GRAND FORKS, N.D. - UND opens the New Year on the road with a Big Sky matchup against a team the Green and White played twice last season - Idaho State. Tipoff with the Bengals is set for 8 p.m. CT.
UND VS. IDAHO STATE SERIES
All-time: Tied 1-1
In Pocatello: ISU leads 1-0
UND Head Coach Brian Jones vs. Idaho State: 1-1
Idaho State Head Coach Bill Evans vs. UND: First Meeting
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: www.ISUBengals.com (free)
Live Chat: www.UNDSports.com (free)
IN THE PAINT...
• The two meetings last season were the first between the two teams on the hardwood as they split a home-and-home series.
• UND won by 16 at The Betty, trumping the Bengals 63-47 on Nov. 14. Idaho State extracted revenge on Dec. 4, knocking off the visitors 76-63. The Bengals scored 43 points in the first half of their home game after scoring just 47 in the entire game at Grand Forks.
• Junior Aaron Anderson led UND in scoring in both of the meetings with Idaho State last season, scoring 17 in the home triumph and 20 in the road setback.
• Both teams are looking for their first Big Sky victories of the season after starting 0-2. This is just the second home game of the season for the Bengals and first in over a month. ISU’s lone win this season was that home tilt against Montana Western (70-52; Nov. 29).
• UND is coming off a 56-53 victory over Bowling Green on Dec. 28. Junior Troy Huff registered a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds off the bench in what was just his second game back from a broken jaw (missed eight previous games).
• For his efforts, Huff earned the program’s first Big Sky Player of the Week award.
• Huff’s 14 points also put him over the 900-point plateau for his career. He was the team’s leading scorer each of the past two seasons, is averaging 13.3 ppg in three games so far.
• It was the second straight 14-point effort for Huff, who had that many in a 75-66 loss to Northern Colorado on Dec. 21. The double-digit game was also the 50th of his career.
• Anderson led the team with 18 points against the Bears, equaling his season high that he established at Hawaii on Nov. 20. He has led the team in scoring in seven of 11 games this season, including both Big Sky games (17.0 ppg in league play).
• Senior Mitch Wilmer equaled his career-high with 15 points against NC, while making a career-high five field goals (5-for-6). Wilmer is averaging 15.0 ppg and 8.0 rpg in Big Sky play.
• Wilmer has equaled or established his career-high in scoring in four contests this season. He had one double-figure scoring game entering the campaign, but has scored 10 or more in four of his last six games.
• Wilmer and junior Alonzo Traylor both posted their first career double-doubles in the team’s Big Sky debut at Southern Utah, but the T-birds were able to hold off the visitors with a 10-for-12 stretch at the foul line in the closing two minutes.
• Wilmer scored 15 points and added a career-best 11 rebounds, while Traylor came off the bench to score 13 points and equaled Wilmer’s rebounding total.
• Unfortunately for Traylor, the double-double will be the last action of the season for the JUCO-transfer, who is academically ineligible.
• The Big Sky is the third conference that UND has been affiliated with since the program begin 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 Great West Conference.
• The Thunderbirds were one of four Big Sky teams UND had never played on the hardwood. The others are Eastern Washington, Northern Arizona and Weber State.
• 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 Great West Conference Tournament in 2011 and 2012 anda advanced to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament both seasons.
• With nine points in the win over Presentation, Anderson surpassed the 700-point plateau for his career. He is one of five juniors on the team that have already scored at least 500 points in their careers (745). Huff leads that quintet with 912 career points. Jamal Webb is next with 694, while Josh Schuler (580) and Brandon Brekke (510) are also more than halfway to 1,000-point clip for their respective careers.
• Not only has Wilmer added an offensive boost of late, but the 6-foot-11 Warroad, Minn., native has already registered a career-high in blocked shots this season with 18. Wilmer has also equaled his single-game high four different times already this season with a quartet of three-block games to his credit. His 1.6 bpg average is fifth best in the Big Sky.
• Senior Jordan Allard played in his 100th career game on Monday at Southern Utah. The Fargo native is the active career leader in that category for UND.
• UND suffered another injury to a starter in the NDSU game as power forward Brandon Brekke left the game after taking an inadvertent elbow to his head. Brekke played just three minutes against the Bison. As a sophomore in UND’s 59-54 victory over the Bison, Brekke scored a game-high 17 points.
• Brekke returned against Bowling Green, but only logged five minutes of playing time. He did pull down four rebounds in his limited action.
• Jones has four starters back and six of his top seven scorers from his 2012 Great West Conference Tournament championship team. The seventh-year head coach will have to replace second team All-Great West performer Patrick Mitchell, who averaged 10.4 ppg and 4.4 rpg during his final season with the program.
• The 2011-12 squad posted a 17-15 record and earned an automatic berth to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament for the second consecutive season. UND lost at Drake, 70-64, in the opening round of postseason play.
• 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.
• The 2011-12 season was the last for the UND men’s basketball team to compete under the Fighting Sioux nickname. The longtime nickname was retired this past summer and all University athletic teams will go by the University of North Dakota, North Dakota or UND until Jan. 1, 2015.
LAST TIME OUT
UND picked up its first win over a Division I opponent this past Friday, knocking off Bowling Green 56-53 at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. Junior Jamal Webb made the go-ahead 3-pointer with 43 seconds on the clock and classmate Troy Huff registered a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Following his 3-pointer, Webb also had a block and a steal in the final minute to help UND pick up its third win of the campaign. He finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Huff had five offensive rebounds among his season-high 12 as UND held a 42-27 edge in that category.
