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Senior captain Doug Archer has blocked seven shots in the last two games, including a career-high four in the win over Northern Colorado on Feb. 20.
Game Notes: UND resumes Big Sky play in Pacific NW
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Updated: Sunday 02/27/2013 22:09:38 (ET)
by UNDsports.com
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GRAND FORKS, N.D. - North Dakota returns to Big Sky play with a two-game road swing through the Pacific Northwest. The trek starts with UND's first trip to Portland State since the 1978-79 season when the Green and White knocked off the Vikings 69-61. Tipoff is set for 9:35 p.m. CT.

UND VS. PORTLAND STATE SERIES
All-time: UND leads 3-0
Division I: UND leads 1-0
In Portland: UND leads 1-0
UND Head Coach Brian Jones vs. Portland State: 1-0
Portland State Head Coach Tyler Geving vs. UND: 0-1

WHERE TO WATCH/LISTEN/TRACK
Radio: 100.3 FM (Grand Forks) or iHeart Radio App (computer or smart phone)
Live Audio Stream: www.UNDSports.com (free)
Live Video: www.BigSkyTV.org (free)
Live Stats: http://vikslive.statb.us (free)
Live Chat: www.UNDSports.com (free) 

IN THE PAINT...
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These two squads met for the first time since a 59-56 win by UND in Grand Forks on Nov. 30, 1979 earlier this season (Jan. 19) when the home team also dealt the Vikings an 85-76 setback. The win moved UND's ledger to 3-0 all-time against PSU.
- Juniors Troy Huff and Aaron Anderson each scored 25 points in the January meeting as UND set a school record by making all 21 of its free throw attempts. The win over PSU was UND's third in a row marking the only three-game winning streak of the season for the Green and White.
- UND is the midst of a season long four-game road trip that started with a thrilling 64-62 victory over Northern Colorado on Feb. 20, but the squad arrives in the City of Roses trying to rebound from an 83-75 loss to former North Central Conference foe Omaha.
- Huff and Anderson once again paced UND in scoring. Huff had a game-high 21 points, while Anderson added 19, including 12 straight in a three-minute stretch late in the first half. Anderson is now 12 points shy of becoming 33rd UND player to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
- UND trailed by as many as 12 in the first half before Huff and company ralllied to make it 41-41 contest at halftime. The lead changed 17 times in the second half, but a cold drought from the field in the closing five minutes allowed the Mavs to pull away and secure the win.
- UND opened the game going 30-for-60 from the field and made six consecutive 3-pointers at one point before missing its last 10 shots to close the game.
- UND enters the week alone in the third place in the Big Sky standings thanks to the two-point win at Northern Colorado. It marked the third straight outing where the outcome was decided by two points or less (49-48 win vs. Sac State and 74-72 OT loss vs. NAU).
- UND improved to 4-4 on the road in BSC play with the win over the Bears. Only first-place Montana (7-1) and second-place Weber State (6-2) have more road wins in league play.
- Anderson scored a game-high 21 points and hit the game-winning 3-pointer with seven seconds left to help UND erase an 11-point second half deficit to the Bears.
- Anderson's 3-pointer was the 100th of his career and the first of the second half for UND, who had missed eight straight after going 5-for-11 from deep to start.
- It was the first win over the Bears at the Division I level (five games) for UND, who moved into third place in the Big Sky standings with the victory. UND has three games left in league play following the tilt at Omaha.
- Huff added 19 points in the win over NC and, with his 21 points at Ohama, is averaging more than 20 points per game since he joined UND's 1,000-point club against Eastern Washington on Jan. 17 (11 games). Huff has moved up to 15th place in UND's all-time charts with 1,227 points.
- Redshirt freshman Shane Benton scored 12 points and equaled Anderson with a team-high six rebounds in his second career start at NC. Benton is averaging 9.2ppg in UND's last five road games - accounting for 46 of his 72 points.
- UND trailed 44-33 after NC opened the second half on a 16-5 run, but for the third time in Big Sky play, UND erased a double-digit deficit after halftime.
- Senior Doug Archer equaled his career-high with 24 minutes against NC and came up with a career-high four blocks in the victory.

