GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- North Dakota senior Dale Jones posted the first double-double of his career, but his efforts were not enough to get the Fighting Hawks past Eastern Washington, who posted a 77-64 victory Sunday at The Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.
Jones finished with a career-high 20 points and 11 rebounds, but the Fighting Hawks (4-9, 0-2 BSC) did not have an answer for Bogdan Bliznyuk as the All-Big Sky performer scored 29 points and went on a personal 12-0 run midway through the second half to help seal the Eagles first win in Grand Forks in six tries.
EWU also forced UND into a season-high 21 turnovers that the visitors turned into 28 points.
"The turnovers were the problem. They were especially frustrating because they came against a team that really has not been turning people over at that rate all season," UND head coach Brian Jones said.
The miscues that really hurt the Fighting Hawks came after they roared back from a 15-point deficit to make it a 50-47 contest with just over nine minutes to play.
"We had cut it down to three points there in the second half, had momentum on our side and the crowd was back into it, but on multiple possessions we either turned it over and or put up a quick shot and those really cost us," he added.
Junior Geno Crandall added 13 points and classmate Conner Avants chipped in with 11 to give UND a trio of double-figure scorers, but the home team could not find a way to snap a losing skid that grew to six games.
Crandall had 11 of his points in the first half, but went to the bench with his second foul with just over seven minutes to play. Thhe Eagles would take control of the game from there.
Bliznyuk spearheaded a pair of key runs for the visitors with the first coming late in the opening half that saw his team close the opening 20 minutes on a 12-2 run with Crandall sidelined.
He made all six of his field-goal attempts in the first half, helping EWU shoot at a 64 percent clip (16-for-25). Jones had 13 first-half points, but him and Crandall were the only Fighting Hawks to have anything going before the break. They went 8-for-14 from the field, but the remainder of the team went just 2-for-14.
UND scored the first five points of the second half, but EWU answered with the next seven and maintained a double-digit advantage until the Fighting Hawks went on a 14-2 run that trimmed its deficit down to 50-47. Bliznyuk, who had missed his first five field-goal attempts in the second half, went to work and scored 12 straight for the Eagles and missed only once more from the field in the closing 10 minutes.
Sophomore Billy Brown hit a pair of triples during UND's run to get them back in the contest as the home team made 10 3-pointers for the first time since hitting 12 in the season-opening win over Troy.
Sophomore Marlon Stewart scored all eight of his points in the final four minutes as he got the deficit back to single digits late before the Eagles closed out the game at the foul stripe where they went 16-for-18 in the contest.
UND will open Big Sky road play next Thursday with a tilt against Montana. Tip-off vs. the Griz is set for 8 p.m. CT.
-- UND --