GRAND FORKS, N.D. - The North Dakota men's basketball team wraps up a three-game Big Sky homestand on Saturday with an afternoon tilt against Weber State. Tipoff vs. the Big Sky preseason favorite Wildcats is set for 2 p.m. at The Betty. Weber State sent UND home from its inaugural Big Sky Championship last season with a thrilling 76-74 semifinal win over the Green and White.
UND VS. WEBER STATE SERIES
All-time: Weber State leads 3-0
Big Sky: Weber State leads 2-0
Last Meeting: Weber State 76, UND 74 (March 15, 2013; Missoula, Mont.)
UND Head Coach Brian Jones vs. Weber State: 0-3
Weber State Head Coach Randy Rahe vs. UND: 3-0
WHERE TO WATCH/LISTEN/TRACK
Radio: 1440 KKXL AM (Grand Forks)
Live Stats: www.UNDSports.com (free)
Audio Stream: www.UNDSports.com (free)
Live Video: www.WatchBigSky.com (free)
IN THE PAINT...
• These two teams met three times a year ago with the Wildcats posting a pair of double-digit victories during league play, then staging a rally for their third win - a 76-74 victory in the Big Sky Championship semifinals last in Missoula, Mont.
• After falling by 32 in Ogden, 16 on its home court, UND played arguably its best game of the season in that semifinal loss, but a jumper in the paint by Kyle Tresnak with 20 seconds remaining gave Weber State a two-point lead. Aaron Anderson had a look from 3-point range at the buzzer, but his shot rimmed out and the Wildcats rallied from 12 points down to reach the championship game.
• Both teams enter the contest with 2-1 records and both blemishes have come to one of only two remaining unbeatens in Big Sky play - Northern Colorado. The Bears clocked UND 84-66 on Dec. 29, then belted Weber State 70-51 on Thursday.
• Senior Jaron Nash helped UND post back-to-back wins for the first time this season on Thursday night, netting a team-high 21 points in a 66-62 victory over Idaho State. It was the fourth straight win in the series for UND, who won its second-straight league game by four points.
• For Nash, it was his second 20-plus point scoring output in Big Sky play. He had a career-high 22 points in his Big Sky debut at Northern Colorado (Dec. 29).
WEBB TWO AWAY FROM 1,000
Senior Jamal Webb is two points away from becoming the third member of his class to join UND’s 1,000-point club. Classmates Troy Huff (8th; 1617 points) and Aaron Anderson (t19th; 1,185) joined the club last season. Only one other class in UND history - the 1999-2000 seniors - had a trio of 1,000-point scorers. 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 is tied with Anderson in 19th place with 1,185 points.
MORE ROUND NUMBERS FOR MALLIE
The 1,000-point club will be another milestone reached for Webb, who has already become the first player in UND history to reach 200 steals in a career and just the fourth to dish out 400 assists. He has also been one of the top rebounding guards in program history and corralled rebound No. 500 in Thursday’s win over Idaho State. With two more points, Webb would become the first player in school history to score 1,000 points, grab 500 rebounds, dish out 400 assists and collect 200 steals in a career.
CAREER LINE VS. THE WILDCATS
Six different players on the UND roster played in the three games against the Wildcats last season and here’s a look at their career stat lines:
# PLAYERS (gp; ppg, rpg, apg)
32 Josh Schuler (3; 9.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.0 apg)
Had 12 points and five rebounds in the home loss to the Wildcats
0 Aaron Andreson (3; 13.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.3 apg)
Scored 23 points in the road loss, including a 10-for-10 effort at FT line
11 Jamal Webb (3; 10.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.7 apg)
Scored 13 points and dished out six assists in semifinal loss
5 Troy Huff (3; 14.7 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.7 spg)
Went for 22 points and eight rebounds in semifinal loss
3 Lenny Antwi (3; 1.7 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 0.3 apg)
Had five points and two rebounds in home loss to the Wildcats
10 Shane Benton (3; 0.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 0.3 apg)
Started against Wildcats in Big Sky semifinal, three boards, one assist
OPPONENT PREVIEW: WEBER STATE
• The Wildcats were picked to win the Big Sky in both the coaches and media preseason polls after finishing second behind Montana last season.
• Weber State opened Big Sky play by winning a pair of home games over Eastern Washington and Portland State, but suffered a 19-point loss at Northern Colorado on Thursday.
• The loss puts Weber State at 0-5 away the Dee Events Center this season - the team beat UND in The Betty last season 66-51 when it finished second in the Big Sky with an 18-2 record.
• The Wildcats enter Saturday’s game at UND as the top shot-blocking team in the conference (4.2/g). Senior Kyle Tresnak has a league-leading 20 swats, while sophomore Joel Bolomboy has 11.
• WSU also leads the Big Sky in field goal percentage defense (41.1) and is second in scoring defense (66.1).
• Senior Davion Berry was a thorn in UND’s side last season, averaging 22.0 ppg in three victories over the Green and White. He is the team’s leading scorer this season at 16.0 ppg. The Bears limited him to two first-half points, but he finished the game with 13.
