GRAND FORKS, N.D. - North Dakota returns to the road this week for the Montana swing through the Big Sky Conference. UND will begin the two-game trip at Montana on Thursday against a Grizzlies’ squad that is off to a 1-3 start in Big Sky play. Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m. CT at Dahlberg Arena.
UND VS. MONTANA SERIES
All-time: Montana leads 9-5
Division I: Montana leads 4-1
Last Meeting: Montana 78, UND 58 (Feb. 9, 2013; Missoula, Mont.)
UND Head Coach Brian Jones vs. Montana: 1-4
Montana Head Coach Wayne Hinkle vs. UND: 4-1
WHERE TO WATCH/LISTEN/TRACK
Radio: 100.3 Cat Country FM (Grand Forks)
Live Stats: www.GoGriz.com (free)
Audio Stream: www.UNDSports.com (free)
Live Video: www.WatchBigSky.com (free)
IN THE PAINT...
• The Griz have won four of five against UND since resuming a series that was dormant from 1964-2007, including all three games in Missoula. UM won last year’s contest 78-58 on Feb. 9.
• UND did taste victory at Dahlberg Arena, however, as the Griz hosted the 2013 Big Sky Championship. The Green and White picked up a quarterfinal victory over Southern Utah before fallling to Weber State by two in the semifinals.
• Senior Troy Huff averaged 23.5 ppg in two contests against Montana last season, scoring 23 on the road and 24 at home.
• Huff led UND in scoring (17) and rebounding (7) in the same game for the eighth time this season in the loss to Weber State. Huff has led the way in scoring a team-high 10 times this season.
• Huff is one of two player in NCAA Division I basketball to rank in the top 20 nationally in both scoring (19th; 21.0 ppg) and steals (11th; 2.6 spg). He joins Youngstown State’s Kendrick Perry (18th; 21.1 ppg) and steals (6th; 2.8 spg) with that distinction.
OPPONENT PREVIEW: MONTANA
• The Grizzlies are in unfamiliar territory after dominating the Big Sky each of the past two seasons.
• Montana is 1-3 in Big Sky play after posting a 34-2 record en route to regular season and tournament titles each of the past two seasons.
• In their league opener on Jan. 2, the Griz saw a 31-game Big Sky homecourt winning streak snapped by Northern Arizona. Montana bounced back to beat Sacramento State at Dahlberg Arena, but came up empty on its first Big Sky road trip to Eastern Washington and Portland State.
• The Portland State contest went to three overtimes before the Vikings hit a 3-pointer with just over two seconds to play to snatch the victory.
• Senior Kareem Jamar is the Grizzlies top player and reigning Big Sky Player of the Year. Jamar is third in the league in scoring at 18.5 ppg and has seen that figure dip to 16.0 ppg in Big Sky play.
• Jamar also leads the team in rebounding (5.9) and assists (4.6).
• Jamar along with UND’s Troy Huff were the only unanimous All-Big Sky first team performers a season ago.
• Jordan Gregory has moved into a starting role this season and is averaging 14.5 ppg, which is second best on the team, just ahead of Keron DeShields at 12.9 ppg.
• The Grizzlies (11th; 26.4) and UND (8th; 32.0) are two of the poorest rebounding teams in the Big Sky this season, but both teams protect the ball among the best in the league. UND is first in turnover margin (+5.3), while Montana is third (+1.9).
WEBB ONE AWAY FROM 1,000
Senior Jamal Webb’s next point will make him the third member of his class and 33rd player overall to join UND’s 1,000-point club. Classmates Troy Huff (7th; 1647 points) and Aaron Anderson (17th; 1,192) 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 now 19th after being passed by Anderson 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 a win over Idaho State on Jan. 9. When re reaches the 1,000-point plateau, Webb will be 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. He needs only two assists to move past current Northern Iowa head coach Ben Jacobson (420; 1990-93) into sole possession of second place on the all-time assists charts at UND.
CAREER LINE VS. THE GRIZZLIES
Six different players on the UND roster played in the three games against the Grizzlies during their careers and here’s a look at their career stat lines:
# PLAYERS (gp; ppg, rpg, apg)
32 Josh Schuler (2; 9.0 ppg, 2.5 apg)
Scored 12 points (10 FTs) in home win over Griz as a sophomore
0 Aaron Andreson (3; 13.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.3 apg)
Scored a team-high 20 points in OT win as a sophomore
11 Jamal Webb (3; 13.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 5.0 apg)
Has reached double figures in all three career games vs. Griz
5 Troy Huff (3; 14.7 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.7 spg)
Scored 23 points in the road loss to the Griz
3 Lenny Antwi (3; 1.7 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 0.7 apg)
Appeared in all three games vs. Griz, scored five points
10 Shane Benton (1; 8.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 1.0 apg)
Scored eight points off the bench in only action vs. Griz at UM
WILDCATS PICK UP ROAD WIN AT UND
North Dakota could never find a rhythm against one of the Big Sky’s top defensive teams as Weber State picked up a 72-60 victory Saturday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. The Wildcats (6-6, 3-1 BSC) held UND to 40 percent shooting from the floor and forced the home team into an uncharacteristic 17 turnovers to pick up their first road win of the season. Senior Troy Huff had a game-high 17 points for UND (5-9, 2-2 BSC) and classmate Jaron Nash added 14, but the Green and White could not manage to cut into what was a 12-point halftime deficit by the end of the game.
TRAYLOR POSTS SEASON HIGHS
Senior Alonzo Traylor came off the bench vs. Weber State to score a season-high 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the floor. Traylor also equaled his season-high with six rebounds in a season-high 20 minutes of action. Traylor is shooting a team-best 55 percent from the floor in 11 games. The double-digit scoring game was the third of his career.
NASH AND COMPANY HELD 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 39 offensive boards, while Nash has 27. The team is averaging 11.6 offensive rebounds per game, which is tops 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 11.4 miscues a game, while forcing 17.1. A big reason for that is by netting a league-high 9.7 steals per game.
THREE IN THE TOP FIVE
The senior trio of Jamal Webb (1st, 209), Troy Huff (2nd, 185) and Aaron Anderson (5th, 126) all rank in the top five at UND for career steals. UND currently leads the Big Sky in steals at 9.7/g. Huff is tops among Big Sky players with 2.6 spg (36 total; 11th nationally), while Webb and classmate Jaron Nash are tied for third, respectively (1.9 spg).
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 14 games in a UND uniform, Nash has reached double figures 10 times and scored a career-high 22 points at Northern Colorado in his Big Sky debut. Nash is averaging 12.4 ppg for UND after only scoring 2.6 ppg in 27 contests with the Red Raiders during the 2011-12 season.
-- UND --