HUFF BACK IN ACTION
Junior Troy Huff has scored 14 points in back-to-back games off the bench since returning from a broken jaw suffered in the season-opener at K-State (Nov. 9). Huff scored 12 points vs. the Wildcats and has reached double figures in all three of his games this season.
WILMER CONTINUES TO PLAY WELL
Senior Mitch Wilmer has started the last eight 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 8.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg and 1.9 bgp during that stretch. He has set or equaled his career-high in scoring four times in those seven 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. Wilmer has scored 79 points through 11 games this season (7.2 ppg). He entered the season having scored just 83 points in 55 career games (0.7 ppg).
ANDERSON PLAYING BIG
Through two Big Sky games, junior Aaron Anderson is averaging 17.0 ppg for UND - third best among league players. He leads the team with a 12.0 ppg average in overall games and is also adding 3.6 rpg and 3.0 apg.
WEBB WORKING HIS WAY TO THE TOP
Junior Jamal Webb has moved into second place on UND’s career charts for steals with 23 already this season bringing his career total to 132. He tops the Big Sky charts, averaging 2.3 spg. He still has a ways to go to catch UND’s career leader Scott Guldseth, who had 176 from 1989-93.
A BLIP ON THE RADAR
There is no hiding the fact that a 14-for-30 effort at the free throw line was a major culprit in the 73-70 home setback to Kansas City on Dec. 5, but that effort has not been the norm this season. In the team’s other 10 games, UND is 131-for-172 from the stripe (76.1 percent). The team responded with a 16-for-19 effort from the foul line in the Fargodome. In fact the 84.2 percent clip was the highest of the season for UND. In the Big Sky opener, UND also turned in a solid showing at the free throw line, knocking down 28-of-35 attempts (80 percent). Through two Big Sky games, UND is shooting 40-50 from the stripe (80 percent). Aaron Anderson and Mitch Wilmer are both 14-for-17 (82.4 percent) from the free throw line in league play to lead those efforts.
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 College Basketball Invitational.
STARTING LINE-UP SHUFFLE
Head coach Brian Jones used only five starting lineups a season ago and the combination of Jamal Webb (PG), Aaron Anderson (SG), Troy Huff (SF), Patrick Mitchell (PF) and Brandon Brekke (C) started 27 of those contests. That quintet helped UND post a 17-15 record and win its second straight Great West Conference Tournament title. Unfortunately, due to some key injuries early in this campaign, the seventh-year head coach has already had to shuffle his starting lineup that many times through 10 games this season.
The starting lineup of Webb (PG), Anderson (SG), Schuler (SF), Doug Archer (PF) and Mitch Wilmer (C) has started the last four games and is the fifth different one Jones has deployed this season.
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.
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 North Dakota State’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 64.2 percent of the team’s scoring through 11 games.
Sophomore Lenny Antwi scored 64 points during his true freshman season in 28 games a year ago. So far this season, the back-up guard has already scored 66 points in 11 games and is averaging 6.0 points in 21 minutes of action per game. Antwi is shooting 35.7 percent from 3-point range, which is among the top efforts on the team.
OPPONENT PREVIEW: IDAHO STATE
• Head coach Bill Evans is in his first season leading the Bengals program after spending the previous four as an assistant at fellow Big Sky member Montana.
• Prior to his stint in Missoula, Evans was the head coach at Southern Utah for 15 seasons. The Thunderbirds just joined the Big Sky Conference as well this season. Evans led the T-Birds to the NCAA Tournament in 2001.
• Evans and the Bengals are off to a 1-10 start this season, having picked up their lone win vs. Montana Western on Nov. 29 (70-52). That was also ISU’s only home game of the season so far.
• Senior guard Melvin Morgan is the team’s leading scorer at 12.4 ppg overall and he has upped that tally to 15.5 ppg in two Big Sky games. He’s the only Bengal averaging in double figures in both overall and league games.
• Morgan was held scoreless in the Bengals loss to UND in Grand Forks, but responded with 17 points in the win in Pocatello.
• Morgan is also the team’s top rebounder, averaging 4.1 boards per game.
• The Bengals bring the league’s second-ranked scoring defense into the contest, yielding only 61.5 ppg, but the ISU offense is last in the Big Sky, scoring only 49.0 ppg.
• ISU is coming off a season-low 39-point outing in a loss to Washington State on Dec. 29. The Cougars won by 35.
• Seven different Bengals have started at least four games, while Morgan and Tomas Sanchez are the only two to start all 11 games. Sanchez is averaging 8.5 ppg and leads the team with 37 assists (3.3/g).
A CLOSER LOOK: UND VS. IDAHO STATE
• Junior Aaron Anderson averaged 18.5 ppg in the two games vs. Idaho State a season ago - he was the only UND player to reach double figures in both games. His 20 points in Pocatello equaled his career-high of 20 in a overtime win over Montana at home last season.
• The Bengals bench outscored UND’s 35-4 in the meeting in Pocatello last season. ISU also scored 43 first-half points in that contest after scoring only 47 in 40 minutes of play in Grand Forks.
• Junior Troy Huff is averaing 11.0 ppg against ISU - he had 14 in the loss in Pocatello after scoring eight in the win at home.