Courtesy: Russell Hons for
Junior Geno Crandall registered the first double-double of his career in Saturday's overtime loss to Utah Valley.
Game Notes: UND wraps up homestand with PC
Release: 11/27/2017
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GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- UND closes out its three-game homestand on Tuesday night against Presentation College. Tip-off against the Saints, who are a member of the NAIA, is set for 7 p.m.

The Fighting Hawks own a 3-0 edge in the all-time series against PC and have won those contests by an average of 42.0 ppg.

UND leads 3-0
In Grand Forks: UND leads 3-0
Last Meeting: UND 101, PC 63 (Nov. 20, 2016; Grand Forks)
UND Head Coach Brian Jones vs. Presentation: 3-0
Presentation Head Coach Jeremy Reigle vs. UND: 0-3

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• UND won the last meeting 101-63. It was the only time during the 2016-17 campaign that the Fighting Hawks surpassed the century mark for points.
• The now-departed Drick Bernstine (grad transfer at Washington State) registered just the second known triple-double in UND history after he finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
• Junior Geno Crandall led seven double-digit scorers for UND in last year’s contest with 17 points. Sophomore Billy Brown added a career-high 13 points off the bench.
• UND will look to rebound from an 83-75 overtime loss to Utah Valley. The Fighting Hawks led 67-65 with 19 seconds to play, but a pair of free throws forced the extra session that saw the Wolverines outscore UND 16-8.
• Both teams made 30 field goals in the contest, but UVU managed that figure on 23 fewer attempts (64 to 87). 
• Sophomore Marlon Stewart scored a career-high 24 points and pulled down a career-high seven rebounds in the setback to the Wolverines. He went 4-for-10 from beyond the arc, while the rest of the team connected on just 2-of-22 attempts. UND is just 9-for-51 from 3-point range in its two home games this season.

The Fighting Hawks went 11-2 at The Betty last season and own a 122-55 record in the building that opened prior to the 2004-05 season. UND is off to a 1-1 start at home this season and has now won eight-consecutive home openers.

The Fighting Hawks begin a December slate that will see them play three of their first four on the road. The first test will come against a Creighton team coached by former men’s basketball assistant coach Greg McDermott. These two teams last played in December of 1975 when UND defeated the Bluejays 69-64 in Grand Forks. Tip-off with the Bluejays is set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday Dec. 5, in a game that will be televised on FS2.

The North Dakota men’s basketball program holds a 1565-1038 (.602) record all-time since Dr. George Sweetland led the first team onto the court in 1904-05. North Dakota is 945-281 (.770) all-time when it comes to defending its home court. 

Junior Geno Crandall’s little brother, M.J., is a freshman on Presentation’s Junior Varisty roster.

The Fighting Hawks will not lose all of their Big Sky hardwood rivalries after joining the Summit League following this season. UND will be one of eight combined Big Sky and Summit League teams that will take part in a yearly series between the two conferences.

The four-year men’s basketball series will begin in 2018-19 when UND will be a first-year member of the Summit League. The Fighting Hawks are playing their final season of Big Sky basketball after a run of six years as a league member.

Each school will play one home game and road contest against separate schools from the other league during each of the four seasons. The Summit League is represented by UND, North Dakota State, Omaha and South Dakota State. Big Sky schools participating are Montana State, Montana, Idaho and Eastern Washington.

UND’s Big Sky-Summit Challenge Schedule

North Dakota at Montana State
Idaho at North Dakota
North Dakota at Montana
Eastern Washington at North Dakota
Montana State at North Dakota
North Dakota at Idaho
North Dakota at Eastern Washington
Montana at North Dakota 

UND picked up 13 more steals in the overtime loss to Utah Valley and ranks second in the Big Sky, averaging 10.0 steals per game. Led by junior Geno Crandall (13) and sophomore Marlon Stewart (12), the Fighting Hawks are forcing opponents into 17 turnovers per game and have registered 10 or more steals in three of their last four games.

Sophomore Marlon Stewart scored just 26 points  (8.7 ppg) in his first three career games for UND, but has more than doubled that with 55 points (18.3 ppg) in his last three outings, including a career-hig 24 points against the Wolverines. That marked the second time in his last three games where the Creighton transfer scored 20 or more in a game. 

