first half. The Big East squad got a game-high 29 points from Kellen Dunham and 21 more from Kyhle Marshall.
COMING UP EMPTY IN EUGENE
In the opener of the Global Sports Hardwood Challenge, Cal Poly never let UND get in a rhythm offensive eventually posting a 70-43 victory. The 43 points were fewer than UND had scored in five of its first six halves of the season. Freshman Quinton Hooker led UND with nine points off the bench, while seniors Troy Huff and Aaron Anderson combined for just nine points (came in averaging 46.0 ppg between them).
A slow first-half start against No. 14/15 Oregon haunted UND in a game that the hosts won 91-76. After holding a 49-32 lead at the break, the Ducks held off a late rally by UND that saw the visitors outscore the home team 44-42 in the final 20 minutes. Huff and Anderson responded from their poor performance against Cal Poly to net 25 and 22 points, respectively against the Ducks. Classmate Jaron Nash also reached double figures with 12 points. Colorado State-transfer Chad Calcaterra earned the first start of his Division I career in the contest.
In the finale vs. Pacific, UND played its best half of basketball in Eugene, racing out to a 48-45 lead at halftime. Unfortunately, a nearly nine-minute field goal drought to start the second half proved costly as the Tigers were the hot team in the final 20 minutes, knocking 62 percent of their shots from the field to pull away for a 93-76 victory. Senior Jamal Webb had his best game of the young season, scoring a season-high 16 points. Webb had 18 points combined in the first five outings. Huff once again led UND in scoring with 21 points. Anderson added 12.
STEFAN MAKES UND DEBUT
Junior Cole Stefan found out prior to the NDSU game on Nov. 24 that he had been granted a waiver from the NCAA to play immediately and not have to sit out the season after transferring from Green Bay. Stefan has played in the last six contests and is averaging 3.7 ppg. He scored a season-high nine points at Butler. Stefan averaged 3.4 ppg in 19 games at Green Bay last season and averaged 4.6 ppg in 25 games at LaSalle as a redshirt freshman during the 2010-11 season. He was a Minnesota Mr. Basketball Award Finalist at Minnetonka High School in 2009 after averaging 19.3 ppg. His squad won the Class AAAA state title his junior season when he averaged 19.0 ppg.
HUFF NETS BACK-TO-BACK 30-PLUS POINT NIGHTS
Senior Troy Huff became just the ninth player in UND history to register back-to-back games with 30-plus points earlier this season. After scoring a career-high 37 points in front of friends and family at No. 12/15 Wisconsin (Nov. 19), Huff backed up that performance with a 32-point, 10-rebound effort in the 95-77 triumph over rival North Dakota State on Sunday (Nov. 24). The last player to achieve that feat was Jerome Beasley, who reeled off three consecutive 30-point games in the final stretch of his UND career at the end of 2002-03 season. Beasley and Travis Tuttle are the only two players to accomplish that feat twice in their UND careers. Beasley holds the UND record with 14 30-plus scoring games, while Tuttle, Phil Jackson and Dave Vonesh each had 13 during their respective careers. Huff pushed his career total to four with those efforts last week.
HUFF NAMED BIG SKY PLAYER OF THE WEEK
For the fourth time in his career, senior Troy Huff was named the Big Sky Player of the Week on Nov. 25. Huff averaged 34.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg and 3.0 spg in contests at No. 12/15 Wisconsin and vs. North Dakota State. He shot 67.6 percent from the field (23-for-34) and 58.3 percent from 3-point range (7-for-12). Huff earned three weekly honors in UND’s first season in the league a year ago - that tied him with Montana’s Kareem Jamar for the most in the Big Sky during the 2012-13 season.
WIN NO. 1,500 COMES VS. RIVAL NDSU
UND picked up its 1,500th win in program history with the decisive 95-77 victory over rival North Dakota State. More than 10 percent of those wins have come against the Bison as UND improved to 159-128 all-time against its in-state rival. The program started in 1904-05 and 910 of those victories have come at home.
SELLOUT CROWD WATCHES UND DISPOSE OF RIVAL NDSU
Sunday’s crowd for the UND-North Dakota State game threatened the all-time attendance record at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center, but when the final total was announced, it fell 50 short of the record of 3,192 set on Feb. 24, 2006 vs. Minnesota Duluth. The game will go down officially as a sellout as capacity for the building, which was opened in August of 2004, is 3,064.
UND scored nearly 33 percent of its points from the charity stripe in the 18-point victory over NDSU on Nov. 24. The home team went 33-for-41 from the stripe en route to scoring 95 points against the Bison. The teams combined for 57 fouls and 77 foul shots in the contest that saw four NDSU starters and one UND reserve foul out.
