RENO, Nev. -- Fifth-seeded North Dakota advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2016 Big Sky Tournament with an 85-80 victory over 12th-seeeded Southern Utah on Tuesday. The Fighting Hawks will meet fourth-seeded Idaho State on Thursday at 4:35 p.m. CT.
UND VS. IDAHO STATE SERIES
All-time: UND leads 8-1
Big Sky Tournament: First Meeting
Big Sky: UND leads 7-0
Last Meeting: UND 76, Idaho State 60 (Feb. 13, 2016)
UND Head Coach Brian Jones vs. Idaho State: 8-1
Idaho State Head Coach Bill Evans vs. UND: 0-7
WHERE TO WATCH/LISTEN/TRACK
Live Stream: www.WatchBigSky.com
Radio: 100.3 FM (Grand Forks)
Live Audio Stream: www.UNDSports.com and UND Sports Mobile App
Live Stats: www.BigSkyConf.com
IN THE PAINT...
• UND improved to 5-2 all-time in Big Sky Tournament play with the win over the T-Birds and will look to advance to the semifinals for the third time since joining the league prior to the 2012-13 season.
• UND swept the regular-season series with the Bengals, winning 84-76 in Pocatello (Jan. 9) and 76-60 in Grand Forks (Feb. 4).
• Those two wins pushed UND’s winning streak over ISU to seven straight. The Fighting Hawks split a home-and-home with the Bengals during the 2011-12 season in what were the first two meetings between the programs.
• The winner of the UND-ISU game will take on the winner of Thursday’s first quarterfinal between top-seeded Weber State and eighth-seeded Portland State.
• Both of UND’s Big Sky Tournament losses have come to Weber State, who won a semifinal clash in 2013 (76-74) and the 2014 title game on its home court (88-67).
• Bill Evans was named the Big Sky Coach of the Year after leading the Bengals to best turnaround in the league this season.
• Evans, who is in his fourth season, led the Bengals to an 11-7 record in Big Sky play a year after tying for 10th with a 4-14 clip. The seven-win turnaround was one better than UND’s six-game swing.
• This will be the Bengals’ first Big Sky Tournament appearance since the 2010-11 season.
• Junior guard Ethan Telfair was named the Big Sky Newcomer of the Year and a unanimous All-Big Sky first team selection. Telfair led all Big Sky scorers in league games at a 23.9 ppg clip and his 20.3 ppg overall average was second among league players.
• Telfair, who is the first Bengal to earn All-Big Sky first team honors since Amorrow Morgan in 2008-09, also led the league in assists (5.5/g) with 164 helpers in 30 contests.
• Telfair averaged 25.0 ppg in the two losses to UND during the regular season. He erupted for 37 points in the home loss to the Fighting Hawks, including 19 in the final 1:15 of the contest. UND limited him to 15 points in Grand Forks on 5-of-15 shooting from the floor.
• Sophomore guard Geno Luzcando wasn an honorable mention All-Big Sky selection. One of the most improved players in the league, Luzcando averaged 14.5 ppg.
• Luzcando has a pair of 10-for-10 field goal games on the season, but went only 7-for-25 in the two games against UND (11.5 ppg).
• Idaho State is limiting opponents to just a 33.1 percent clip from 3-point range, but teams have attempted 719 treys against the Bengals (second most in the league). UND went 21-for-45 (46.7%) from deep against ISU this season.
LAST TIME OUT
(5) North Dakota 85, (12) Southern Utah | March 8, 2016
RENO, Nev. – Junior Quinton Hooker scored 26 of his game-high 30 points in the second half to lead fifth-seeded North Dakota to an 85-80 victory over 12th-seeded Southern Utah in the opening round of the Big Sky Tournament Tuesday. With the victory, the Fighting Hawks advanced to play fourth-seeded Idaho State on Thursday at 4:35 p.m. CT.
Hooker had as many points as he did turnovers in the first half as Southern Utah built a 41-38 halftime lead, but it was a different story in the second half. He made six of his first seven shots from the field and scored 11 straight for the Fighting Hawks at one point to give UND a seven-point cushion.
The pesky Thunderbirds would not go away, however, closing within a point on three-different occasions in the final minute. But, each time SUU made a basket, UND would convert on the free-throw line where Hooker and Adam McDermott sank eight straight in the final 42 seconds to seal the victory.
Seales finished with 10 points and six rebounds off the bench, while Drick Bernstine added 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor and shared team-high honors on the glass with Hooker as both players grabbed eight rebounds.
Geno Crandall rounded out a quartet of double-figure scorers for UND with 11 points. UND’s point guard converted a big 3-point play at the end of the first half, but John Marshall, who led Southern Utah with 19 points, hit an 18-foot jumper at the halftime horn to give the T-Birds a three-point advantage.