Junior Geno Crandall has achieved a growing list of “firsts” this season and he added another one in the overtime loss to Utah Valley (Nov. 25). For the first time in his career, Crandall notched a double-double with 15 points and a career-high 10 rebounds against the Wolverines. Crandall’s double-double is also the first of the season for a Fighting Hawk. Classmate Conner Avants was a rebound shy of his first career double-double against UVU, finishing with 12 points and nine boards.

Junior Geno Crandall equaled his career-high with five steals against the Wolverines and now has 136 for his career, which ranks sixth on UND’s all-time charts. It was the fifth time during his career that he’s had five steals in a game.

The Fighting Hawks will play just six games in the month of December, but each one of those contests comes against a team that won at least 18 games in 2016-17. Five of those opponents played in a postseason tournament and the Fighting Hawks’ three non-conference road games pit them against teams that also appeared in the 2017 NCAA Tournament:

@Creighton (Dec. 5; NCAA 1st Round)
@South Dakota State (Dec. 12; NCAA 1st Round)
@Gonzaga (Dec. 16; NCAA Runner-up)

Those half-dozen teams combined to go 140-66  (.680 winning percentag) a season ago with Gonzaga leading the way with a 37-2 overall mark. 

The lone home game for UND before Christmas is against rival North Dakota State on Saturday night, Dec. 9. The Bison went 19-11 last season and ended their season with a first-round loss as the No. 2 seed at the Summit League Tournament. These two rivals split their home-and-home series a season ago with the road team coming out with double-digit victories in those matchups.

UND will open its final season of Big Sky play on Dec. 29 when preseason favorite Idaho pays a visit to the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. The Vandals won 19 games a year ago and advanced to the second round of the CIT. A home game with league-foe Eastern Washington closes out the December slate on New Year’s Eve. The Eagles won 22 games last season and lost in the opening round of the College Basketball Invitational.

Head coach Brian Jones has used the same starting lineup in all five games this season and all five of his starters are averaging double figures for the Fighting Hawks:

Geno Crandall (19.6 ppg)
Cortez Seales (13.6 ppg)
Marlon Stewart (11.4 ppg)
Conner Avants (10.8 ppg)
Dale Jones (10.0 ppg)

Crandall reached double figures in the first four games and leads the team with five double-figure scoring efforts, while Jones has done so four times. Crandall, Seales and Stewart have all reached the 20-point plateau at least twice as well.

No one at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center last Saturday should have been surprised when the UND-Utah Valley turned out to be a tight contest. After posting a convincing 74-58 victory over the Wolverines in the first meeting between the schools in Grand Forks back in 2010, the last three meetings have all gone down to the wire, including last Saturday’s 83-75 overtime win for UVU.

Back in the 2011 matchup when both programs were still Great West Conference members, Utah Valley pulled away for a 107-96 victory, but it took four overtimes to achieve that triumph in what remains the longest game ever played at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.In the last meeting as Great West foes in 2012, Patrick Mitchell provided some Senior Day heroics when his buzzer-beater gave UND a 57-56 victory over the Wolverines.

Utah Valley moved ahead in the all-time series 4-3 and the two teams will play each other against next season in Orem when the Fighting Hawks finish up the home-and-home series. Utah Valley is in its fifth season as a WAC member.

UND saw its overall record drop to 2-2 following a 92-70 loss at Nebraska (Nov. 19). The Huskers are now 3-1 all-time against the Fighting Hawks and dropped their record to 0-7 against Big Ten opponents since moving to the DI level. It was the fifth-straight season UND has met a Big Ten opponent.

Sophomore Marlon Stewart became the third different Fighting Hawk to score 20 or more points in a game this season against the Huskers. He finished right on that number thanks to an 8-for-12 effort from the floor.

The Fighting Hawks opened their season with a  2-1 showing at the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic, which marked the first time in program history the squad won multiple games in a pre-conference multi-team event.

UND had won at least one game in each of the last four similar events, but the second win had eluded the squad until posting an 80-71 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Nov. 13).

Iowa grad transfer Dale Jones earned a starting role entering the 2017-18 season for his new team and the 6-foot-8 forward has proven his worth early on. Jones reached double figures twice at the Rainbow Classic and nearly scored as many points (31) in those three games as he did in his two-year Iowa career (33). Injuries limited him to just 11 games for the Hawkeyes.

Through seven games for the Fighting Hawks, Jones is averaging 10.2 ppg and a team-best 7.7 rpg.

-- UND --

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