MORE IN THE PAINT
- With his 19 points at Omaha, Anderson moved to within 12 points of joining Huff and 31 other UND players in the 1,000-point club.
- Montana and Weber State have already locked in the top two seeds and the Grizzlies hold a one-game lead on the Wildcats in the race to host the 2013 Big Sky Tournament, which is set for March 14-16.
- The next five seeds are up for grabs and the remaining nine league teams are all still mathematically alive for a postseason berth.
- Senior Mitch Wilmer has six double-digit scoring games to his credit this season after recording just one his first three seasons of playing time. Two of those have come against Northern Arizona - a team UND had a chance defeat last Saturday, but the Lumberjacks found a way to force OT and escape with a 74-72 victory.
- Wilmer had 12 points and eight rebounds in the home loss to the Lumberjacks, while Anderson finished with 24 points and Huff registered his second double-double of the weekend at home.
- Huff's double-double was his fifth of the season and 10th of his career and it also marked the first time he posted one in consecutive games. He finished with 19 points and equaled his season-high with 11 rebounds. Huff had 13 points and 10 rebounds in the 49-48 victory over Sac State.
- Huff also moved into third place on UND's career list for steals after equaling his career-high with five takeaways. He now has 133 in two-plus season.
- UND played without power forward Brandon Brekke (ankle) and shooting guard Josh Schuler (back) in Omaha. Brekke has missed the last three games with this latest injury (14 total games) and Schuler has missed six straight.
- Junior Jamal Webb had two steals against Omaha to give him 61 on the season, which is the fourth most by a UND player in a single season. He is the first player to wear the green and white that has registered three consecutive 50-plus steal seasons (52; 2010-11 and 57; 2011-12).
- Webb also closed within eight (170) of Scott Guldseth, who owns UND's all-time career record for steals with 178. He has 14 games this season with three or more steals and 29 for his career.
- Webb also ranks fifth on UND's all-time charts for career assists with 343.
- Anderson went 1-for-1 from the free throw line at Omaha and now has 326 makes for his career, which puts him 10th on UND's all-time charts.
- Schuler, who had started 20 straight games since coming off the bench in the season opener at K-State, has missed the last six games with back spasms. His status is day-to-day. Schuler had played in all 87 games of his UND career up to the Montana State game on Feb. 7.
- With the win over Idaho State on Feb. 2, head coach Brian Jones surpassed former NBA coaching legend Bill Fitch for fourth place on the all-time career wins list at UND. Fitch went 94-45 from 1963-67 and Jones now has 98 career wins.
- UND fell to 8-5 at home with its overtime loss to NAU on Feb. 16. UND went 13-1 at home during the 2011-12 season.
- The Big Sky is the third conference that UND has been affiliated with since the program began in 1904. At the Division II level, UND was a member of the North Central Conference from 1922 to 2008. After spending one season as an independent during its first season of Division I play in 2008-09, UND spent the next three seasons in the Great West Conference.
- With the addition of the Thunderbirds and UND, the Big Sky basketball playing members grew to 11 this season. Southern Utah played last season in the Summit League, while UND wrapped up a three-year run in the GWC.
- The top seven teams from the regular season will all advance to the Big Sky Conference Tournament where, if they do advance, UND would have a crack at earning its first NCAA Tournament berth. UND won the GWC Tournament in 2011 and 2012 and advanced to the CIT Postseason Tournament both seasons.

OPPONENT PREVIEW: PORTLAND STATE
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Head coach Tyler Geving is in his fourth year leading the Vikings' program after spending two seasons at PSU as the associate head coach.
- Geving's club is coming off a third-place finish in the Big Sky last season as the Vikings finished 17-15 overall and 10-6 in league play.
- PSU advanced to the semifinals of the Big Sky Tournament both last season and in Geving's first season in 2009-10.
- All eight of PSU's wins this season have come at the Peter W. Stott Center, while the club is 0-12 on the road, including an 85-76 loss to UND in Grand Forks on Jan. 19.
- The Vikings played that day without starting forward Renado Parker, who has appeared in each of PSU's other 15 Big Sky contests. Parker is averaging 12.0 ppg and 6.0 rpg in league play this season.
- Guard Michael Harthun led all Vikings with 19 points in that meeting and is coming off a week where he was named the Big Sky Player of the Week after his club defeated Eastern Washington on Monday and UC Riverside in the BracketBusters series at home on Saturday.
- Harthun averaged 17.0 ppg in those wins and his Vikings have won three straight overall for the first time this season.
- At 5-11 in Big Sky play, the Vikings are currently 10th in the standings, but all 11 teams are still in the hunt for a berth to the postseason tournament.
- Sophomore Gary Winston has scored in double figures in four straight games for the Vikings (12.0 ppg).
- PSU enters the game against UND as the 11th-best foul shooting team in the NCAA. The Vikings are shooting 76 percent from the charity stripe as a team and during their three-game winning streak, the club is knocking down 8 4.4 percent of its attempts.
- Portland State is 161-162 against Big Sky opponents all-time.  