• Tresnak, who is second on the team in scoring at 11.8 ppg, had 12 first-half points, but finished with just 14 points.
• The Wildcats were held to a season-low 51 points in the contest on a season-low 37.8 percent shooting from the floor.
• Bolomboy is the top rebounder in the Big Sky averaging 10.0 rpg.
NASH AND COMPANY HOLD OFF PESKY BENGALS
UND held on for a 66-62 victory over Idaho State, sending the Bengals to their first Big Sky loss of the season on Thursday. Senior Jaron Nash scored 21 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the field and did most of his damage in the paint. Classmates Troy Huff and Josh Schuler also reached double figures for UND (5-8, 2-1 BSC), who won its second straight league game by four points. Nash’s big night countered the one by Idaho State junior Chris Hansen, who had a game-high 24 points as he connected on five 3-pointers for the Bengals (5-7, 2-1 BSC), who fell for the first time in league play. Huff had 12 points, including eight straight during a second-half stretch that saw UND extend what was a 45-43 lead to its peak for the game at 55-43 with just over seven minutes to play.
ON THE OFFENSIVE GLASS
UND has yet to outrebound a Division I opponent this season, but the senior duo of Troy Huff and Jaron Nash have done their share to help the Green and White rank second in the Big Sky in offensive rebounds. Huff has a team-high 37 offensive boards, while Nash has 27. The team is averaging 11.5 offensive rebounds per game, which trails only Northern Arizona (11.9) in the league. One way UND is making up for its lack of rebounding is by holding the top turnover margin in the Big Sky at +5.7 per game. UND is committing just 11 miscues a game, while forcing 16.7. A big reason for that is by netting a league-high 9.6 steals per game.
THREE IN THE TOP FIVE
The senior trio of Jamal Webb (1st, 207), Troy Huff (2nd, 183) and Aaron Anderson (5th, 125) all rank in the top five at UND for career steals. UND currently leads the Big Sky in steals at 9.6/g. Huff is tops among Big Sky players with 2.6 spg (34 total), while Webb and classmate Jaron Nash are third and fourth, respectively (1.8 spg).
SENIOR DUO LIFTS UND TO FIRST BIG SKY WIN
Senior Jamal Webb went scoreless in the first half and classmate Troy Huff was held without a rebound, but both players got busy in the second half to lead UND to a 65-61 comeback victroy over Southern Utah (Jan. 2). Webb scored all 14 of his points after the break, which saw his team trailing 37-36. It was the first time UND won a game this season after trailing at the half. Webb had six of those points in a closing 11-4 stretch, including the go-ahead basket with just under three minutes to play Huff, who had 18 first-half points, added seven more in the second half, but it was his 11 rebounds in the final 20 minutes that helped UND secure its first Big Sky win of the season. UND was traling on the glass 19-8 in the opening 20 minutes, but Huff’s work on the glass cut that deficit to just two by the end of the game (32-30).
HUFF NETS 12th CAREER DOUBLE-DOUBLE
With 18 points and zero rebounds at halftime against Southern Utah on Jan. 2, senior Troy Huff seemed a long way from his second double-double of the season. However, 11 rebounds in the final 20 minutes would do the trick as the Milwaukee native not only secured his 12th career double-double, but helped UND rally for a 65-61 victory for the visiting T-Birds. The 11 rebounds were also a season-high for Huff, who also had the 30th 20-point plus outing of his career.
NASH NETS CAREER-HIGH 22 IN BIG SKY DEBUT
Senior Jaron Nash netted a career-high 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the floor Sunday in his Big Sky debut at Northern Colorado. His offensive output was not enough, however, to overcome a 25-0 run by the Bears that led them to an 84-66 victory in the league opener for both teams. Nash and company trimmed what was a 21-point deficit down to 10 with just over seven minutes to play, but that would be as close as UNC would let them get.
FIVE FOR NO. 5
Senior Troy Huff collected his second Big Sky Player of the Week honor of the season and fifth of his career on Dec. 23 after league officials announced their weekly accolade on Monday. Huff, who was the first league player to earn multiple honors this season, scored 30 points and added four rebounds, two assists and two steals in a 77-70 loss to South Dakota State on Saturday, Dec. 21. He collected a league-high three weekly honors a season ago in what was UND’s first in its new league.
Huff made 10-of-14 shots from the floor, was 4-of-6 from 3-point range, and 6-of-9 from the free-throw line. His four 3-pointers matched a season-high. Huff leads the Big Sky and ranks 12th in the nation in scoring with an average of 22.7 points per game.
HUFF AMONG NATION’S SCORING LEADERS
Senior Troy Huff leads all Big Sky scorers and was ninth nationally in scoring at 22.1 ppg entering the week. Huff had a streak of six straight games where he led the team in scoring end at Northern Colorado (13 points). He currently is 16th among active scorers in Division I with 1,618 points - a total that puts him eighth on the UND all-time scoring charts.
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