Courtesy: Russell Hons for
Sophomore Conner Avants scored 17 points and added a career-high nine rebounds to help lead UND to a 68-63 victory over Northern Arizona in the Fighting Hawks' Big Sky home opener Thursday.
UND holds on for 68-63 win over NAU
Release: 01/05/2017
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UND 68, Northern Arizona 63
Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017  •  Grand Forks, N.D.
Betty Engelstad Sioux Center
Attendance: 1,518
  1st 2nd Final
Northern Arizona 26 37 63
North Dakota 33 35 68
Key Notes
• Hooker (UND) scored a game-high 20 points to give him five 20-plus point games on the season and 25 for his career.
• Hooker moved into 12th place on UND's all-time scoring charts with 1,405 points, passing Jerome Beasley on that list.
• Avants (UND) scored 17 points and equaled his career-high with nine rebounds.
• Both teams shot 40.0 percent from the floor.
Statistical Comparison
 FG Percentage 40.0 40.0
 3-Point FG Percentage 39.1 29.4
 FT Percentage 71.4 65.2
 Offensive Rebounds 6 12
 Defensive Rebounds 27 26
 Total Rebounds 33 38
 Turnovers 18 13
 Points Off Turnovers 8 22
 Bench Points 20 13
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GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- North Dakota held on to win its Big Sky home opener, knocking off Northern Arizona 68-63 Thursday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

Senior Quinton Hooker scored a game-high 20 points and sophomore Conner Avants added 17 points and equaled his career-high with nine rebounds to pace the Fighting Hawks (7-6, 2-1 BSC).

The Lumberjacks (3-12, 0-2 BSC) got 19 points from Marcus DeBerry, who provided a jolt for the visitors in the second half that helped make things interesting down the stretch.

After UND took a 33-26 lead into the break thanks to a 10-point half from Avants, DeBerry sparked an early rally that saw NAU take its first lead of the game.

He capped an 11-4 run to open the stanza with his second trey of that stretch to put the Lumberjacks ahead 39-37 at the 12:39 mark.

UND had an answer though and regained control with a 9-0 run that was sparked by freshman Billy Brown. Coming in for his first action of the game, the Spirit Lake, Iowa, native buried a 3-pointer to tie the game at 44-44.

His teammates would extend the advantage to 50-44 with just over seven minutes to play.

Over the next five minutes, Hooker and Avants would team up for a 7-2 run that had the home ahead 60-52 with just over 2:20 to play.

DeBerry and company would not go away as the slender sophomore banked home his third trey of the half with 42 ticks remaining to make it a 65-63 contest. NAU elected to play defense, but a foul late in the shot clock put Geno Crandall on the line for the double-bonus.

The UND sophomore calmly sank both after going just 2-for-5 from the stripe before that. NAU had a pair of looks from beyond the arc on its next possession, but came up empty and Hooker provided the five-point margin with a free throw in the waning seconds.

That freebie gave Hooker his fifth 20-plus point scoring game of the season and 25th of his career. Senior Corey Baldwin added 10 points and came up with a big steal in the final two minutes that help stall the Lumberjacks' rally.

Both teams shot 40 percent from the floor in the contest with NAU going 9-for-23 from deep, while UND connected on just 5-of-17 from beyond the arc.

The Fighting Hawks wrap up their first Big Sky homestand on Saturday with a tilt against Southern Utah at 4:05 p.m. CT.

-- UND --

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