HUFF BUMPS BEASLEY
Senior Troy Huff had a memorable night in front of dozens of friends and family in Madison on Nov. 19. He scored a career-high 37 points on 15-of-22 shooting from the floor and moved into UND’s top 10 list of all-time scorers with the effort. Huff bumped Jerome Beasley from the top 10 list and now sits in ninth place with 1,550 points for his career. Beasley, who was also the last UND player to score 37 points in a game (at St. Cloud State; 2003), finished his two-year career in Grand Forks with 1,402 points. Beasley was a second-round draft pick by the Miami Heat in the 2003 NBA Draft.
MADNESS IN MADISON
UND lost by 18 to No. 12/15 Wisconsin, but the 85 points scored by UND were the second most allowed by a Bo Ryan-coached Wisconsin team at home in his 13 seasons as the Badgers’ head coach. Seniors Troy Huff (37) and Jaron Nash (19) both had career highs in a game that saw UND shoot 54.5 percent from the field and 53.9 percent from 3-point range.
The 2013-14 North Dakota basketball team scored more points through three games than any other squad in program history. UND averaged 96.7 ppg during that stretch and the 290 points were 15 more than the 1977-78 team coached by Dave Gunther that held the previous record through three games.
LIKE MOTHER-LIKE SON
In two career games against his mom’s alma mater, Wisconsin, Troy Huff did his best impression of her, scoring 58 points (29.0 ppg) and grabbing 12 rebounds (6.0 rpg) at the Kohl Center. Theresa Huff left Wisconsin after her playing career ended in 1983 as the program’s all-time leading scorer (1,879) and rebounder (1,201) and was inducted into the Badgers’ Hall of Fame in 1998. Huff currently ranks fifth on the scoring charts, but still leads in rebounding. Her son moved into UND’s top 10 list for scoring with his career-high scoring effort in front of family and friends on Tuesday in Madison.
FAST START FOR NASH
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 nine games in a UND uniform, Nash has reached double figures six times. He has already scored more points in seven games (102; 11.4 ppg), than he did in his 27 games (68; 2.6 ppg) with the Red Raiders during the 2011-12 season.
Head coach Brian Jones opted to use a completely different starting lineup at Wisconsin (Nov. 19) from the one in the season opener. True freshman Quinton Hooker and Alonzo Traylor started for the first time in their UND careers, while Josh Schuler picked up his 56th career start. Shane Benton earned his ninth career start and Lenny Antwi received his third. The regular starters ended up playing a majority of the minutes when it was all said and done. Senior Aaron Anderson had started the previous 66 games, including all 65 games during his sophomore and junior seasons. Jones said following the game, the second-unit prepared better leading up to the Badgers’ game and outplayed the regulars in a decisivie four-minute game in the final practice that ultimately led to his decision.
UND BREEZES BY MORRIS IN SEASON OPENER
Senior Aaron Anderson scored a game-high 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the floor (3-of-4 from 3-point range) as UND rolled to a 110-69 victory over Minnesota Morris in last Wednesday’s season opener (Nov. 13). Anderson was one of five players in double figures: Lenny Antwi (18), Troy Huff (18), Quinton Hooker (17) and Jaron Nash (15).
NO REDSHIRT FOR HOOKER
True freshman Quinton Hooker made his collegiate debut against Minnesota Morris, scoring 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the floor. He also added four assists in the victory. The 2013 Minnesota Mr. Basketball Award winner was in line to redshirt this season, but the coaching staff was to impressed by his play in fall camp to not have him on the active roster during the 2013-14 season. Hooker had four poitns and four more assists in the Wisconsin game. Through eight games, Hooker is averaging 5.0 ppg and leads the team with 20 assists.
Head coach Brian Jones picked up win No. 103 of his career in the season opener after his team thumped Minnesota Morris 110-69. The victory put him in fourth place on UND’s all-time wins list for men’s basketball. Jones now has 104 wins after his team beat NDSU for the second time in four tries during his tenure.
UND improved to 5-3 in season and home openers under Jones with the 110-69 victoy over Minnsota Morris on Wednesday. The 110 points scored were the most of the Division I era and tied for the 10th most in program history.
ANTWI FOR THREE
Junior Lenny Antwi has a knack for season openers. After scoring a career and season high 17 points in the 2012-13 season opener vs. Waldorf, the Canadian sharp shooter bested that total with 18 points in the win over Minnesota Morris. Antwi went 7-for-11 from the field, including a 4-for-7 effort from beyond the arc.