LAST TIME OUT
Omaha 83, North Dakota 75 (Feb. 23)
OMAHA, Neb. - Omaha outlasted North Dakota in a back-and-forth affair on Saturday as the Mavericks posted an 83-75 victory in a Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters tilt.

Fans at the new Ralston Arena were reminded of what was once a great North Central Conference rivalry as the lead changed 20 times, including 17 in the second half during the first matchup between the two teams at the Division I level.

Junior Troy Huff scored a game-high 21 points and classmate Aaron Anderson added 19 points, but UND could manage just two points in the closing five minutes of the contest.

Omaha's Justin Simmons finished with 20 points to lead the Mavs and it was his 3-pointer with just under four minutes to play that tied the game at 73-73. That trifecta sparked a 13-2 closing run by the Mavs, who have now won five straight in the series.

HUFF'S RISING IN 1,000-POINT CLUB, ANDERSON CLOSING IN
A 3-pointer from the top of the key vs. Eastern Washington on Jan. 17 moved junior Troy Huff into an elite club in the history of North Dakota basketball. Huff's trey at the 13-minute of the second half brought his career total to 1,002 points as he became the 32nd UND player and just ninth junior to reach that milestone. Patrick Mitchell - a captain on last year's squad - was the last UND player to add his name to this list. Mitchell finished his career with 1,136 points and stands in 21st now. Huff surpassed Mitchell with his 23-point outing at Montana and has moved up 18 spots to 14th (1,227) in the last 11 games.

At some point over the next season and a half, Huff will likely have a couple of his classmates join him. Aaron Anderson is the next in line to reach the milestone (988 career points) and if his season average holds up (currently 13.9 ppg), he will do so at Portland State on Feb. 28. UND has never had two players reach the 1,000-point plateau in the same season.

WHAT'S LEFT?
UND has three games remaining in Big Sky play and holds a 9-8 record, which is good for third place in the league standings. Here is a look at the three remaining opponents and who they have left in Big Sky play:

at Portland State; Feb. 28 (5-11, won 85-76 on Jan. 19 in Grand Forks)
vs. UND (Feb. 28), vs. NC (March 2), at WSU (March 7), at ISU (March 9)
at Eastern Washington, March 2 (6-10, won 65-47 on Jan. 17 in Grand Forks)
vs. NC (Feb. 28), vs. UND (March 2), at ISU (March 7), at WSU (March 9)
vs. Southern  Utah, March 9 (8-8, lost 79-67 on Dec. 17 in Cedar City)
vs. MSU ( Feb. 28), vs. UM (March 4), at NC (March 7), at UND (March 9)

FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Junior Troy Huff is enjoying the best scoring season of his career, averaging 18.7 ppg in overall games and 19.3 ppg in Big Sky play. He qualifies for the scoring title in Big Sky play since he has played in 16 of UND's 17 league tilts, but he'll need to play in 75 percent of UND's games to qualify for the overall title. The same standards apply for the NCAA where he would rank among the top 40 scorers nationally entering the weekend if he had not missed eight games due to a broken jaw. With three regular season games remaining and a possible Big Sky Tournament berth, Huff could reach 75 percent of games played if UND were to make at least a two-game run in the postseason.

DOWN TO THE WIRE
UND has played three games this season where a 3-point attempt at the buzzer could have provided a win for the shooting team. The first one did not go in favor of UND as Chad White hit a contested 3-pointer to give South Dakota State a 71-70 victory over the Green and White on Nov. 28. The next two nailbiters have come in league play and both times the opponent's shot was the off the mark. The first of those was at Northern Arizona  when Dewayne Russell missed a heave from just inside half court that would have given his Lumberjacks the victory on Jan. 26. The last was this past Thursday when Sac State's John Dickson saw his 30-footer go wide right in a 49-48 loss at The Betty. Junior Troy Huff saw his contested 3-pointer at the end of regulation vs. Northern Arizona on Saturday miss, forcing the UND's first overtime of the season. The Lumberjacks would scrape out a 74-72 victory thanks to the extra session.