• Freshman Conner Avants started for the first time since taking the opening tip against North Dakota State on Dec. 13. It was the fifth start of the season for Avants, who scored eight points on 4-of-8 shooting from the floor.
• Avants insertion into the starting lineup was the first switch head coach Brian Jones has made besides Senior Day since the final non-conference game at Kansas State (Dec. 22).
• UND won for just the third time this season when trailing at halftime (3-10).
• With a 31-30 edge in rebounding against SUU, UND improved to 13-1 this season when outrebounding its opponent.
• With 10 points, freshman Cortez Seales reached double figures for the first time since scoring 11 in UND’s road win at Southern Utah (Feb. 23). Seales also had a career-high six rebounds in the contest.
HOOKER ON RECORD SCORING PACE
Junior Quinton Hooker opened the Big Sky Tournament with a 30-point perforamnce in the win over Southern Utah. It was his third 30-plus point scoring game in his last five contests and marked his 14th 20-plus scoring game of the season. That effort boosted his scoring average to 19.9 ppg scoring average, which would be the highest average by a UND player at the Division I level (since 2008-09). Troy Huff put together back-to-back seasons with a 19.2 ppg clip as a junior and senior from 2012-14. Hooker’s scoring average was the third-highest among Big Sky scorers in overall games and he improved that clip to 20.3 ppg, which was fourth among league players.
With the five-point win over Southern Utah in the opening round of the Big Sky Tournament, UND doubled its win total from a season ago with its 16th of the campaign. The eight-win improvement is among the tops in the country. That improvement is the second-best improvement from one season to the next in head coach Brian Jones’ 10-year era at UND. His 2010-11 squad finished with a 19-15 record after the 2009-10 squad managed just an 8-23 record.
OUR TREK ON THE #ROADTORENO
After the coaches pegged UND to finish in a tie for eighth and the media slated them to finish 10th, the Fighting Hawks ended up with a 10-win campaign in Big Sky play and tied for fifth with reigning co-champion Eastern Washington.
UND’s six-win improvement was only topped by Idaho State, who was picked to finish last in both preseason polls after finishing in a three-way tie for 10th at 4-14 along with UND and Montana State. The Bengals posted a seven-win improvement and surprised many by capturing a bye this week with a four-place finish in the league standings at 11-7.
UND and EWU split their regular-season matchups with the home team winning once, which meant the tiebreaker for seeding came down to results with top-seed and regular-season champion Weber State. The Wildcats beat the Eagles this past week in the only meeting between those two teams, while UND and Weber State split their two-game series, resulting in the Fighting Hawks netting the No. 5 seed.
The win over the Wildcats was the first for UND in nine tries since joining the Big Sky, including two losses in the postseason tournament.
UND posted a 5-2 record against the teams on its side of the Big Sky Tournament bracket during the regular season:
No. 1 Weber State (1-1)
No. 4 Idaho State (2-0)
No. 8 Portland State (1-0)
No. 9 Northern Colorado (1-1)
No. 12 Southern Utah (1-0)
HOOKER NETS FIRST KNOWN TRIPLE-DOUBLE IN UND HISTORY
Junior Quinton Hooker fittingly found freshman Adam McDermott for his 10th assist in UND’s 76-60 win over Idaho State (Feb. 4). McDermott’s 3-pointer was his eighth of the night and capped a career-night for both players as the Iowa sharpshooter finished with 28 points. Hooker already had 13 points and a career-high 12 rebounds in hand when McDermott’s trey fell through the strings giving him the first triple-double in UND’s Division I history and possibly the program’s first ever. There is no record of a previous triple-double in the media guide that covers the program’s 111-year history.
BLOW OUTS AND CLOSE CALLS
Through 30 games, UND has played in only 13 games where the outcome was been decided by single digits. The Fighting Hawks are 7-6 in those contests and won their first 12 games by six or more points before a one-point win vs. Northern Colorado (Feb. 20) and three-point win over Portland State (Feb. 25) in back-to-back games. Five of UND’s seven single-digit losses were by four points or less, including four in the Big Sky (74-71 vs. Idaho, 65-61 vs. UM, 71-70 at UNC, 65-64 vs. Idaho). UND is 9-8 in games decided by double figures.
OWNING THE BOARDS EQUALS W’S
UND held a 31-30 edge on the glass against the Thunderbirds on Tuesday, marking the 14th time the Fighting Hawks have led that category this season. UND has only one setback compared to 13 victories when it controls the back boards. The Fighting Hawks are 3-12 when they are outrebounded.
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