YEAR TWO IN THE SKY
The 2013-14 season will mark the second for the club in the Big Sky Conference. In year one, Jones led UND to 12 wins, which were the most ever by a league newcomer and a third-place finish in the league standings. UND opened the campaign 1-4, but finished with an 11-4 mark and won a Division I-program record six games on the road.
HUFF CLAIMS SCORING TITLE
Senior Troy Huff won the Big Sky scoring title with a 19.2 ppg average despite missing eight games with a broken jaw he suffered in the season opener at Kansas State. He averaged 19.7 ppg in Big Sky play and was one of two league players (Montana’s Kareem Jamar) to earn unanimous All-Big Sky first team honors. Huff also landed on the Lou Henson Mid-Major All-America Team.
HUFF NAMED TO LOU HENSON PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA TEAM
Huff was one of 25 mid-major players named to the Lou Henson Preseason All-America Team on Oct. 2. Huff landed a spot on the 2012-13 Lou Henson All-America Team after leading the Big Sky in scoring at 19.2 ppg and leading UND to its third-straight CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.
HUFF ON CBSSPORTS.COM TOP 30 UNDER-THE-RADAR PERFORMERS
Huff was one of 30 mid-major players listed by CBSSports.com’s Matt Norlander as under-the-radar performers to watch out for during the 2013-14. Here is what Norlander had to say about Huff:
“What a player! Checks in at around 175 pounds, yet averaged seven boards last season. He also scored 19 points for the team currently without a moniker. In addition to sniffing the defensive glass so well, he’s also a good defender and gets into passing lanes so well.”
Huff led the Big Sky in steals per game last season, collecting 59 despite missing eight games. He would have threatened teammate Jamal Webb for the single-season school record if he had remained healthy.
TRAYLOR REGAINS ELIGIBILITY
Senior Alonzo Traylor had to sit out the second semester of last year’s schedule, but worked hard in the classroom to regain his eligibility for the 2013-14 season. Traylor was starting to come into his own after eight games of last season, but poor academic performance cost him the second half of his first season at UND. Traylor had a double-double in what was his final game of the season in the Big Sky opener at Southern Utah (Dec. 18). He averaged 7.1 ppg and 5.0 rpg in just over 16 minutes per game last season.
Fellow senior Brandon Brekke was also limited by injuries, appearing in only 19 games. He could never really get on track due to head and ankle injuries, but did average 5.3 ppg and 4.1 rpg when he was able to play.
ANTWI INHERITS CLASSMATES
Guard Lenny Antwi went from being the only sophomore on the 2012-13 roster to being one of five juniors on the 2013-14 roster. Big men Chad Calcaterra and Ryan Salmonson will factor into the front court playing rotation, while backcourt mates Estan Tyler and Cole Stefan are slated to sit out the season due to NCAA transfer rules. Stefan is applying to the NCAA for a hardship waiver to play immediately this season, but that process has not yet been completed. Antwi appeared in a career-high 33 games last season and averaged 4.7 ppg, while shooting 35.9 percent from 3-point range.
Of the 16 players on the 2013-14 roster, four have played Division I basketball for another program. Newcomer Estan Tyler (Kansas City) will sit out the 2013-14 season due to NCAA transfer rules and have two seasons of eligibility remaining when his career resumes. Tyler led Kansas City in scoring a season ago at a 11.4 ppg clip. Stefan began his collegiate career at LaSalle in 2010-11 and later transferred to Green Bay for the 2012-13 season. He is a sharp-shooter that averaged just over four points per game in 44 combined games as the two schools. Calcaterra spent two seasons at Colorado State and has an NCAA Tournament game appearance under his belt from the 2011-12 Rams’ run to the field of 68. Nash played one season at Texas Tech under Billy Gillespie and had a career-high 15 points vs. Wake Forest at the Old Spice Classic during the 2011-12 season.
Seniors Troy Huff and Aaron Anderson reached the 1,000-point plateau during the 2012-13 season becoming the first set of junior classmates to achieve that feat in UND history. Both are currently looking to climb UND’s scoring chart, while two more classmates are looking to follow suit this season. Point guard Jamal Webb is the closest with only 40 points standing between him and the milestone, while shooting guard Josh Schuler needs 254. Only one class - the 1999-2000 seniors - has a trio of 1,000-point scorers in UND men’s basketball history. Chad Mustard (1996-2000) finished his career eighth on the scoring charts with 1,568 points before going on to a brief NFL career as a tight end for the Denver Broncos. Mustard reached the plateau as a junior, while teammates Marcus Travis and Hunter Reinke surpassed the K-club as seniors. Travis was 14th on the list with 1,229 points before Huff bumped him down to No. 15, while Reinke was 18th when his career ended with 1,185 points.