WEBB WORKING HIS WAY TO THE TOP
Junior Jamal Webb has moved into second place on UND's career charts for steals with 61 already this season.  He tops the Big Sky charts, averaging 2.4 spg in league play and ranks 17th nationally in overall games (2.3/g). Webb is closing fast on UND's career leader Scott Guldseth, who had 178 from 1989-93. He has 42 in 17 Big Sky games to give him 170 for his career. Webb also joined a new career top 10 recently, moving into fifth on UND's all-time charts for assists with 343.
 
HUFF NETS FIRST TWO BIG SKY POW AWARDs
Junior Troy Huff was named the Big Sky Player of the Week on New Year's Eve after his 14-point, 12-rebound outing in the 56-53 victory over Bowling Green. He was the first UND player to receive the honor from the team's new conference. The double-double was the sixth of his career as he played in just his second game back from a broken jaw. He picked up his second honor three weeks later after leading UND to pair of back-to-back home wins over Eastern Washington and Portland State.

WILMER CONTINUES TO PLAY WELL
Senior Mitch Wilmer has started the last 24 games for UND and is subsequently playing the best basketball of his UND career. Wilmer, who had only three starts coming into the season, is averaging 5.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg and 1.3 bgp for the season. He has scored 156 points this season, which is 100 more than he scored as a reserve in 29 games last season. Wilmer has set or equaled his career-high in scoring four times in those 16 starts, chipping in with 11 points at South Dakota State (Nov. 28), upping that to 12 at North Dakota State (Dec. 9) before scoring 15 against Southern Utah and Northern Colorado. He added his first career double-double against the Thunderbirds in UND's Big Sky debut by adding 11 rebounds to his point total.

ROSTER ROUND UP
Head coach Brian Jones has a 16-man roster, but only 11 of those players are now active for the 2012-13 season. The team was hoping for good news from the NCAA on granting Texas Tech transfer Jaron Nash a waiver to play immediately and not have to sit out this season, but the organization denied UND's request. Houston Baptist transfer Dustin Hobaugh transferred to UND after one season with the Huskies to pursue a degree in commercial aviation. Hobaugh is sitting out the 2012-13 season and will have three left to play starting with the 2013-14 campaign. Besides Nash and Hobaugh, Jones is using redshirt seasons on junior college transer Ryan Salmonson and freshman walk-on Thomas Blake. Salmonson played two seasons at Cosumnes River Community College, while Blake prepped at St. Maria Goretti in Hagerstown, Md. JUCO-transfer Alonzo Traylor played in eight of the team's first nine, averaging 7.0 ppg and 5.1 rpg, but has been ruled academically ineligible for the second semester.

SCORING SIZZLE
UND's quintet of Aaron Anderson, Brandon Brekke, Troy Huff, Josh Schuler and Jamal Webb produced 65.4 percent of UND's points in 2010-11, which was tops among any freshman class in the country. As sophomores, that unit upped that number to 70.9 percent of the team's scoring (1,526 of 2,153). However, as sophomores, that unit had company at the top of the national charts. The Memphis sophomores, a unit UND edged out last season (63.9 percent as freshmen), produced 73.6 percent (1,923 of 2,614) and NDSU's sophomores concluded the Bison season scoring 71.3 percent (1,564 of 2,194) of their team's points. So far, the 2012-13 juniors, which includes the addition of JUCO-transfer Alonzo Traylor, have accounted for 72.1 (1,293 of 1,793) percent of the team's scoring through 26 games.

TOUGH SLEDDING
Seven teams on UND's 2011-12 docket advanced to postseason tournaments, including four to the NCAA Tournament (Kansas, Montana, New Mexico and South Dakota State). UND beat two of those teams at home (Montana and South Dakota State). North Dakota State and Western Illinois both made the CBI Invitational, while GWC foe Utah Valley earned an at-large bid to join UND in the CIT Tournament.The schedule does not get any easier in 2012-13, as UND's slate has seven more teams on it that advanced to postseason tournaments. Kansas State advanced to the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament. Northern Iowa made the second round of the NIT. Both Montana and South Dakota State lost their first games in the NCAA Tournament. Bowling Green and Weber State joined UND in the CIT Postseason Tournament, while NDSU lost in the first round of the CBI Invitational.

SOME FAMILIARITY
UND split its four contests against Big Sky opponents in 2011-12. The Green and White defeated eventual regular season and tournament champion Montana 88-81 in overtime at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. UND also split a home-and-home series with Idaho State and lost at Sacramento State (75-64) after leading the Hornets by six at halftime.

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